Monday, October 31, 2022

The Next Ship Home

Escaping war, drought, famine and religious persecution, immigrants have dreams of starting a new life. But first, these men, women and children had to make their way through Ellis Island. In 1902, Francesca and Maria escaped their abusive father and life in Sicily. Aboard a ship packed in a third class steerage filled with poor, sick and desperate passengers, Francesca did everything she could do to get to them America. A young woman named Alma recently started working at Ellis Island as a matron. She lives with her family on the lower east side of NY in a tight German community where unmarried at 21, she is already an old maid. Fluent in English, German and Italian, Alma plans to attend school and become a translator, a job not yet available to women. When Alma and Francesca meet during inspection, an unexpected friendship blooms. Alma helps Fran get a job and brings her home against her parents wishes although her older brother Fritz is instantly smitten. As we are immersed in the history of rampant discrimination, battles over unionizing disgruntled workers and severe mistreatment of the stereotyped immigrant it becomes shockingly clear these same issues are in the headlines today. It is equally daunting to see how quickly these families, only one generation American themselves, feared anyone different who wanted the very same things their own ancestors sought in America. This mesmerizing vivid work of historical fiction is a powerful reminder of friendship, family and the courage it takes to make change. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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