Category Archives: Sourcebooks Landmark

Review: The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb

Title: The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb
A Novel of Ellis Island
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Length: 436 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


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.


Based on real life events, The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb is an engrossing historical novel that exposes the darker side of Ellis Island.

In 1902, Francesca Ricci and her sister are bound for America and a brighter future. Their journey is harrowing as they endure unimaginable conditions in the depths of the ship. Francesca escapes the illnesses that plague the immigrants but her sister is very sick when they finally arrive at Ellis Island. Francesca is desperate to remain in America and she will do whatever it takes to make that happen.

Alma Brauer begins working at Ellis Island the same day as the Ricci’s arrive. She is quiet and introspective so she is easily overwhelmed by the sheer number of people she must deal with every day. Alma’s beliefs about immigrants grow and evolve as she helps translate for some of the new arrivals. She is also shocked by the corruption she witnesses but at the urging of others, Alma does not report these deplorable actions.

The two young women strike up an endearing friendship as Alma and her brother Fritz help Francesca settle into her new life in New York. As Ellis Island undergoes close scrutiny to root out corruption, Alma despairs when her parents’ set in motion a plan for her future.  Unbeknownst to her, her way out of an untenable agreement rests on Francesca’s shoulders.

The Next Ship Home is a captivating historical novel that shines a much-needed light on the horrendous treatment of immigrants when they are most vulnerable. Francesca and Alma’s experiences reveal how powerless and vulnerable women are during the time period. The corruption and exploitation of immigrants at Ellis Island is appalling as is the wide-spread prejudice and misconceptions about the people searching for a better life. Heather Webb brings this meticulously researched and well-written novel to a heartfelt and uplifting conclusion.

Comments Off on Review: The Next Ship Home by Heather Webb

Filed under Fiction, Heather Webb, Historical, Rated B+, Sourcebooks Landmark, The Last Ship Home

Review: The Last Sailor by Sarah Anne Johnson

Title: The Last Sailor by Sarah Anne Johnson
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Length: 280 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the author of The Lightkeeper’s Wife comes a poignant and powerful historical novel about grief, redemption, and brotherhood set on the shores of Cape Cod.

Cape Cod, 1898: All that Nathaniel Boyd wants is to be left alone. His hopes of marriage died years ago, not long after the storms and the seas and the sails took away his youngest brother. He’d rather be in the marshes of Cape Cod, with their predictable rhythms and no emotion. The Cape doesn’t blame him for the accident.

The other Boyd brother, Finn, dives headlong into his fish trading company, trying to prove something to himself. When their father asks the brothers to sail a schooner down from Boston to their harbor village, he didn’t expect them to bring back a young girl fleeing her home, much less a girl who slips off the boat and nearly drowns. The Boyd men take Rachel to the nearest home to the harbor—that of Nathaniel’s first love, Meredith.

As Rachel’s recovery brings Nathaniel back into Meredith’s world, nothing will be the same. And when their father dies and upends the world as they know it, Finn spins into a violent rage. Nathaniel will be forced to sail his own ship, taking command of his family and of his future.

For fans of Sold on a Monday by Kristina McMorris and Lost Boy Found by Kirsten Alexander, The Last Sailor is the painful, but hopeful story of two boys scarred by the loss of their brother, and the men they know they must become.


The Last Sailor by Sarah Anne Johnson is a heartfelt historical novel of family, healing and love.

Nathaniel Boyd Sr. has high expectations of his sons Nathaniel and Phinneas “Finn”.  Ten years ago, the death of his youngest son, Jacob, devastated their family.  In the intervening years, Nathaniel Sr. has become even more successful in business but his relationships with Nathaniel and Finn are strained.  He continues to hold out hope Nathaniel will finally take up the reins of his businesses. At the same time, Nathaniel Sr. continues to dismiss Finn’s requests to help him begin a new business. After convincing his sons travel to Boston and sail back in an associate’s schooner, all of their lives take startling turns.

Nathaniel retreated after Jacob’s death. He broke off his engagement to his childhood sweetheart Meredith. He then moved onto the marsh and spends most of his time by himself. Nathaniel is content to earn enough money to live on and he sells fish to Finn. His relationship with Finn is strained and their only interactions take place at Finn’s fish shop. Nathaniel rarely sees his father due to the pressure to return home and join Nathaniel Sr.’s businesses.   He reluctantly agrees to accompany Finn to Boston and he is very uneasy when his brother agrees to bring a stranger on board the schooner.

