In remembrance of The Great War during this centenary year, this blog will explore the intriguing social history of that tumultuous time. The first two of my Muskoka Novels – "The Summer Before the Storm" and "Elusive Dawn" – take place from 1914-1918. During my four years of research I accumulated a trunkful of notes, and will illuminate some of the more interesting and unusual tidbits, beginning with the Age of Elegance.
Wednesday, June 4, 2014
The Summer Before the Storm Begins 100 Years Ago
“It was the whisper that started their war. That’s how many
at the table that evening would recall the summer of 1914.” Thus begins The
Summer Before the Storm, 100 years ago this weekend.
The dining room of the "Grand" Muskoka Hotel, where the novel begins
hadn't even noticed the waiter until then.
In their black uniforms, the resort staff slipped about unobtrusively,
meeting one’s needs without being obvious. Without really existing. It wasn't
until he boldly bent over her grandmother's right shoulder and whispered in her
ear that Victoria thought how handsome he was. And then realized with a shock
that he was the trespasser who had spied her swimming naked yesterday.
With temperatures already soaring over 30°
Celsius, it was little wonder that Victoria had abandoned her encompassing and
suffocating wool bathing costume - which included black stockings, slippers,
and cap - for the freedom of “skinny dipping” in a secluded bay on her family’s
Muskoka island. She hadn’t expected an intruder in her privileged world,
especially one who seemed to be the catalyst for dramatic changes.
That languid, sultry June day presaged a memorably hot
summer punctuated by tempestuous storms. In the novel, it was also ruptured by turbulent
emotions and events, including the outbreak of war in August.
You can read the first two chapters of The Summer Before the Storm on
my website, where there are also reviews and other info.