Cover Image: When the World Fell Silent

When the World Fell Silent

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I loved this book. Its about hope and strength during the worst of times. If your interested in historical fiction then you need to read this book.

Thanks netgalley and harper Collins Canada. All thoughts and opinions are my own

Was this review helpful?

“Hunker down and get at ‘er”

I appreciated this historical fiction debut by a Canadian author and set in Canada! Alward shares homefront stories centered around the 1917 Halifax Explosion - the largest man-made explosion until the atom bomb. A munitions ship destined for Europe exploded in the Halifax harbour killing nearly 2000 and injuring 9000 more. It left a whole section of the city demolished and thousands homeless.

Alward's story follows two young women, a war widow and mother, Charlotte Campbell, and a CANC ‘bluebird’ nurse, Nora Crowell, and shows readers how their lives became connected in the most shocking and devastating way.

Twenty-three-year-old Nora joins the Canadian Army Medical Corp as a nurse and rises to Lieutenant. She witnesses soldiers’ pain and struggles daily and, believing nobody is beyond help, she pushes herself to tend to them and their wounds. Readers are aware of her hopeless despair. Not only does she battle fatigue and a sense of futility, but frustration at serving at home instead of overseas … especially with Ally, her boyfriend, overseas fighting, and a secret that she needs to keep hidden.

Charlotte is stuck between a rock and a hard place after losing her husband at The Somme, living with spiteful and resentful in-laws, and raising baby Aileen alone. Alward was able to show me how devastating it was to lose everything and have nobody to rely on. I understood what it must feel like to be holding onto hope for the sake of a child despite wanting to give up. I had a fresh appreciation for those who go through life just going through the motions. I knew at the 25% mark that I had to keep reading to find out what happened after the explosion.

You need to read this story about loss, love, hope, and redemption against all odds. It’s the 107th anniversary this year of this tragedy and Alward's examination of choices and how her characters navigated this tragedy is a compelling read.

I’m looking forward to the next book, ‘The Coldest Night,’ which will be a Titanic-set historical fiction novel also with a Nova Scotia connection.

I was gifted this copy by Harper Collins Canada and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

Was this review helpful?