Blog Tour Kick-Off: The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb

The Next Ship Home: A Novel of Ellis Island by Heather Webb

Publication Date: February 8, 2022 Sourcebooks Landmark

Genre: Historical Fiction


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.

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"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

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

Tuesday, February 1
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Review at A Baker’s Perspective

Wednesday, February 2
Review at MTM Reads
Review at momma_doc_reads

Thursday, February 3
Review at With A Book In Our Hands
Interview at Books, Ramblings, and Tea

Friday, February 4
Review at Novels Alive
Review at View from the Birdhouse
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Saturday, February 5
Review at Girl Who Reads

Sunday, February 6
Interview at Reading is My Remedy

Monday, February 7
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss
Review at Books, Writings, and More

Tuesday, February 8
Review at Booking With Janelle

Wednesday, February 9
Interview at Novels Alive
Review at Rachel McMillan
Review at Jessica Belmont

Thursday, February 10
Review at Reader_ceygo
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Friday, February 11
Interview at Reader_ceygo
Review at A Darn Good Read
Interview at Reading the Past
Review at The Enchanted Shelf

Excerpt & Giveaway: Midnight Masquerade by Halley Larkin

Midnight Masquerade by Halley Larkin

Publication Date: January 10, 2022

Series: The Brightley Sisters, Book 1
Genre: Historical Romance

A duke with a past. A lady with no future. One magical night could change everything.

Lady Charmaine Brightley will soon lose her place in the world. Her father is ill and when he passes, a distant male cousin will inherit his title and the family estate. In the meantime, London society flocks to Charmaine’s lavish parties. Whimsical games of chance are the highlight of any evening at Cortwood Manor, games designed to raise money for the so-called “deserving” poor.

Behind the scenes, Charmaine fancies herself a modern-day Robin Hood. Proceeds from her parties support women shunned by the same ladies and gentleman drawn to Cortwood. If the ton ever discovered the true nature of Charmaine’s philanthropy, the revelation would ruin her family. Not that Charmaine cares what anyone thinks. Ever since her devastating first season, she has given up on love. With a promise to her dying mother to always look after her younger sisters, circumstances dictate a respectable attachment to a gentleman of means. What more would she want, really? As far as Charmaine is concerned, passion is a ridiculous dream, meant only for the young and foolish.

Until a dashing stranger appears at her midsummer masquerade, that is. And Charmaine soon wonders if romance might still be in her cards.

After an ill-fated duel, Duke Konstantin Rostov abandoned Russia for England. Kosta doesn’t miss the glamorous life he once enjoyed, or so he tries to tell himself. He is now a fugitive, marked for death by the powerful tsar and hiding in London. For a man accustomed to privilege and power, nothing is worse than indentured servitude to a cruel stepfather, Lord Trenholm.

Determined to restore both his reputation and that of the family he shamed, Kosta sneaks away to Lady Charmaine’s masquerade. He intends to meet Lord Cortham, his stepfather’s former business partner, who knows Trenholm’s darkest secrets. At Cortwood, Kosta finds the lord of the manor is unwell and can’t receive guests. But Kosta’s spirits soon lift when he dances with the alluring Charmaine Brightley.

For years, Kosta restricted his amorous affairs to women who were discreet, worldly, and married. These private flings safeguarded the ladies, as well as his own damaged ego. Despite the thrilling connection between them, Kosta understands he has no place in Charmaine’s life. Lord Cortham’s eldest daughter is destined to marry a gentleman of her station. In another life, Duke Konstantin would have been a perfect match. In his current state, Kosta could never aspire so high. When his stepfather sends him back to Cortwood, however, Kosta can’t resist the opportunity to see Charmaine one more time. Even if it means spying on her during a mysterious trip to London. Even if he must continue to hide his identity.

Reunited, Kosta and Charmaine find their mutual desire catches fire. But Lord Trenholm has his own reasons for pushing them together. Duke Konstantin has become part of his stepfather’s dangerous agenda. And Trenholm’s plans for his family’s future could destroy Charmaine Brightley, the woman who has finally captured Kosta’s heart.

