when the world fell silent

A Bonus from When the World Fell Silent: Recipe

With the release of WHEN THE WORLD FELL SILENT only 2 months away, I wanted to share a little something from the book.
I didn’t know when I first had it that War Cake originated during WW1. While there’s shortening in this recipe, it uses no butter, eggs, or milk. My mother-in-law first made it for me, and I LOVED it as at the time I wasn’t a fan of fruit cake (that has also since changed!). In fact, when we did Groom’s Cake for our wedding (a tradition to look up if you’re unfamiliar), we did War Cake instead of Fruit Cake.
It’s spicy and tasty and fantastic with a cup of tea. I don’t make it often, but I usually make one around Christmas time. 🙂
Here is the recipe!


A stunning historical fiction debut…

It feels weird to call this a debut, when I’ve been publishing for so long, but I have to admit, writing historical fiction is VASTLY different than writing romance, and in addition to the process, the journey to publishing it has also felt like that “first time” all over again, with tons of excitement.
Eliza Knight is one of my favorite historical fiction authors, and she sent along her thoughts about WHEN THE WORLD FELL SILENT:

“WHEN THE WORLD WENT SILENT is a richly detailed look into the lives of women on the home front during WWI, and how their lives were irrevocably changed following a tragic ship collision that resulted in an explosion in the Halifax Harbour Narrows. Donna Alward has penned a stunning historical fiction debut you don’t want to miss. A fascinating tale of resilience!” ~Eliza Knight, USA Today and international bestselling author of Starring Adele Astaire

Thank you, Eliza, for reading this labour of love and giving it your thumbs up! For those of you who might want to grab Eliza’s books, she just had a new one out with Denny S Bryce called CAN’T WE BE FRIENDS, about the friendship between Marilyn Monroe and Ella Fitzgerald. And her next is coming soon – THE QUEEN’S FAITHFUL COMPANION.

Love lost and found…

I want to say a huge thank you to Bryn Turnbull, who generously read an advanced copy of WHEN THE WORLD FELL SILENT! I’m a big fan (check out The Last Grand Duchess and The Paris Deception) and am looking forward to reading her brand-new story (The Berlin Apartment, coming in late August!)

Here’s her review…. it’s a pinch-me moment for me, you know?

“In the span of a few short minutes, everything changes for Nora Crowell and Charlotte Campbell, the brilliant protagonists of Donna Alward’s latest historical novel. Set against the tragic backdrop of the Halifax Explosion, When the World Fell Silent is an enchanting story of love in all its forms, lost and found in the shattered remains of the city.”

You can preorder your copy at your preferred retailer at https://books2read.com/u/m0Jooy !

Information Wanted – The Halifax Explosion

I’m a bit late posting my blog on this, as life got a little crazy and I decided that I needed to add my first bout of Covid to the mix (4 days after my latest vaccination. UGH!). However I really wanted to highlight the 106th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, which is the setting of my next book, WHEN THE WORLD FELL SILENT.
I learned so much while researching this event that happened in Halifax, NS – a place I now call home. Fun fact: despite growing up only a province away, I didn’t learn about the explosion until 12th grade, and I learned about it in a literature class, not history! In Atlantic Lit we read BAROMETER RISING by Hugh McLennan. I LOVED it and through the characters learned about this massive tragedy in Canadian history – the largest manmade explosion until the US dropped the atom bomb on Japan.
It was a natural choice for me to choose this period in Halifax history as the time setting for my book. As I created characters who navigated this tragedy, I also looked for real events and information I could use in developing my story. And while searching for bits and pieces about babies and orphans, I came across this ad from the Evening Post on December 18. The word baby is highlighted, as that was a search term I used at Newspapers.com (what a fabulous research tool!)
Granted, I took a small liberty and used the date of December 23 when one of my characters spies this ad in the paper. But think of it: this child is in the hospital, no one knows her name or who were parents are or where she came from. It is now twelve days after the explosion and no one has come to claim her. Was she orphaned? Separated from her parents? Is someone trying to find her?
The papers were full of these kinds of advertisements and requests for information, and reading through them was, I think, my favorite part of my research process. WHEN THE WORLD FELL SILENT will hit shelves in August 2024… I can’t wait for you all to read it!


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