I have just completed reading Hugh MacLennan’s Barometer Rising (1941). If you are looking for a Canadian love story set in the context of World War I and the catastrophic explosion of the Mont-Blanc (a freighter carrying explosives) in the Halifax harbor on December 6, 1917, this is it. Great reading.
Barometer Rising describes a World War I soldier who has been injured and “demobilized”. He is blamed for tragic events in the war that were not his responsibility. Returning to Halifax, he struggles to clear his name and he also strives to re-kindle the loves of yesteryear. The explosion gives him a whole different focus and he is able to be concerned about others instead of only himself. His “shell-shock” seems to fade away as he leads in the recovery from the Mont-Blanc explosion and in the process he learns who he really is and who he really loves. In many ways he represents the many men who moved from the fisheries and mining of Cape Breton into the city life of Halifax.
Note: “The Halifax Explosion remains the world’s largest man-made accidental explosion.”