Welcome to the HF Virtual Book took for The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb! I was so excited to get to read this novel after reading the book blurb. It sounded so fascinating to me, and it was.
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About the BookThe Next Ship Home
Author Heather Webb
on February 8, 2022
Genres: Fiction / Historical / General, Fiction / Literary, Fiction / Women
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"An unflinching look at the immigrant experience, an unlikely and unique friendship, and a resonant story of female empowerment."—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman with the Blue Star
Ellis Island, 1902: Two women band together to hold America to its promise: "Give me your tired, your poor ... your huddled masses yearning to breathe free..."
A young Italian woman arrives on the shores of America, her sights set on a better life. That same day, a young American woman reports to her first day of work at the immigration center. But Ellis Island isn't a refuge for Francesca or Alma, not when ships depart every day with those who are refused entry to the country and when corruption ripples through every corridor. While Francesca resorts to desperate measures to ensure she will make it off the island, Alma fights for her dreams of becoming a translator, even as women are denied the chance.
As the two women face the misdeeds of a system known to manipulate and abuse immigrants searching for new hope in America, they form an unlikely friendship—and share a terrible secret—altering their fates and the lives of the immigrants who come after them.
This is a novel of the dark secrets of Ellis Island, when entry to "the land of the free" promised a better life but often delivered something drastically different, and when immigrant strength and female friendship found ways to triumph even on the darkest days.
Inspired by true events and for fans of Kristina McMorris and Hazel Gaynor, The Next Ship Home holds up a mirror to our own times, deftly questioning America's history of prejudice and exclusion while also reminding us of our citizens' singular determination.
“With meticulous research and deft prose, Heather Webb crafts an unflinching look at the immigrant experience, an unlikely and unique friendship, and a resonant story of female empowerment. The Next Ship Home is truly a beautiful and powerful book.” — Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman with the Blue Star
“Powerful and poignant, The Next Ship Home shines a literary light on Ellis Island’s dark history, where the prejudices of the past often sit uncomfortably close to the present. Written with a clear passion for the subject matter, Webb captures the injustices, suffering, hope and determination of a generation of immigrants. Francesca and Alma roar from the page, and leave the reader caring for them deeply. A richly imagined novel, and a must-read for fans of historical fiction. Brava!” — Hazel Gaynor, New York Times bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave
“The Next Ship Home is a wonderfully immersive novel that kept me engrossed from the first page to the last. Through a seamless tale of immigrants, corruption, resilience, and hope, Webb illuminates a dark side of America too often lost to history. An important, timely read featuring a cast I loved to root for.” — Kristina McMorris, New York Times bestselling author of Sold on a Monday
“The insightful historical details delving into the Ellis Island immigration process make this novel essential reading for anyone yearning to understand the roots of the American Experience. Highly recommended.” — Kris Waldherr, author of The Lost History of Dreams
“Reading this story is like stepping back in time to the gut-churning experience of arriving at Ellis Island in 1902 and being willing to do anything for a shot at a fresh start in a new country. The Next Ship Home serves as a powerful and humbling reminder about the courage it takes to start over.” — Elise Hooper, author of Fast Girls and Angels of the Pacific
“Centered around Ellis Island—symbol of America’s greatest hopes and scene of some of her greatest travesties—The Next Ship Home is the heart-wrenching story of two young women fighting for freedom and independence. In this timely and utterly immersive story, Webb unflinchingly exposes the prejudice, sexism, and corruption rampant with the immigration system of the times while still weaving in hope that we can do and be better.” — Kerry Anne King, bestselling author of Whisper Me This and Everything You Are
“The Next Ship Home is one of the rare stories that will nestle itself in your soul and make a home there. Heather Webb creates two remarkable, endearing heroines that you will root for from beginning to end. Her depiction of Ellis Island and turn-of-the-century New York is lush with meticulously researched detail. But most striking, Webb tackles the thorny and complex issues of immigration and workers’ rights with sensitivity and grace. Her message is compassionate and timely, and I was blown away by how deftly Webb weaves it through Alma and Francesca’s stories. The Next Ship Home deserves a place as one of the great books of the American Experience.” — Aimie K. Runyan, international bestselling author of Across the Winding River and Daughters of the Night Sky
Webb has written a story that has grabbed my attention. The journey of Alma and Francesca was so fascinating to read. Webb is a new to me author, but she has easily made her way into my watch list. Her descriptions, character arcs, history, and writing style is just so beautiful.
Let’s start with her descriptive writing. From foul odors, to the view of America, to the streets of Ellis Island and more, Webb managed to not only make me imagine the scenes vividly in my head, she was able to get all of my senses involved. When she talked about certain odors, I could smell them. When she talked about how the immigrants looked coming off the ships and the hustle and bustle involved with that, I could feel them standing near me. She easily transported this reader back in time as if on some magical time ship.
Then you see the growth of Alma and Francesca, each on their own separate journey yet put together by unfortunate circumstances. There were moments of tears for this reader, both in good ways and bad. What these poor young women had to endure (there could be some trigger points for readers as an FYI) was simply heartbreaking. But Webb continued their story, growing them and making them resilient despite their circumstances. Oh it was just so wonderful to read.
I will make note that there was some language in this book that I kind of glanced over, so if you’re sensitive to that be on the lookout. It really wasn’t a lot – but it was still present.
Overall, this wonderfully written historic novel is one that is going to sit with me for a very long time. Language aside, I think this would be a great tool in a history class (for older teens/young adults) studying Ellis Island. You can see the depth of research Webb put into each and every page. It simply took my breath away.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
Heather Webb is the USA Today Bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction. In 2017, LAST CHRISTMAS IN PARIS won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association award, and in 2019, MEET ME IN MONACO was shortlisted for both the RNA award in the UK and also the Digital Book World Fiction prize. Up and coming, Heather’s new solo novel called THE NEXT SHIP HOME: A NOVEL OF ELLIS ISLAND is about unlikely friends that confront a corrupt system altering their fates and the lives of the immigrants who come after them, and it releases in Feb 2022. Also, look for her third collaboration with her beloved writing partner, Hazel Gaynor, THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE, releasing this July! (2021) When not writing, Heather flexes her foodie skills, geeks out on pop culture and history, or looks for excuses to head to the other side of the world. For more information, please visit Heather’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, January 31
Kick-off at Passages to the Past
Saturday, February 5
Review at Girl Who Reads
Sunday, February 6
Interview at Reading is My Remedy
Tuesday, February 8
Review at Booking With Janelle