Read The Storms of War by Kate Williams Online


In the idyllic early summer of 1914, life is good for the de Witt family. Rudolf and Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter, Emmeline, while their eldest son Arthur is studying in Paris and Tom is just back from his first term at Cambridge. Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully maIn the idyllic early summer of 1914, life is good for the de Witt family. Rudolf and Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter, Emmeline, while their eldest son Arthur is studying in Paris and Tom is just back from his first term at Cambridge. Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully mapped out future and exploring the world.But the onslaught of war changes everything and soon the de Witts find themselves sidelined and in danger of losing everything they hold dear. As Celia struggles to make sense of the changing world around her, she lies about her age to join the war effort and finds herself embroiled in a complex plot that puts her and those she loves in danger.With gripping detail and brilliant empathy, Kate Williams tells the story of Celia and her family as they are shunned by a society that previously embraced them, torn apart by sorrow, and buffeted and changed by the storms of war....

Title : The Storms of War
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781409139881
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 528 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Storms of War Reviews

  • M . A
    2019-06-06 21:39

    Okay so I took some time before writing this review because it needed a lot of thought.The book is about the de Witt family who are german in origin but live in England and how their lives change through the Great War. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoy historical fiction. I really like these sort of books and I especially enjoyed this one because it is all about family drama in WW1. The de Witt family:Rudolf - the father, german man but moved to England and married to an English woman.Verena - the mother, She's sort of a stuck up which made me not like her, but when the war came and her life changed ( (view spoiler)[ her children have gone to sign up for the army and war efforts(hide spoiler)] ) i felt a little bad for her.Arthur - no comment Emmeline - All she cared about is her wedding, so self-centered. (view spoiler)[ and I was so infuriated with her when she ran away with the tutor. Your country is at war and this is what you do??!!! Your father and brother are in serious danger and this is what you do ??!!! She is basically selfish(hide spoiler)]Michael - how brave he was to go sign up for the war. and the life at the trenches is so awful I can't believe how the soldiers used to fight like that. The part when he talked about the rats in the trenchesparaphrased in my own words: the rats in the trenches are as big as cats, but there's nothing do to about it. I actually came to like the little one that lives at the foot of my bed. WHAT ?! there nothing you can do about it ?! really ? here's a thought …. how about you shoot the thing ???Celia - I understand that she is the youngest and all. but sometimes i think the number of times she cries in the story is a little ridiculous. I mean you are supposed to be the brave one of all your siblings, she wanted to travel and explore the world before all that war started. But no Celia is indecisive most of the time. But she is thoughtful which is nice , so i'll give her that. The only thing that made me impatient was the fact that it took her too long to take action. again, indecisive as i said. But I almost got half way through the book and Celia is still at her home in the country side crying over her brother that went to fight. Then she goes and takes action and the events unfolds and so on..I feel like i babbled a lot so I 'm gonna stop here. One last thing I want to add is that this is the kind of book that keep on replaying in my head for a long time.

  • Roger Pettit
    2019-06-15 02:55

    I can think of quite a few novels - many of them recently-published - that are set during World War I. In such a crowded field, it cannot be easy for a writer to come up with a fresh perspective on the events of 1914-18. And, to be honest, historian and novelist Kate Williams doesn't really manage to do so. 'The Storms of War', the first book of a planned trilogy, is slightly different from many others of its kind in that it examines the impact of the war on a middle-class family of German origin who are living in Britain. But, while reading it, I could not escape the feeling that it's somewhat derivative and unoriginal. Despite its slightly unusual angle, it's firmly rooted in Pat Barker, Louisa Young and Elizabeth Speller territory. It's an engaging enough read, but it lacks that oomph factor that would make it stand out from the other novels I have read about World War I. At more than 500 pages, it's also too long. It's a competent novel but it runs out of steam. It failed to hold my interest in the latter half of the story. I think that was because Williams's prose just doesn't leap off the page. The characterisation is good. I liked Celia, one of the daughters of the wealthy De Witt family. The depiction of her year in France driving ambulances is vivid and realistic. The description of life in the trenches is also well done. I would be happy to read the two other books in this series. But, when all is said and done, 'The Storms of War' is a good, but not great, novel. 6/10.

