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The Lifeboat

3.19 of 5 stars 3.19  ·  rating details  ·  16,497 ratings  ·  2,946 reviews
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.
In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must di
Paperback, 279 pages
Published March 29th 2012 by Virago (first published 2012)
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Linda I thought there were alot of unanswered questions as well - questionable dealings with her husband, Blatt and Hardie. And it seemed as if she was…moreI thought there were alot of unanswered questions as well - questionable dealings with her husband, Blatt and Hardie. And it seemed as if she was pushed by Mrs. Grant to act against Hardie and yet that never came up at the trial? I couldn't give this book more than a 3 - while it was interesting and kept my attention, in the end it left way too many questions unanswered.(less)
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the atlantic ocean.
39 people.
one lifeboat.

where people stop being polite and start being real.

oh, yeah...

i loved this book.
it has all the elements of a good survival story with all the furnishings of a well-written mystery novel. alliances will form, motives will be shrouded, lies and misdirection will win the day, and exposure and deprivation will make even the well-intentioned people a little loopy and unreliable.

it is a great idea for a novel, and rogan writes it well. the framing devi
I had such high hopes for this book as it sounded like such a good plot for a story. This book is about 39 people adrift in the ocean in a lifeboat after a mysterious explosion on their ocean liner (think sinking of the Titanic). Grace Winter, newly wedded and now a widow, is one of those on a tiny lifeboat not fit for 39 people. How do 39 people survive together with different points of view, little water and even less food?

This was really difficult for me to get through, but I plowed my way th
I read the book very quickly and enjoyed it as I read it, and then I got to the end and I thought, huh. Just..huh. It left me with no other thought except a certain neutral feeling that I was glad that was over and I could read the next book.

So is it enough for a book to be entertaining while you read it, and then forgettable? I guess that should be enough, only this was ground that has been covered better before, by Alfred Hitchcock. But where Alfred Hitchcock's film is visceral and tense, in t
Jul 16, 2014 Arah-Lynda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arah-Lynda by: karen
Shelves: i-said, lets-get-real
To set the stage; it is 1914 and 39 people, including our narrator Grace, are adrift in the Atlantic, in a life boat that was not designed to hold so many. Their provisions are scant and the possibility of imminent rescue is at best uncertain; but for the reader this story actually begins some time later when Grace our narrator, is about to stand trial for her life.

In preparation for this Grace must recall as much as possible about what happened on that lifeboat and when.

What follows is a capt
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: 3.875* of five

The Book Report: The book description says:
“Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Gra
Set in 1914 at the beginning of the First World War, after the sinking of the Empress Alexandra a group of 39 people are left adrift in a lifeboat, built to hold far less, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean for 21 days. This tale is told retrospectively from the point of view of Grace Winter, a 22 year old newlywed, who manages to find a place on a lifeboat. But the lifeboat she's found herself on is overloaded and in danger of sinking, there isn't enough food and water for everyone on board, s ...more
Wanted to throw myself overboard by chapter three...rather than read any more. But I did. It was hell.

The idea is great: rags to riches governess is in a Lusitania type sinking in an overfilled boat.

Everything's there...but it is as tedious as being stuck on that boat.

Rogan writes well, above average in many ways, but in the all fashionable first person which all publishers now seem to like. Even then, we don't engage with the main character and if you can't nab us in the first person..well...

I re-read The Lifeboat in January this year as it was chosen for my book club. I had initially read it for the first time in 2012. I really loved it the first time around and enjoyed it just as much the second time. It got very mixed reviews at my book club and I don’t think everyone was as eager as I was about it!

I loved the fact that Grace Winter was an unreliable narrator; therefore we couldn’t believe the majority of what she told us readers. I came to the conclusion that she was an extreme
Holly Weiss
Article originally published on

Survival in a lifeboat may sound like a simple plot line, but it astounds in the hands of debut novelist, Charlotte Rogan. In The Lifeboat Grace Winter, age 22, sails from Europe to America with her new husband in order to meet her mother-in-law. After an explosion on luxury liner, the Empress Alexandra, Grace’s husband Henry secures her a place on a lifeboat. She survives three weeks in the overcrowded boat. Upon rescue, she finds herself on tr
Simon Howard
I was really attracted to the idea of this book: 39 passengers on a lifeboat struggling for survival, making tough choices, and operating within a tricky ethical and moral framework.

But, for me, the book didn't live up to its promise. The characters were poorly developed - I simply didn't care about them. The single first-person narrative structure lessened the reader's ability to interpret the situation from multiple points of view - and the narrator is a dull, reasonably submissive, self-cent
Clear the decks and call in sick; once you begin reading this riveting this debut book, it's going to be hard to come up for air.