Finn is married with three young children.  His marriage is faltering under the stress of his long hours at work. He is constantly trying to prove himself to his father and he is resentful of his dad’s refusal to help him with his dream of owning a fishing fleet. Everything becomes even more complicated after Finn takes on seventeen year old Rachel as a passenger on the schooner he and Nathaniel are sailing home.

Rachel is eager to start a new life after escaping from her miserable home with her father.  She is enjoying her journey on the schooner when the trip takes a decidedly dangerous turn. Safely rescued but injured,  Rachel is nursed back to health by Meredith.  During her recovery, she delights in spending time with Meredith and Nathaniel, whose love has not waned during their years apart. After leaving Meredith’s house, Rachel tires of Finn’s refusal to return her property. Rachel’s final altercation with him is just the beginning of his rage-filled and increasingly violent attacks on those around him.

The Last Sailor is a family drama that is quite engrossing. The characters are well-developed with all too human frailties. The setting is richly detailed and springs vibrantly to life. The storyline is engaging and flows at an even pace. With a few unanticipated twists and turns, Sarah Anne Johnson brings this deeply affecting historical novel to a very satisfying conclusion.

Comments Off on Review: The Last Sailor by Sarah Anne Johnson

Filed under Fiction, Historical, Rated B, Review, Sarah Anne Johnson, Sourcebooks Landmark, The Last Sailor

Review: The Second Mother by Jennifer Milchman

Title: The Second Mother by Jenny Milchman
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 454 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Opportunity: Teacher needed in one-room schoolhouse on remote island in Maine. Find the freedom in a fresh start.

Julie Weathers isn’t sure if she’s running away or starting over, but moving to a remote island off the coast of Maine feels right for someone with reasons to flee her old life. The sun-washed, sea-stormed speck of land seems welcoming, the lobster plentiful, and the community close and tightly knit. She finds friends in her nearest neighbor and Callum, a man who appears to be using the island for the same thing as she: escape.

But as Julie takes on the challenge of teaching the island’s children, she comes to suspect that she may have traded one place shrouded in trouble for another, and she begins to wonder if the greatest danger on Mercy Island is its lost location far out to sea, or the people who live there.


The Second Mother by Jenny Milchman is an atmospheric mystery.

Needing a fresh start, Julie Weathers accepts a teaching position on Mercy Island. The isolated island off the coast of Maine is home to the Hempstead family who rules the town with an iron first. Lobstering is a way of life for most of the men but tourist season adds plenty of money to the coffers.

Julie adjusts fairly quickly despite the unnerving fog. Her first night in her home is somewhat eerie but she pushes her unease aside. The next day she meets one of her students, eleven year old Peter Meyers, and his mother Martha Hempstead Meyers. Julie has concerns about the young boy that only increase the more she gets to know him. His grandmother, Maryanne, does not want to discuss her grandson so Julie turns to friend Ellie Newcomb and lobsterman Callum McCarthy for help. Julie soon comes to discover not everything is as it seems, but can she do anything to help those in need?

Julie is determined to begin a new life but she struggles to give up some of her old coping mechanisms.  She eagerly begins teaching and she begins to feel more secure and sure of herself. She has also discussed some of the most painful aspects of her past and Julie is beginning to heal.  She is still worried about Peter but she is also conflicted about him. Neither his mother nor his controlling grandmother are much help, so she asks Callum to join her in her quest for answers.

The secondary characters are interesting and fairly well developed. Ellie is friendly but she might not be the best person for Julie to spend time with under the circumstances. Callum is gruff but caring. Maryanne is harsh and unbending. Peter is a bit of a conundrum but Julie trusts her instincts. Martha is standoffish even with Peter but Julie knows the small family have been through a rough year.

The Second Mother is a mesmerizing mystery. The ever changing weather provides an ominous overtone. The storyline is intriguing but the pacing is a little uneven. Jenny Milchman brings this clever mystery to a dramatic yet satisfying conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this fantastic mystery to readers of the genre.