  • Nada Nader
    2019-06-04 01:52

    Actually the first thing that caught my eyes when I saw the novel in a bookstore was its cover and how simple and expressive it is. I really liked it so much. it is about a family saga which is told from the perspective of the youngest daughter of the family " Celia " through the First World War. Of course there are many scenes that really melt the heart but for me, the epilogue is the hardest; as it highlights the way Michael was killed and how Tom was suffering and it also revealed that he lied to Celia when he told her that he didn't kill her brother although he was forced to be involved. I think it's a very good choice for those who like history; specially fictional history.

  • Patty Killion
    2019-05-30 03:59

    5+++ Stars!!If you read Historical Fiction then you MUST read The Storms of War!!!This book is written about a family (the De Witt family) in the Great War...the women facing disease and death daily, the people left behind at home, their possessions destroyed by bombs, and the waiting for news about their loved ones.What was the Great War, or any war really like?? This is a fabulous story of what isn't said or shared of war and what the people do not share with each other.The author writes about how thousands of Germans lived happily in Britain. The held respectable jobs and married British woman and their children were born in Britain. When war broke out they were hated, required to register, give up their means of travel (cars) and then put in to prisons.This book is about losing everything you hold dear and still find a way to continue.Just do yourself a favor...READ all about The De Witt Chronicles!!Plus as an added bonus...YAY!!! The story of the de Witt family will continue next year following their fortunes from 1918 to 1927. I cannot wait!This is the best book I have read so far in 2015 and I may add the best in several years of reading!!!!

  • Erin
    2019-06-17 04:54

    Aside from the fact that the main protagonist is an idiot, The Storms of War does show a raw and realistic look at Europe during WWI. I especially was swayed by the story of Michael and wanted more chapters of him and his experiences. In fact, that storyline along with the last chapter really pressures me to give it a four. But I cannot and Celia is the reason.Why? While I do recognize that young women of this time period were incredibly naive, sheltered and protected, I never felt that Celia was her age. Personally, I would have been more inclined to believe her to be eight or nine based on how she spoke and acted. Second, her own experiences during the war shape her very little. The most shocking part of the book is that she's exactly as self-centered and clueless as she was at the beginning of the book. I really hate to be so negative because the exploration of so many other themes in the book are very interesting and really are the elements the author wishes to bring to our attention. I would still encourage others to give it a chance.

  • Cora ☕ Tea Party Princess
    2019-05-22 04:41

    Putting this on the back burner for now, not quite in the mood and it seems like it's going to be good so I'll read it when I know I'll enjoy it.

