The Summer Before the Storm

Book 1 of 'The Muskoka Novels'

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
564 Pages
Reviewed on 03/06/2013
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Author Biography

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".

Her other novels are:
"Elusive Dawn" - Book 2 of The Muskoka Novels
"Under the Moon" - Book 3 of The Muskoka Novels
"A Place to Call Home"
"Moon Hall"

There's lots of information on her website - - including reviews, sample chapters, links to book trailers, and an online store.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Karen Pirnot for Readers' Favorite

"The Summer Before the Storm" by Gabriele Wills is initially a romantic story about seemingly kinder and gentler times. Set in the Muskoka wilderness of Canada, the Wyndham family give us a glimpse into the lavish, privileged life of the rich. There are both "old money" and "new money" families on the islands and they all appear to have a craving for whatever money can buy. In some ways, the Whydhams appear outwardly like the Downton Abbey family, who use their wealth in order to live in elegance. But, just when you think you have had about enough of 'privilege,' World War I breaks out and the reader gets a glimpse of real substance in the various family members.

The characters of Victoria, her long-lost cousin Jack and Victoria's husband Chas are particularly well teased out. And the cousins are all well developed, both in their charming characteristics and in their inherent flaws. The research into the story is sterling and it makes the story totally believable so that readers will be drawn to imagine themselves in such situations. The sinking of the Lusitania is vividly described and is an integral part of shaping events from that time forth. Readers wondering what the notion of the "Lost Generation" is all about will surely want to try their luck at understanding by reading this novel. It is beautifully written and wonderfully developed and it leaves the reader immediately searching for the sequel.