The Next Ship Home: A Novel of Ellis Island
by Heather Webb
At the turn of the 20th century, Francesca and Maria are anxious to begin a new life in America after running away from an abusive father in Sicily. Maria is sickly and when the sisters arrive at Ellis Island, they are detained. Sadly, Maria does not recover and dies in the hospital on Ellis Island. Francesca is determined to do whatever it takes to be allowed entry.
Alma Brauer is forced to take a job at Ellis Island. Her stepfather demands that she turn over her paycheck to him. Alma has a gift for learning languages which comes in handy at Ellis Island. She encounters Francesca and Maria that first day and is drawn into their circumstances. Alma wants to help the sisters even is it is against policy.
Alma’s stepfather is anxious for her to marry and leave his home. He makes those arrangements without consulting her. The man Alma is to marry is John Lambert, an inspector at Ellis Island with an awful reputation. Unfortunately, Francesca encountered inspector John Lambert and was willing to do anything to enter New York.
This is a powerful story of friendship and strength. I hope the stories of Alma and Francesca continue in a sequel.