  • Emma Crowley
    2019-06-09 02:40

    The Storms of War is the first in a planned trilogy by Kate Williams following the De Witt family during the period 1914-1918 as World War One alters their lives forever. This book has such a beautiful cover that captures the pre war era perfectly and sums up those carefree days before the outbreak of an event which once finally over after four hard years leaves the world a changed place for all who remain. For some reason I thought all three volumes in the trilogy would focus on WW1 and I did think what could the author possibly talk about over three books especially as this book was well over 500 pages? But the book concludes with the end of WW1 after what proved to be an excellent story. I will readily admit I came very very close to giving up on this book, normally I will always keep going with a book until the bitter end but here this was very very slow to get going. At almost 250 pages in still nothing had really happened and I began to think was this really for me? But once the outbreak of WW1 was announced this book took on a whole other level and I was rapidly tuning the pages to see how the De Witt family would weather everything that these catastrophic events would throw at them. I am so glad I persisted with this one as if I had not I would have missed out on a superb story extremely well written and researched which deserves to stand out amongst all the books written about WW1. This is a real family saga book which I love and fans of early books by Judith Lennox and Sarah Harrison will adore it.Before the book begins there is a page with a list of characters and how they are connected to each other and how they feature in the story. This always makes me nervous because I feel why does an author need to do this? Is there so many characters in the story that the reader is in danger of losing track and becoming confused? I did find myself for the first few chapters referring back to this list until I became familiar with everybody so in the end it did prove useful. The prologue proved tension filled as it is 1916 and Michael De Wit is paralysed with fear in the trenches of France while his men wait for the order to move and attack. This set us up nicely for what was to come and the scenes written in France are some of the best and most powerful throughout the book. We then move back in time to pre war Engalnd and the early summer of 1914.Things are beginning to happen on the continent but for the residents of Callerton Manor the annual party for the village children is the most pressing thing on their minds. That and the imminent marriage of eldest daughter Emmeline to Lord Bradshaw.What sets this family apart from any other I have read in a family saga is that the father Rudolf is German. His wife Verena was born in England and so to were his children Michael, Arthur, Emmeline and Celia. But still they are classed as German when war breaks out. It was refreshing to read something out of the ordinary as normally the family in these sort of books are rich and lord above most people. Here the De Witt fortune (if you could call it that) has been self made as Rudolf is an owner of factories which produce tinned meat. For once their money had not been inherited and their German connections make life very difficult for them once war breaks out. To make one of the principal characters German was brave considering what was to come with the war and I was very keen to see how the family would be treated during the preceding years. Prejudice and injustice were felt straight away when nobody shows up for the carefully planned party. This was the beginning of difficult and harroing times for the family.There are too many characters to mention here but I will give a brief intro to just the main players. Rudolf as I have said is the head of the family who with his heritage only has horror in store for him. Verena his wife is vain and selfish and just totally falls apart when she feels all her family are abandoning her during the war years. She needed to step into Rudolf's place and show women are strong especially at this time women were also fighting for the right to vote. Arthur doesn't feature much at all in this book. He is away in Paris but I hope book two will focus more on him as there was obviously something he was hiding as life couldn't have been all fine and dandy in wartime Paris. Emmeline is beautiful and she knows it. She believes her life is all mapped out with this advantageous marriage but once again her heritage puts paid to that. Over the course of the book she goes through quite an awful lot of changes and was a far more likeable character in the end than the one we first encountered. Michael enlists for the army against his families wishes. He was a deep and complex character and you could sense there were many layers to him. His storyline was excellent and held so many twists and turns even right until that shocker of an epilogue. The main character we follow is Celia and to me this was really her story one where she comes of age against the backdrop of such a tumultuous time.At the beginning of the war Celia is at that difficult stage not quite a woman still a teenager and wanting freedom freedom freedom. Her greatest fear is having to be presented at court and to find a man to marry. Her time spent in the garden away from everything going on is her sanctuary. But over the next four years she grows up and meets the big wide world head on. Slowly suffocating at home all alone with Verena. She leaves for London and soon lies about her age and enlists as an ambulance driver in France. She feels this has two advantages – she will be doing her bit for the war and hopefully she will be closer to Michael and former grooms man Tom. Once Celia joins the war this is where the book really took off and we flit back and forth between both Michael and Celia's experiences. Both so different but equally as devastating and I really couldn't put the book down. So much was packed into the last 250 pages that I wish the entire book had been like this instead of the languid pace I endured for the first half. Kate writes so vividly of the horrors experienced by Michael and Celia. For Michael the devastation of no mans land and the rat infested trenches. The loneliness, the death of so many men in the most unspeakable of ways and the sheer brutality that war brings. Michael had a very interesting storyline here and all I will say is fair play Kate Williams again a refreshing change to read of something not often mentioned. Also the detailed description of Celia's first experience driving an ambulance was fantastic. I felt I was with her sitting in the front seat as she did her best to navigate pot holed bomb strewn roads in the dark to bring injured men to the hospital. It showed such a stark contrast to the comfy, cushy lifestyles women had in England and by god were they brave to sacrifice their lives for the good of others.There are so many story lines running concurrently alongside each other and the author does well to keep everything going. There were several shocks and surprises I didn't see coming and just when you think it is all resolved she leaves us hanging right at the very last page. Yes it does set us up nicely for what is to come but some readers may be annoyed at some unresolved issues. I have fallen in love with the De Witt family, each character so different and all with their own story and secrets to tell. Celia was a brilliant stand out character who goes for what she wants with love ultimately at her heart. I want to see her happy but will she achieve this in future books? The Storms of War is a true saga where Kate Williams is at the top of her game. Get past the first half and you are in for one hell of a story with a family who will find a firm place in your heart. Book two The Edge of the Fall will take us to the roaring twenties and I can only imagine what trials and tribulations await the De Wit Family. Book one comes highly recommended now I'm eagerly awaiting book two.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-10 03:55