The narrator, aptly named Grace, appears on the first pages and right away, we know a few important plot points. We know that Grace survived on a lifeboat after her ship - like the Titanic two years prior - goes down. We also know that she is now on trial for a murder that took place during the ensuing ordeal. But here's what we don't know: how reliable is Grace as the
The Empress Alexander has sunk and some of the passengers escaped on lifeboats. That is where we begin this story, in the lifeboat and on the first day. Grace, the protagonist, made it onto a lifeboat and we see the events and the people through her eyes. In some ways it is a literal recounting of the 21 days on the lifeboat as Grace is writing journal entries to remember each day and event as she sits in a jail cell in Boston. The crime is not currently clear but will be explained, day by day, ...more
Gary  the Bookworm
May 04, 2013 Gary the Bookworm rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Landlubbers
Recommended to Gary by: My beloved book club
Photobucket Pictures, Images and PhotosI'm not a big fan of boats: I've only been on one cruise (not counting annual booze cruises in Aruba). I have, however, read two unforgettable yarns set in lifeboats in the past few months. The first one was Unbroken which I read and liked earlier this year and now this one. It is a remarkable achievement. The story unfolds during a trans-Atlantic voyage a few days after those fateful shots were fired in Sarajevo in 1914. Henry and Grace, newlyweds, are separated during the chaotic moments afte ...more
Today, and this month marks the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. The Titanic went down historically on April 12th, 1912. On that note, The Lifeboat is being published this month. I was sent a copy by Penguin. I started to read it 2 days ago.

Wow, The Lifeboat blew me away with its narrative. The Lifeboat is literary, but it is also filled with mystery, and suspense. After the Titanic went down, did you ever wonder what it was like on the lifeboats for them? Did you re-call if you saw the movie,
I vacillated back and forth with whether to give this three stars, because the story sort of faltered a bit the last 60 pages or so, or four stars because the writing was really quite brilliant. In the end, I settle on four because a debut novel this well written deserves a star bump.
The narration of the ships accident and subsequent lifeboat ordeal was very compelling. There are some mystery/intrigue/suspense type "teasers" that didn't really pan out, I don't think. And, I'm not really sure I
Katie Ward
If you read this book, remember to breathe. Several times my eye zipped all the way down to the end of a chapter, or jumped back over several details in the previous paragraph, before I took in oxygen again. Book Apnoea, I’ve decided to call it.
The premise is simple: 39 people are in a lifeboat. That’s practically everything you need to know, except even the most casual reviewer should supply a bit more. It’s set in the year 1914 somewhere in the Atlantic. It’s told retrospectively from the poin
Elizabeth La Lettrice
May 22, 2012 Elizabeth La Lettrice rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth La Lettrice by: karen brissette
Oh poo. I had a quote marked in my book that I wanted to base my review off of but my book is at home. And I am at work. Not working. Too late to turn back now.

I had high expectations for this book. Here's the general idea of the story I had in mind when I decided to read it: Three woman are on trial for murder after being stuck on a lifeboat for days when their ship sank on a journey across the Atlantic.

Here's what I expected: psychological intrigue - [39] strangers picked to [survive in a boa
In the summer of 1914 the Empress Alexandra sinks; this elegant ocean liner suffers from a mysterious explosion and all the passengers scramble for safety. Henry Winters managers to secure a place on a lifeboat for his new bride Grace but when the people on the lifeboat soon realise they are over capacity the real struggle for survival begins.

The Lifeboat is an elegant and thrilling novel with many complex issues weaved into it. For any to live, some must die but the hard choice of survival can
Warning: This book is highly disruptive to one's daily routine.

I just couldn't stop reading it, despite the fact that I've exams going on! I had to know what happens to Grace, who is an unforgettable character and the narrator of the book. Grace is not exactly likable nor is she particularly trustworthy - there are many times I doubted the credibility of her words. But she is a character who remained with me, along with Mrs. Grant and Hannah.

This book has something for everyone. It is scary, su
While I thought the story was good and the writing was crisp, I did not think this book lived up to its premise. I did enjoy the one person account of what life or death was like marooned on a lifeboat with a man in charge who acted like a dictator, while a very strong woman wrested from him the control of the boat.

One can't possibly imagine what life is like when all you see is ocean and all you think of is your survival. There is much to be said about the human will to survive and even under t
Reread 11/10/13 for library bookgroup. (First read 6/24/12) 3.5 stars.

