May 28

The Halifax Explosion by Susan R. Hughes

SuePlease welcome fellow Canadian, Susan R. Hughes. As part of our ongoing TRAVEL BACK IN TIME SERIES, she takes us back almost one hundred years to the Halifax Explosion.

Thanks for having me, Anna. When I came up with the idea to write a series that would follow a Canadian family through several generations, I chose one of the most tragic events in Canada’s history as the starting point.

During the First World War, Halifax, Nova Scotia, became a major assembly and departure point for convoys carrying supplies and soldiers to Europe. In December of 1917, a cargo ship accidentally collided with a munitions ship in the bustling harbour, and the resulting explosion decimating the North End of the city. Over 2000 people were killed and 9000 others wounded. Until the atomic bomb tests of the 1940s, it was the largest man-made explosion in recorded history.

Growing up in Ontario, we were never taught about the Halifax Explosion in school. When I did learn about the event, I was surprised that it hadn’t made it into our textbooks. A few years ago, my husband and I visited the Maritime Museum in Halifax and saw displays of personal items that had been recovered after the explosion – a singed nightshirt, a pair of glasses, pencils used by schoolchildren. Some of the owners of these artifacts had perished in the blast. It was a deeply poignant experience.

The scope of the tragedy is hard to imagine when you consider how many families were simply wiped out, and the horrific injuries that crippled many of the survivors. It left a lasting impression on the people of Halifax. Terrible as the explosion was, its legacy has some positive aspects. There are stirring stories of heroism, people who survived in miraculous circumstances and the generosity of other cities and countries that came forward with financial and medical aid. Even today, Halifax sends a Christmas tree to the city of Boston in thanks for the help they provided in the aftermath of the blast.

I used the Halifax Explosion as the backdrop to the opening novel in my Music Box series.While it may sound like a rather depressing scenario, the story is a heartwarming account of love rising from tragedy. untitled

Sense of Touch

In the wake of the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the sense of loss was overwhelming. The blast destroyed Amy’s home and killed her parents, while Sean lost his eyesight and the little sister he’d promised to protect. In the midst of disaster Amy and Sean found each other, if only briefly, as she helped him escape the destruction of the city. Another chance encounter reunites them in 1923. Amy’s scars and her need for security have led her to consider marrying a man she doesn’t love—until the touch of Sean’s hand sparks a desire for something more.  As their friendship blossoms into a passionate affair, Sean finds hope and strength in Amy’s arms—but as he struggles to find a sense of purpose without his sight, can love alone mend the deepest wounds of the heart?

The second book in the series, Someone Like You, picks up when Sean and Amy’s daughter Bridget moves to Ontario in 1947 and meets World War Two veteran Adam Walker. The third installment, Heart’s Desire, will be released next month.

Amazon links:

My author page: http://www.amazon.com/Susan-R.-Hughes/e/B0070NJWT0
Website: http://susanrhughes.weebly.com/

About Susan:

Nothing gets my heart pumping like a good love story with absorbing emotion, plenty of passion, and an old-fashioned happy ending. That’s why I started writing romance novels, and I’m excited to share these stories with you. Set mainly in Canada, my contemporary and historical novels explore the extraordinary thrill of finding that special someone and falling head over heels in love. I hope you’ll enjoy reading them as much as I did writing them. I live in Ottawa, Ontario, with my husband and three children.



Skip to comment form

  1. Donna

    I’ve read this book and it is wonderful.

    1. susanrhughes

      Thank you so much, Donna!

  2. Linda Andrews

    Nice post. I didn’t know about the explosion until college. The stories of heroism are truly fascinating did yo base your characters on any particular account?

    1. susanrhughes

      No, but I read a lot of accounts to get a feel for the experience of living through the explosion.

  3. Melissa Keir

    I had never heard about the explosion. Thank you for sharing. It sounds like a wonderful read and certainly one that will tug at your heartstrings!

    1. susanrhughes

      Thanks, Melissa!

  4. Mona Risk

    Sense of Touch is a wonderful book full of emotion and so well-written. I loved it.

    1. Susanrhughes

      Thanks, Mona!

  5. E. Ayers

    I don’t think I ever learned about it in school and when I did find out about the explosion, I was shocked! It’s almost hard to believe, and yet it isn’t. Could something like that happen today? I think the answer is yes.

    I love your books, Susan. You write with such sensitivity and tell such wonderful stories.

    1. Susanrhughes

      Back at ya, E!

  6. Pat Amsden

    I never heard of this during history classes in school either and wonder why. I love the idea of reading a book that’s historical and set in Canada. Even better, it’s a love story!

    1. susanrhughes

      If you read it, I hope you enjoy it.

  7. Carol

    Hi, Susan. I didn’t know about the explosion either. I love your books and can’t wait for the next release!

  8. susanrhughes

    Thanks, Carol!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>