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When German shells hit Hartlepool in 1914, the lives of everyone in the small coastal town are changed forever.

With letters from the Front being the only contact she has with husband, George, and both parents now dead, Martha, a naive, young mother, is forced to stand on her own two feet and rebuild her world.


In her struggle to become independent, she is devastated to learn that not everyone can be trusted to have her best interests at heart, especially those closest to her.


George returns home In 1916, apparently suffering from shell shock, and she finds her loyalty to him tested to the limit against everyone's accusations of cowardice.  But will she still defend her husband when she discovers the secrets he is keeping?

Reviews from my readers

C. Sapsworth 

“Fantastic read. Had me on edge a few times. Some parts you imagine being there yourself. Very good descriptions. Why did it finish so soon , would love to read more. Cannot write too much or it would spoil it for anyone that has not had the chance to read it yet. Highly recommended.”


This is a super, page-turning read. The period detail is really well observed and brings WW1 and the lives of the women left behind alive. A thoroughly enjoyable book.”


"This first novel is an enjoyable, well-paced insight into the lives and loves of the men fighting the Battle of the Somme and the women on the home front supporting their men and fighting their own battle for social change. Full of period detail."

An enthralling family saga, set against the backdrop of the Great War.

Reviewed in the United States on July 9, 2019

Using vivid descriptions of the time, C.J. Richardson brings to life the countryside and the characters who live in a small village in the north east of England during the trials, tribulations, and privations of the Great War. The story revolves around Martha and her family after the initial, German bombardment of the small community in which she lives. Many of her nearest and dearest are killed, and her husband George and brother-in-law Albert volunteer for the army. George is accepted but Albert is refused on medical grounds. Torn between the love of both men, Martha struggles to maintain as normal a life for her young son as possible. She changes from an obedient wife to a working woman with strong views of her own. When her shell-shocked husband returns from the front, she must make a choice between him and his brother. Which man does she choose? The finale is unexpected and leaves the door open for a sequel.

North Sea Shells

A story of love, loss, pain and courage during the Great War.

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