I just finished reading A Pocket Full of Shells by Jean Reinhardt and was left wanting to learn more about the tough times in Ireland back in the 1800’s. The novel is an Irish romance and begins in the second year of The Great Hunger when a baby girl is born to a young fisherman and his wife. While many family and friends are emigrating to find work and food, the couple decides to stay with their heritage and their home. The Great Hunger is very hard on those who stay and as they are plagued with hunger and dangerous times. The young man makes the tough decision to go away to earn enough for his wife and child to survive. He travels by ship where people weakened by hunger often become ill and die. When they arrive, the young man finds himself ill and struggles to gain back his strength.
I was surprised and saddened by what these people had to go through to survive. My heart ached for each of them as the story unfolded yet I could not put the book down until the very end. I highly recommend this novel to anybody who loves reading history fiction.