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
Naturally, Victoria 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.

Lake Rosseau, Muskoka - photo © Melanie Wills
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.

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