‪The Blue Tattoo‬ — “It’s a big story that everyone should read.”

AJB Johnston’s review of #TheBlueTattoo in Atlantic Books Today:

“Steven Laffoley’s The Blue Tattoo (Pottersfield Press) is the first time this award-winning historian has turned to fiction. His focus is the Halifax Explosion.

“I asked him why he was drawn to the topic and with a novel of all things. He replied: ‘I think stories where characters face calamity, truly terrible events … provide readers a chance to explore their fear through narrative … Fiction allows for a deeper and more meaningful exploration of emotion.’
“With a number of books and films already out there on the Halifax Explosion, Laffoley seeks to tell a familiar story in a fresh

way. The arc of the novel rests on a love story between a woman and a man from widely separated social and economic classes. Their differing backgrounds allow the author to examine a wide range of topics, including the suffragette movement and how wars benefit or hurt people in different ways.

“Surprisingly, at least to me, there are stretches in The Blue Tattoo where the couple’s story is not front and centre. Instead, Laffoley offers other characters – some historical, some invented – whose stories convey the wider tale of how the devastation happened and how it killed, maimed, blinded and rendered homeless so many thousands. At times, some incidents read more like straight history than immersive fiction, but they communicate the context of the sweeping story the book presents.

“The Blue Tattoo ticks along at a brisk pace and keeps the reader’s interest all the way. It’s a big story that everyone should read. It deepens one’s appreciation for the parts of the city touched by the devastation of Dec. 6, 1917.”

The Blue Tattoo #1 on Bestseller List

The Blue Tattoo reaches the #1 spot on the Bestsellers List of Bookmark Halifax.


The Blue Tattoo – Steven Laffoley
The Children Act – Ian McEwan
Stone Mattress – Margaret Atwood
The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
Sweetland – Michael Crummey
Back of the Turtle – Thomas King
Somewhere Safe with Somebody Good – Jan Karon
The Paying Guests – Sara Waters
All My Puny Sorrows – Miriam Toews
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour – Joshua Ferris

The Organized Mind – Daniel Levitin
The Most Dangerous Book – Kevin Birmingham
If This Isn’t Nice, What is ? – Kurt Vonnegut
Hard Choices – Hilary Clinton
Tragedy in the Commons – Alison Loat
Tales from Beyond the Tap – Randy Bachman
Strange Glory – Charles Marsh
A Spy Among Friends – Ben MacIntyre
A Place in the Country – W.G. Sebald
My Age of Anxiety – Scott Stossel

What I learned About Politics – Graham Steele
Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia – Michael Hynes
Journeys Through Eastern Old-Growth Forests – Jamie Simpson
Quest of the Folk – Ian McKay
A Lucky Life – Richard B. Goldbloom
Day Trips From Nova Scotia – Jon Tattrie
Nova Scotia Souvenir Book – David Towler
Wildflowers of Nova Scotia – Todd Boland
The Town That Died – Michael J. Bird
Nova Scotia – Tanya Lloyd Kyi