Comments Off on Review: The Second Mother by Jennifer Milchman

Filed under Contemporary, Jenny Milchman, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Sourcebooks Landmark, Suspense, The Second Mother

Review: The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa

Title: The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Good girls keep quiet. But quiet girls can’t stay silent forever—and the consequences are sure to make some noise.

When Alex arrives in Provincetown to patch things up with his new wife, Mina, he finds an empty wine glass in the sink, her wedding ring on the desk, and a string of questions in her wake. The police believe that Mina, a successful romance author, simply left, their marriage crumbling before it truly began.

But what Alex finds in their empty cottage points him toward a different reality: Mina has always carried a secret. And now she’s disappeared.

In his hunt for the truth, Alex comes across Layla, a young woman with information to share, who may hold the key to everything his wife has kept hidden. A strange, quiet girl whose missing memories may break them all.

To find his missing wife, Alex must face what Layla has forgotten. And the consequences are anything but quiet.

In her debut thriller, S.F. Kosa presents a tightly-woven book sure to inspire questions about trauma, memory, and how well we ever know the people we love.


The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa is a perplexing mystery that is also quite affecting.

Alex Zarabian and popular romance author Mina Richards married after a whirlwind romance.  Mina can be a bit moody so when she leaves for her cottage in Provincetown after a disagreement, Alex tries to give her space. But anxious to work things out between them, he decides to surprise her and heads to her Provincetown. But Mina is nowhere to be found and Alex fears the worst for their marriage when he discovers she left her wedding and engagement rings behind. Desperate to locate his missing wife, Alex is frustrated by the police department’s slow reaction so he takes matters into his own hands. While searching for more information about Mina, he soon learns there is a lot he does not know about his wife. Will Alex uncover the truth about what happened to Mina in the past and present?

Alex is juggling searching for his wife with a work issue that has a deadline.  He is soon immersed in his search for Mina and he is dismayed that none of Mina’s neighbors are certain when they last saw her. Although she does not have much of a relationship with her parents, Alex decides to see if his in-laws know anything about her whereabouts.  He is shocked to find out she visited them earlier in the week. By all appearances, this might be the last time she has been seen.  Becoming more worried as time passes with no word, Alex hopes the police will locate her.  Their response is initially discouraging, so Alex continues his own investigation.  He gets a break when he is contacted by someone from her publisher and what he learns turns everything Alex knows about Mina completely upside down.

A secondary story arc involves a young woman named Layla who is a little vague and is hesitant to reveal anything about herself. She is working at a local restaurant where a bartender is helping her out. After an uncomfortable encounter with a customer, Layla’s reaction culminates in a shocking discovery.

The Quiet Girl is an intriguing mystery with a unique storyline.  Until about the halfway point, the pacing is slow as Alex’s search for Mina does not gain much traction. And at first, the story arc with Layla is a bit confusing.  With unpredictable twists and stunning turns,  S.F. Kosa brings this suspenseful mystery to a chilling and bittersweet conclusion.  Fans of the genre will enjoy this clever mystery.

Comments Off on Review: The Quiet Girl by S.F. Kosa

Filed under Contemporary, Mystery, Rated B, Review, SF Sosa, Sourcebooks Landmark, Suspense, The Quiet Girl

Review: The Silence by Luca Veste

Title: The Silence by Luca Veste
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 400 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the author of The Bone Keeper comes another sinister tale of secrets, revenge, and a killer lurking near

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

We killed a stranger and covered it up.

In the middle of the night, someone died.

We didn’t know our victim was a serial killer.

The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried.

But now the pact has been broken.

We don’t think he was working alone.

And the killing has started again …


The Silence by Luca Veste is a suspenseful mystery.

Matt Connolly and his partner, Alexandra Thompson, join their long time friends Chris and Nicola and Stuart and Michelle for a weekend music festival in the country. After a fun-filled weekend, Matt awakens to screams and going to investigate, he finds Stuart locked in a fight with a stranger. As the rest of their friends join them, they do everything in their power to save Stuart. Unfortunately, they kill the  stranger in the process and after much discussion, they decide to cover up the death.

A year later, their lives and friendships are forever altered. When one of their friends dies, Matt is wracked with guilt and decides to look deeper into what happened that weekend.  He also takes an  in-depth look into the much rumored serial killer dubbed the Candle Man.  Although the police dismiss the Candle Man, Matt becomes certain the speculation is true. And he is also convinced the Candle Man (or perhaps his partner) is targeting him and his friends. Will Matt uncover the truth about the Candle Man before he (or one of his friends) becomes the serial killer’s next victim?