    During the long, golden summer of 1914, members of a wealthy British family spend their days at leisure on their expansive Hampshire estate. While the eldest daughter, beautiful Emmeline, dreams of her wedding to Sir Hugh Bradshaw, her mother, Verena, directs the servants in planning their annual summer party, to which the village children will be invited. Son Michael, home from Cambridge, has brought his American friend Jonathan to stay for a short visit. The youngest, fifteen-year-old Celia – her father’s favorite – spends time with her beloved horse and with Tom, the family’s groom, a secret friendship her friends and parents would find inappropriate. Before long, as readers know, war will be declared, the social order will crumble, and life at Stoneythorpe Hall will be forever changed. So far, so familiar. The basic scenario has played out in numerous historical novels and at least one iconic TV show. However, this outline omits a few important facts that helps Kate Williams’ The Storms of War carve out an original niche in this well-worn turf. The de Witt family patriarch is a tradesman, and he was born in Germany. The middle-aged Sir Hugh, who takes snobbery to rude extremes, looks past his fiancée’s background because he needs her family’s money, which comes from canned meat production. Furthermore, the de Witts had purchased Stoneythorpe from an elderly aristocratic lady five years earlier, and their new neighbors resent them. To be more specific, the townspeople hate them, a situation that becomes cruelly obvious after war breaks out and anything (and anyone) German is shunned. Despite their loyalty to England, their connections to Germany affects each of them in ways that are sometimes predictable, sometimes the opposite. The Storms of War, first in a proposed trilogy about the de Witt family, spans the five years of WWI and narrows its focus to the viewpoints of Celia and Michael, mostly the former. We know from the prologue that Michael will find himself at the Somme, forced to lead his men “over the top” despite shell-shock and crippling anxiety. What he endures overseas is as harrowing as expected but isn't without elements of surprise. Even more penetrating, though, are Celia’s experiences driving ambulances in France (and yes, she’s underage, so how she achieves this is a story in itself). Basing Celia’s wartime service on primary source accounts, Williams makes readers feel Celia's utter terror as she drives the unfamiliar vehicle in the pitch dark, exhausted, with wounded soldiers wailing at every bump in the road. How she accomplishes Celia’s transformation from naïve adolescent unable to conceive of a servant-free life to disillusioned, war-weary veteran over the course of 500 pages is masterful and convincing. As several characters relate on occasion, the British royals are also of German origin, but comparisons to their country’s highest-ranking citizens don’t benefit the de Witts in the least. While these reminders provide additional context for the times the characters are living through, the royal genealogy gets a bit garbled (the Kaiser was Queen Victoria’s grandson, not her nephew). It also feels odd for the de Witt children to refer to their parents by their first names at times. Although their perspectives aren’t shown firsthand, the novel shows how Rudolf, Verena, and Emmeline are changed by the war as well. This is a hefty, epic read, but the confident storytelling makes it easy to get carried into the de Witts’ world. For those who enjoy it and want more, the sequel, The Edge of the Fall, is already out. First reviewed at Reading the Past.

  • Julie
    2019-06-12 23:41

    First thing that caught my eye when I spotted this wonderful book was the cover. Nothing symbolises the Edwardian Era like that scene. A woman dressed in a lacey white dress sitting on a green lawn and a man dressed in expensive clothes lying next to her. In the background, a grand English house and a meticulously cut hedge.The last era of elegance, the golden years, the glittering world of endless tea parties and summer afternoons that apt to linger. A world on the brink of catastrophy.Kate Williams, the author, centers her story around one family, whose relatively perfect life is cracking, and no one can stop it from happening. It is a gripping story, a family saga, told mostly from the perspective of the youngest child of the family, Celia de Witt.Williams cleverly puts twists and turns into the plot, the story takes place in different locations- Stoneythorpe Hall, the Western front, war London, field hospital...It was intriguing to see how war changed lives of ordinary people, especially Germans living in Britain were treated very badly. Williams's book gives an insight into how life was on the home front while war was raging in Europe, something you don't get to learn in school.Overall, the book was a pleasure to read. The story draws you in as you witness how the De Witts' previous life is turned into pieces. I definitely recommend it to anyone interested in history. As a huge fan of Downton Abbey, I spotted some things in the book which were very much like in the popoular series. That kind of things can be contraproductive. A servant with a limp from the Boer War? Stoneythorpe Hall transformed into a quasi hospital? There probably were many country estates changed into hospitals, but still, I can't shake off the feeling that Williams was watching ITV while writing The Storms of War. That is probably the only negative thing I have to say.