The Lifeboat is a story of survival for Grace Winter in more than one way. First, she arranges to meet Henry Winter, a wealthy man, after her family's income is gone. There were not very many options available to women in the early 20th Century. Then, traveling back from London to New York after their elopement, their boat explodes and Henry arranges for a place for Grace in a lifeboat.

Grace and the other passengers on the ove
Gayle H. Swift
After indulging my need for a lazy day, I finished one book and immediately picked up the next one on my list: "The Lifeboat." It grabbed me from page one and kept me turning pages until, bleary-eyed, I finished it at 11:30 p.m. One thought compelled me to keep reading: How would I behave under similar circumstances?

This book raises difficult issues. When, if ever, is it appropriate to commit an evil act to save others? When is inaction the greater evil than violent action? How clear and presen
May 29, 2012 Betsy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Nice to read a page-turner for a change. I was originally drawn to this novel because it was a first novel by a woman in her 50s! (Gives one hope.) The story - about a group of people stranded in a lifeboat bobbing along in the ocean after fleeing a burning luxury liner (a few years after The Titanic)- wasn't initially something I thought I'd enjoy. Too claustrophobic, too small and tight a world. But the writer, who is an architect by training, knows how to build a plot and characters and theme ...more
Connie (Ava Catherine)
This book made me think about what I would do if I ever found myself in a survival situation. Would I remain calm and act in a moral and ethical manner, or would I become someone I do not know? Someone ruthless and only concerned for my survival? How can I truly know the answer until I am confronted with the dilemma like the people on the lifeboat? I can only hope that I know myself to my core...but do we ever really know?
What would you do to live?
In the late 19th century a large number of shipwrecks led to tales of atrocities committed by those who survived; many were put on trial under charges of murder and cannibalism. Charlotte Rogan recalls these accounts and marries them with the early 20th century ocean liner disasters of the Titanic and Lusitania to create a harrowing exposition of human behavior.

In 1914, en route from Britain to American, an ocean liner capsizes after a mysterious on-board explosion. Several life boats are fille
I need a half star , here. Grace, the unreliable narrator tells the entire story of her weeks adrift in a overloaded ,,under supplied life boat. She also describes the marriage trap she sets for the affianced and unknowing , Henry.
The Life Boat, strains under the weight of a few men and many women. The violent ocean, the scorching sun, the eternal wind and the jockeying for control all contribute to the descent of the "survivors". The days on board were chronicled with great diligence.
The novel
I was hestitant to read this for quite the funny reason. Back when I was a newlywed I took a communications class so I could be at school with my husband when he was taking night classes. In the communications class we did one of those what if scenarios where we had a lifeboat with room for 8 people but we had 11 people (or something like that). We had to decide which people to 'allow' to survive by keeping the people who we thought would make the most positive and useful contributions. I have h ...more
At first I was going to give this 3 stars, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it was just okay. The concept for this book was just so great, and the execution was rather a let down. For one thing, I just didn't like any of the characters that much, including Grace. One should at least feel something for the narrator, right? I also thought that considering they spend 21 days in a lifeboat, there should be a bit more hardship going on. She mentions their hunger and gaunt faces al ...more
Jun 29, 2012 Carol rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Jill, IL
Shelves: fiction, debut
Lifeboat snapped me to attention with its opening line delivered in the prologue "Today I shocked the lawyers, and it surprised me, the effect I could have on them." A first line might not make or break a book but it can set the tone and draw you in. This one tickled my curiosity to read on and find out the who, what and why.

This is the perfect book to coincide with the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. If you've ever wondered what it might be like to be forced to abandon your co
I felt this book did not live up to its potential and I attribute this mainly to the poor writing involved with the main character, Grace. She was so horribly characterized that she came off as a sort of bland sociopath who didn't care for or about others beyond serving her own purposes, but also a wasn't willing to act on her coldness, making for a quite boring book in my honest opinion. The author did try very hard to make Grace appear completely ambivalent in regards to all situations that re ...more
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Charlotte Rogan graduated from Princeton University in 1975. She worked at various jobs, mostly in the fields of architecture and engineering, before teaching herself to write and staying home to bring up triplets. Her childhood experiences among a family of sailors and the discovery of an old criminal law text provided inspiration for The Lifeboat, her first novel. After many years in Dallas and ...more
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“I wondered if all a person could hope for was illusion and luck, for I was forced to conclude that the world was fundamentally and appallingly dangerous. It is a lesson I will never forget.” 3 likes
“I had been allowed to believe in man's innate goodness for the twenty-two years of my life, and I had hoped to carry the belief with me to my grave. I wanted to think that all people could have what they wanted, that there was no inherent conflict between competing interests, and that, if tragedies had to happen, they were not something mere human beings could control.” 3 likes
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