Matt’s circumstances have changed the most and he is now only in contact with his best friend Chris. Matt works from home which is very fortunate since he can barely bring himself to leave the house. Always looking over his shoulder and compulsively checking the locks on the windows and doors, he can barely bring himself to attend his mate’s funeral.  Afterwards, he is very concerned for Michelle’s safety and Matt tries to convince him to stay with him or a family member.

Matt fights through his fears and begins to search in earnest for information on the Candle Man.  Armed with new details and completely certain the Candle Man is not a myth, he heads back to where their troubles began one year earlier.  With a suspect in mind, he becomes even more frightened for his and his friends safety.  Desperate to stop the Candle Man, Matt recklessly continues his investigation in spite of the increasing danger.  Will Matt find the serial killer before it is too late?

The Silence is an engrossing mystery with an intriguing premise and engaging characters. The storyline is interesting and unfolds at a steady pace. Narrator Matt’s fear and anxiety are palpable as he frantically tries to unmask the Candle Man. With a shocking plot twist,  Luca Veste brings this mesmerizing mystery to a breathless conclusion.  Fans of the genre will enjoy this clever mystery.

Comments Off on Review: The Silence by Luca Veste

Filed under Contemporary, Luca Veste, Mystery, Rated B, Review, Sourcebooks Landmark, Suspense, The Silence

Review: Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor

Title: Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Do we ever really know the ones we love?

Reclusive Clare Collins crafts her novels like she crafts her life: perfectly. So the world is stunned when the famous author is found dead on a beach from a self-inflicted gunshot—the morning after her latest book hits the shelves.

Her sister, Eileen, is at a loss. Clare led a charmed life: success, mansions, money… Why would she throw it all away? But while reading through her sister’s latest—and greatest—novel, Eileen discovers a clue that unravels the fiction and reveals the painful truth. Suddenly, the life that Eileen had envied doesn’t seem so sparkling…

Her Perfect Life is a page-turning debut that reminds us that no matter the success, everyone has secrets. And some are more devastating than others.


Her Perfect Life is a compelling novel by Rebecca Taylor.

Eileen Greyden is dealing with problems at home when she learns her sister, best-selling author Clare Collins has died. At her brother-in-law Simon Reamer’s request, Eileen travels to San Francisco to help with the funeral.  Reeling after a stunning personal discovery, she is further upset to discover Clare committed suicide. With Simon lacking understanding for his wife’s decision, Eileen combs through her sister’s journals in hopes of finding an answer for an inexplicable act. And at the same time, she also needs to makes decisions about her own life.

Eileen is beyond frustrated with husband Eric’s lack of help with their three children and household chores. She is hard on herself about her self-perceived failings. Shocked by Clare’s death, she has many regrets about feeling jealous of her sister’s success and how far they have drifted apart.

Avoiding talking to Eric after she arrives in San Francisco, Eileen learns unexpected information about her sister’s life as far back as their childhood in Wyoming. Simon offers invaluable insight that helps both of them begin to piece together the puzzle of her sister’s suicide. But it is not until Eileen talks to her Alzheimer’s stricken mother that she truly understands the most likely reason for Clare’s decision.

Returning home, Eileen must decide what to do about the information she discovered the day she went to San Francisco. The children are thrilled to see her and they, of course, weigh heavily as she mulls over her options. Still uncertain, Eileen’s future remains in the balance as she faces the toughest choice she has ever had to make.

Weaving back and forth in time, Her Perfect Life is a multi-layered novel with complex characters.  The chapter and perspective switches are seamless and easy to follow. Chapters from Clare’s point of view span twenty years and detail her life before she leaves Wyoming. Events from Eileen’s perspective take place in the present. Rebecca Taylor brings this fast-paced and engaging novel to a slightly predictable but completely satisfying conclusion.

I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this well-written novel to readers of the genre.

Comments Off on Review: Her Perfect Life by Rebecca Taylor

Filed under Contemporary, Her Perfect Life, Rated B+, Rebecca Taylor, Review, Sourcebooks Landmark, Women's Fiction