  • Denise
    2019-06-15 04:00

    At the beginning of the summer of 1914, the de Witt family are enjoying their pleasant, idyllic life at Stoneythorpe Hall. German-born Rudolf and his aristocratic wife Verena are preparing for their eldest daughter's wedding while their sons are studying in Paris and Cambridge and their younger daughter is on the brink of adulthood. The outbreak of the Great War changes everything. Shunned for their German origins, they see friends turn away, Rudolf's business struggle, and Emmeline's groom break off the wedding. Then come the internment camps for enemy aliens, the call for soldiers and women volunteers, and the family is torn apart, scattered among the horrors of war. How many of them will find their way back to Stoneythorpe Hall when the war finally ends?So, yes, it's yet another of the myriad novels set around WWI that tries very hard to be Downton Abbey. The (admittedly extremely gorgeous) cover tells us as much at one glance. Like pretty much all of them, it's not. That aside, Kate Williams succeeds in painting a vivid picture of the era, both the country house grandeur and the brutal horror of the trenches. Of the characters, I found Michael a lot more interesting than silly, naive little Celia who despite all she experiences doesn't really seem to grow up much over the course of the story and Tom, the oh-so-surprising twist about whom was pretty much clear to me from the first time we met him. All in all, I enjoyed this despite finding the main character rather annoying. Now please, can the stupid girl grow up a little in the next book?

  • Darklittle
    2019-06-02 04:58

    Kate Williams’ The Storms of War is set during the Great War in England and France and the detailed descriptions of the various settings help you to envision what the war must have been like. While Williams paints a clear picture of the gruesome wartime at the Western Front in France, she doesn’t forget to also write about the state of her settings before and after the war. One of these places is Stoneythorpe Hall, the home of the de Witt family, and I really enjoyed reading about how it changed during the war.In my opinion, this novel is the coming-of-age story of Celia de Witt, our main character. She is the youngest of the de Witt children and after the war breaks out she has to grow up very fast. Child-like, dreamy and naive Celia soon adapts to the harsh reality of the wartime and turns into a practical young woman. Only later in the book, she somehow seems to be out of character for a short while. I could write a lot about the other characters. They all seem to have their own story to tell which isn’t surprising, as this is the first book in a trilogy.When I saw the cover of The Storms of War, I expected light historical/romantic fiction. What I didn’t expect is a novel that is filled with blood and causes so much pain. I was glad it turned out that way. The Storms of War is a well-researched book that I’d recommend to everyone who can stomach a hefty dose of war and its consequences on people’s lives.

  •  Northern Light
    2019-06-04 20:35

    As this it is one hundred years since the first world war there are many books on the shelves covering this terrible time in our history.This book is the story of one family., the de Witts who have the complication of the father being German at a time when Germany is the enemy.Told mainly through the eyes of the youngest child Celia we go from a peaceful country estate to the horrors of war. The oldest daughter is excited about her forthcoming marriage and one brother is in Paris with the other at university but through the book we learn of them all as well as the fate of their German father.I thoroughly enjoyed this book which doesn't try to sanitize war and shows how men were affected but also the women who served and home and abroad.I did feel that the character of Celia seems rather younger at the start of the book than she is but war soon makes her grow up like the young people around her.The scenes in the trenches were harrowing to read but essential to the story. I look forward to reading what happens next to the familyI received this book from Goodreads for free in exchange for an honest review.