Available on Amazon


Lady Charmaine Brightley stood on a mezzanine overlooking the polished dance floor. Garlands of purple delphinium and sweet peas bound with gold ribbon decked the walls, while fresh pansies adorned the chairs pushed to the sides of the room. Blown-glass dragonflies suspended from crystal chandeliers, catching the light. With the windows open, a cool breeze drifted inside, carrying with it the sweet scent of wild roses and thistle.

This was her favorite part of the evening, when she took a moment to savor what she’d created. The promise of excitement, something daring, drew society north to Hampstead and across the wild heath to Cortwood Manor. Fancy dress balls were the stuff of fantasy, and masquerades carried just the right touch of scandal. The ballroom below looked like a scene from a fairy play at the Pantheon.

With a nod of appreciation to the four-piece ensemble she’d engaged—the required piano and violin, as well as a splurge for the cornet and violoncello—Charmaine drummed her fingers along the iron railing in time to the tempo of the opening march. Soon enough, she would make her way downstairs to tempt the guests with talk of her pride and joy: the elaborate games of chance to begin just after midnight. Did they wish to try their luck at faro or vingt-un? For a minimum wager of a mere five pounds? If a gentleman was not one for the card table, perhaps he would take part in a contest to learn who best handled darts. Did the lady play whist? If not, might she purchase a ticket for the raffle instead? All for a righteous cause, of course. The higher the stakes, the greater the final donation to an unspecified benevolent agency in London.

Otherwise, what was the point of all this, really?

Charmaine’s sisters, Rosalind and Arabella, paced the ballroom, greeting new arrivals and ensuring each had a program with a schedule of both the dances and gaming options for the evening. A handful of couples mingled along the edges of the dance floor, while a few others promenaded to the opening march. Like Charmaine, most guests had donned half-masks that fit over their noses, though a few gents sported Venetian bautas to hide their faces entirely, the cheeky rascals.

Among the kaleidoscope of costumes, Charmaine spotted a harlequin in a red and silver diamond-patterned frock, and a pirate donning a tricorn hat and eye patch. A woman with black silk bat wings fastened to her gown nearly knocked over a gilt bronze candelabra. Charmaine reached back to touch the diaphanous fairy wings she’d hooked to her own forest-green taffeta gown. She had spent weeks sewing her costume: Titania, Queen of the Fairies. The subtle stitching nestled in the organza fabric made the wings appear iridescent in the right light. She resolved to treat them with great care tonight.

Not that she intended to dance. A queen didn’t dance. Rather, she remained perched on high to evaluate her subjects. When she mingled among them, she tread lightly.


Author Halley Larkin

My forthcoming series features three free-spirited sisters preparing to leave an estate they love, but cannot inherit. Along the way, their fates are entangled with those of a disgraced duke, a missing heir, and a brash young earl: gentlemen with passion in their hearts and complicated pasts. The first in the series, MIDNIGHT MASQUERADE, is now available for pre-order. The novella prequel MAID TAKES MARQUESS is coming soon.

As a reader, I enjoy witty novels full of sexual tension, dark secrets, and suspenseful twists. My favorite authors include Courtney Milan, Philippa Gregory, Alyssa Cole, Gillian Flynn, George R.R. Martin, and Lisa See. When I'm not reading or writing, you might find me planning a costume for the next San Diego Comic-Con or looking up a recipe from a Victorian cookbook. I live in California with a spoiled tabby cat named Jonesy.

Website | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 10
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, January 11
Review at Gwendalyn's Books

Wednesday, January 12
Review at Booking with Janelle

Thursday, January 13
Review at Novels Alive

Friday, January 14
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Review at A Girl Reads Bookss


Enter to win a copy of Midnight Masquerade by Halley Larkin!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on January 14th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

Midnight Masquerade

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