Publisher: Mindshadows, 2006
Category: Historical Fiction
Tour Dates: November, 2012
Available in: Print and Kindle, 551 pages
It’s the Age of Elegance in the summer playground of the affluent and powerful. Amid the pristine, island-dotted lakes and pine-scented forests of the Canadian wilderness, the young and carefree amuse themselves with glittering balls and friendly competitions. The summer of 1914 promises to be different when the ambitious and destitute son of a disowned heir joins his wealthy family at their cottage on Wyndwood Island. Through Jack’s introduction into the privileged life of the aristocratic Wyndhams and their illustrious social circle, he seeks opportunities and alliances to better himself, including in his schemes, his beautiful and audacious cousin, Victoria.
But their charmed lives begin to unravel with the onset of the Great War, in which many are destined to become part of the “lost generation”.
This richly textured tale takes the reader on an unforgettable journey from romantic moonlight cruises to the horrific sinking of the Lusitania, from regattas on the water to combat in the skies over France, from extravagant mansions to deadly trenches – from innocence to nationhood.
The Summer Before The Storm, the first of the epic Muskoka Trilogy, evokes a gracious, bygone era that still resonates in this legendary land of lakes.
This novel was chosen by the Muskoka Chautauqua for their esteemed Reading List in 2010.
If you are a Downton Abbey fan, chances are you will love this book and the rest of the series!
Praise for The Summer Before the Storm:
“The Summer Before the Storm is a richly detailed, complex novel- one that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page. The details have been painstakingly researched, and when Gabriele Wills described a scene or a home, I felt as if I was actually right there along the characters. She makes her characters multi-layered, revealing only small parts of their personality at a time. The Summer Before the Storm offers a realistic reflection on the war from a uniquely Canadian perspective, and incorporates romance, betrayal, family dynamics, and loyalty within its pages.”- Jonita, The Book Chick
“I very much enjoyed the Muskoka-tale, describing a world I’ve never known and could not even have imagined before, and here it came alive in a way that made me almost feel part of it. And I was fascinated by all those different characters, whom I soon felt very close to, following their trials and adventures, hopes and despairs. Highly recommended!”- Gisela Kretzschmar, Focus on Books
“It was by chance that Gabriele Wills’ novel The Summer Before the Storm fell into my lap. It had been forwarded to the Forester for review and it was the cover that caught my eye. One shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the glossy photograph of the prow of an antique boat and the line “The First of the Muskoka Novels” invited me in. I began to read and was immediately drawn toward the saga’s rich cast of fictitious characters – the aristocratic Wyndhams and their social circle of friends… It is impossible not to be drawn into the lives and emotions of the eminently believable characters… Wills melds historical fact and fiction with aplomb, giving the reader insight into Muskoka’s gracious bygone era and the horrors that faced so many young Canadian men and women in World War I.”- Gillian Brunette, “The Huntsville Forester”
“The Summer Before the Storm by Gabriele Wills is a beautifully written story that shows humanity from all walks of life – from the very wealthy to the poorest – playing out their differences and commonalities. The cover is colorful and eye-catching. The map and other front matter are very helpful. The opening paragraph serves several purposes – to show the era, to set the tone of the story, and to provide a hook that will keep fans turning the pages. All the dialogue is strong, natural, and true to each character. There is good balance between narrative and dialogue. The book sets the stage for the series extremely well. “- Writer’s Digest Magazine
” An endearing, engaging, and charismatic historical fiction set in the beautiful Muskoka’s in the year 1914. The cast of characters are endless and cover both ends of the spectrum from the proper, well-mannered and etiquettely correct, to the shifty, devious and flouting! I fell in love with Ria and Chas. Gabriele Wills deserves a standing ovation for the research and knowledge that went into this book, and for the skill she possesses in writing with such clarity and vivid detail that the reader is transplanted back in time, awakening your five senses as if you were there. Everyone young and old needs to peruse this brilliant piece of literary genius!!!”- Louise, The BookBag Lady
The author of five highly acclaimed historical novels, Gabriele loves to recreate an era in which she can immerse herself (and readers), by weaving compelling stories around meticulously researched facts. Her characters are best friends, whom others are now calling “cherished friends”.
With degrees in the social sciences and education, Gabriele has had a varied career as an educator, literacy coordinator, and website designer, and has been an active community volunteer, particularly in heritage preservation. But writing fiction has always been her passion. Her first short story appeared in the Canadian Authors Association Winners’ Circle 5 Anthology. In 2001, she produced an award-nominated feature on CBC Radio’s “Outfront”.
Born in Germany, Gabriele emigrated to Canada as a young child. She grew up in Lindsay, Ontario, enjoyed several years in Ottawa, and currently resides in Guelph with her husband. She is the proud mother of an accomplished daughter, with whom she is collaborating on an historical YA novel. Visit her at Mindshadows.com for more information.
Follow the Tour:
Books and Needlepoint Nov 2 Guest Post & Giveaway
Broken Teepee Nov 2 Review
Bags, Books & Bon Jovi Nov 5 Review
BookNAround Nov 6 Review
Historical Tapestry Nov 6 Guest Post
Griperang’s Bookmarks Nov 7 Review & Giveaway
To Read or Not to Read Nov 8 Review
To Read or Not to Read Nov 9 Guest Post & Giveaway
ReadingPenguin Nov 9 Review
PopcornReads.com Nov 12 Review
Bassgiraffe’s Thoughts Nov 13 Review & Giveaway
West Metro Mommy Nov 14 Review
Celtic Lady Nov 16 Interview & Giveaway
The Eclectic Reader Nov 19 Review & Giveaway
Book Dilettante Nov 20 Review
No Wasted Ink Nov 21 Interview
Em Sun Nov 22 Review
J.A. Beard Nov 24 Interview
Blue Book Case Nov 26 Review
My Devotional Thoughts Nov 26 Guest Post & Giveaway
My Devotional Thoughts Nov 27 Review
Book Lover’s Library Nov 28 Review
Butterfly-o-Meter Books Nov 28 Excerpt & Giveaway
Stitch, Read, Cook Dec 3 Review
Stitch, Read, Cook Dec 4 Guest Post
Peaceful Wishing Dec 5 Review
Sweeps4Bloggers Dec 5 Review & Giveaway
Mom In Love With Fiction Dec 6 Review
M. Denise C. Dec 7 Review