  • Esther Simonato
    2019-05-26 03:40

    "The Storm of Wars" tells the story of the "de Witt" family, who are from German origins but are mostly born and living in England during the First World War, and have to find their place in society, when everyone else sees them as the enemy. The first half of the book is very slow paced (I even considered giving up) but the characters were so interesting that I kept reading until the end, and I'm very glad that I did! First of all, I liked that the author wrote the book set during WWI. I don't know why but I have the feeling that most authors prefer to write about WWII than WWI, maybe because WWI is a little bit more challenging to understand (but I find it far more interesting than WWII) but I liked that Williams accepted the challenge and did a wonderful job. The writing had nothing special about it, but did not harm the story in any way. I also really liked the characters (especially Celia) and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on the sequel to see what happens next!

  • Jeanene Palmer
    2019-06-04 23:52

    4.5 after chapter 15. The book is about a wealthy aristocratic family thrown into the realities of WWI. It was difficult to read with all the societal etiquette and snobbery in the first 14 chapters. I almost didn't continue reading it, but I read another review that said don't give up on this book. So I went back and am glad I did. Celia is the youngest daughter of her parents, one parent is German and is imprisoned by the English. Her Mother is more worried about herself than anyone. Celia changes her name leaves to help in the war effort. She becomes an ambulance driver in France and experiences life in ways she did not expect. It's a good read. Not a heavy historical read...but certainly the author does a fine job of describing the lack of "logic" of wartime.

  • Jennifer Moville
    2019-06-07 04:36

    I received this book as part of Good Reads First ReadsI am usually the first one to put my hand up to a book linked into history and as the D Day celebrations have been bringing the 2nd World War to the forefront and as it's only a few weeks until the centenary of the start of WWI then I thought this would be another book I would likeWhilst it tells the story of family member during the 1914-1918 war and the impact it has on a girl called Celia who enrolls herself in the war and gets involved in a dangerous plot - it's nothing new to other books that are already on the shelves

  • Samantha
    2019-06-11 02:46

    I received this book through the Goodreads giveaway program. I wanted to like this book, but all it left me with was a feeling of indifference. For me, the characters left no impression and neither did the story. I felt this story could have been so much more, but I didn't feel the writer's passion.

  • Kate
    2019-06-09 23:57

    The saga of the De Witt family begins with this thoroughly enjoyable novel which traces the individual stories of the family through the dark years of 1914-1918, focusing on the youngest daughter Celia. Kate Williams is a fine storyteller and historian and so my expectations were high - The Storms of War met every one of them.

  • CLM
    2019-06-18 02:34

    Well written, history appeared accurate, and handled the cliched storylines gracefully. A good addition to my Downton Abbey Recommended list. Here is a link to my review:

  • susan nolan
    2019-05-25 21:56


  • Danna
    2019-06-02 20:53

    A good book but a bad ending!

  • Jonathan
    2019-06-07 02:50

    An excellent WW1 family saga, first in a trilogy for those who like stories to continue. The de Witt family is headed by Rudolf, German by birth, but living in England with his landed gentry English wife Verena for enough time to have built a successful business and been able to reap the rewards of such: four children, a grand estate in the country, servants, a Rolls Royce, horses etc. His youngest daughter, Celia is the main protagonist of the story, a naive fifteen year old whose life is about to change radically, as Britain is on the brink of war with Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.The very fact that the family has German roots is enough to throw their lives into turmoil, especially as the day after war is declared, the government passes the Alien Restrictions Act, enforcing certain limits upon many people who had been loyal to their adopted country for many years (not of course including the very Germanic Royal family!). Celia's brother Michael joins up, along with Tom, the stable boy on whom Celia has a serious crush. Emmeline, Celia's older sister is about to be married, but suddenly things look less certain. Verena sees her carefully constructed family life crumbling as the months pass, and Celia starts a journey that will take her into the very midst of the war. Family secrets abound in the background of the plot, and some reveal themselves as the story progresses.Kate Williams is currently (2017) Professor of History at Reading University, and is also providing insight into the court life of Louis XIV following each episode of the tv series 'Versailles'. As such she brings great historical accuracy to her fiction, but also has a very readable style. I am quite fascinated with the social history of the 20th Century, especially around the period of the First World War, and this novel covers many aspects, especially concerning the women and the decisions they had to make after the men started signing up (or not). After the war, of course, came the very different 1920s, and I am now looking forward to starting part two of this trilogy very soon.

