The Next Ship Home [Book Review]

 The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb

The Next Ship Home is a compelling story of immigration, corruption/abuse, cultural differences, friendship, and women supporting women.

The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb (cover) Image: a woman in a long white cotton dress stands with her back to the camera looking out over the bay at Ellis Island

Genre/Categories/Setting: Historical Fiction, Ellis Island (1902), Immigration, Friendship, Women Supporting Women

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

My Summary of The Next Ship Home:

In 1902, two young women meet at Ellis Island. Francesca and her ill sister are new arrivals from Italy and they attempt to gain entry into the United States. Their arrival coincides with Alma’s first day on the job. Alma spots the sisters and offers her help. As Francesca and Alma encounter corruption, abuse, and mistreatment, they forge a friendship.

Ellis Island in 1905

Ellis Island in 1905 (image source: Wikipedia)

My Thoughts:


I love a story of two determined and resilient women overcoming obstacles, supporting each other, and forming a friendship. Francesca and Alma are well-drawn and realistic. I’m inspired by their ability to appreciate and understand each other’s culture and their courage to support each other and follow their dreams. For fans of women’s fiction, there is a side of chaste romance for each character but it doesn’t overwhelm the story.


My own relatives came through Ellis Island, and I enjoyed a thoughtful and relisttic look at what the experience might have been like for them. Heather Webb creates a vivid picture of the circumstances and establishes a strong sense of place.


Thoughtful themes include the immigration experience, abuse of power, fighting corruption, women supporting women, friendship, overcoming obstacles, determination, taking risks, prejudice and hatred, compassion, facing hardship, resilience, and hope for a better future.

Content Consideration: coerced sex in exchange for a signature, abuse of power

Recommending The Next Ship Home

Fans of Women’s Ficiton/Historical Fiction will enjoy a glimpse into Ellis Island in 1902. Readers who appreciate stories of friendship and women suporting women will find lots to love here. Book clubs will enjoy thoughtful discussion topics. Because it’s thought provoking and page-turning, I”m warmly recommending The Next Ship Home for your TBR.

Related: Another histfic story of the immigrant experience (although not to America) is The Boat People by Sharon Bala.

Other Books I’ve Reviewed by Heather Webb are all coauthored: Last Christmas in Paris, Meet Me in Monaco, Ribbons of Scarlet, and Three Words For Goodbye.

My Rating:  4.5  Stars

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The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb (cover) Image: a young woman in a long white cotton dress stands next to a railing looking across the water at the Statue of Liberty

More Information Here

Meet the Author of The Next Ship Home, Heather Webb

Author of The Next Ship Home, Heather WebbHeather Webb is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of historical fiction. In 2015, Rodin’s Lover was a Goodread’s Top Pick, and in 2018, Last Christmas in Paris won the Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award. In 2019, Meet Me in Monaco was selected as a finalist for the 2020 Goldsboro RNA award in the UK, as well as the Digital Book World’s Fiction prize. To date, Heather’s books have been translated to fifteen languages. Up and coming, her next solo novel, THE NEXT SHIP HOME, is inspired by true events and reveals the dark secrets of Ellis Island as two unlikely friends challenge a corrupt system, altering their fate and the lives of the immigrants that come after them, out in Feb 2022. Check her website for more details on release dates and book club visits.


Is this compelling story on your TBR or have you read it?

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I purchase or borrow from the library all books I review unless explicitly stated that the book is free (arc)

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  1. That’s so cool that your relatives came to the US via Ellis Island. My family drove in from Canada. This sure looks good.

  2. My mother-in-law came through Ellis Island as a war bride after WW2. It was always fascinating to hear her stories. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this one.

  3. This sounds like a fascinating story, Carol. I visited Pier 21, which was the Canadian entry point in Halifax, Nova Scotia and the stories were amazing. I just added this to my blog recommendation pile.

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