  • Jillian
    2019-06-17 20:56

    Everyone has an idea of what war is and the effect of war. Even today we continue to struggle with the horror of soldier’s deaths, disabled returning soldiers and soldiers who have fought and continue fighting for their countries and their way of life. The subject of the Great War is usually a history lesson in grammar school, and not often a topic of discussion. Ms. Williams research of the era is woven into a tale of the The Great War and its aftermath through the everyday lives of one family. She reminds the reader that then, as now families lose so much in war. I found myself wanting to reach into the characters lives and somehow give them hope. I read both novels, The Storms of War and The Edge of the Fall, one after the other, and am hoping when the third novel in this trilogy is published, this family finds some peace and strength in one another. My father survived World War II and Korea, and I don’t think a day went by that he did not consider himself a surviving miracle of those wars. We have since experienced the aftermath of more wars, and are currently living through yet another conflict in the Middle East. Every day since reading the historical novels, I find myself thinking of how war continues to devastate families. Ms. Weiss has surely woven a historical, personal saga of the havoc of war and how we frail humans manage to continue living through the effects and aftermath of great loss with heroic hope and strength.Received this book through a Goodreads giveaway.

  • Mark Farley
    2019-05-22 22:48

    A great start to this early 20th Century family saga, what I believe to be a trilogy. Yes, it's set in a big house pre-Great War and certainly has a 'Downton' feel about it, but that is not just the half of it. The book is so much more than that. Great characters and plot, intensely studied and sympathetic, this is very much a war novel too, with a lot of the story, action and plot living in the trenches of the Somme and similar battles. The female characters in this story shine through though, by being both innocent and showing of strength and fortitude. There are twists and turns and a brilliance of narrative and dialogue. Heartily recommend.

  • Jen Canary
    2019-06-04 01:56

    I was going to write a review for this but it would have been just a list of things I wish I could have yelled at various characters in the book while they were being just epically callow and naive and in denial no matter how clear the truth bonking them in the nose is.Y'know, like how Tom is CLEARLY Celia's half-brother* from pretty much the nanosecond he's introduced into the story?Yeah, like that.*there's a chance he's revealed as JUST the illegitimate 1st cousin in a sequel, but honestly Celia -- for all she's a ninny -- can do much better than TOM who LIES! All! The! Fucking! TIME!

  • Lia
    2019-06-08 02:47

    I wanted so badly to love this book. It hits some of my favorite thing - wwi, English countryside, coming of age. I just could not get through everything. It took me this long just to get 1/3 of the way done. Looking at other reviews, it continues slowly with little happening until the middle, but I loaned this from the library and don't feel the urge to renew. I may revisit one day when I have less tantalizing books sitting on my TBR shelves.

  • Gem
    2019-05-25 21:39

    I enjoyed dipping into this Downton Abbey inspired novel of WWI - it was well researched and easy to turn pages. Celia the main character isn't amazing, but some of her supporting cast have interesting stories and the novel flicks back and forth between them on their separate journeys. Their experiences weren't always explored deeply enough, but as the first book in a family saga it filled the Downton void and I might even consider picking up the second in the trilogy.

  • Sharon
    2019-06-09 22:53

    I thought the story and descriptions of WW1 were great - not so sure about the two girl lead characters they were very naive, annoyingly so. Story premise was good rich family boys go to war come back scarred both physically and mentally, death on the battlefield, WW1 nurses and ambulance drivers and the descriptions of trenches and hospitals felt very real. This is the start of a family saga according to the authors description, not sure I will read the next.

  • Debi Murray
    2019-06-18 01:44

    I was tempted so many times in the early part of this book to give up. But finally, it became more readable. So much so that I am tempted to read the next installment. The biggest problems with this book were related to the characters thinking the same things too many times. I like action, not mental anxiety, over and over again.

  • Shelley Alongi
    2019-06-05 00:36

    She makes me really like or dislike the characters. The strong points are good character building, the thoughts and feelings of the main characters help to create empathy. I haven't read much WW I fiction. This is a good one.

  • Andrea
    2019-06-07 21:43

    There is so much historical fiction set during this time and I'm not sure that this story adds anything to the genre. I really couldn't connect with any of the characters. I will likely read the other books for closure's sake, but I won't be in a hurry to do so.