Gina's Reviews > The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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Goodreads Description- 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, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she'd found. Will she pay any price to keep it?

The Lifeboat is a page-turning novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.

This book had a fresh approach to a very tough story. The question. How do you survive at sea, in an overfilled lifeboat, after the ship you are on to start a new life in America, with your new husband, blows up? The answers aren't pretty and could minimally land, the newly widowed, Grace in jail for the rest of her life, if she is lucky.

I truly enjoyed this story and the examination of the human psyche, which to be quite honest, was sometimes quite upsetting. The book did start off slow but it soon began to take off. The characterization the writer used to allow the reader to see "the weak" and "the strong" while under great stress is a testament to her brilliant writing ability and her ability to describe the baser elements of being a human.

However, once the survivors were rescued, I think the author erred in trying to end the book too neatly. The entire time that the characters spent on the lifeboat was dark, ugly, and base and the ending was just to happy. It didn't seem to match the mood of the rest of the novel. I think the author should have taken a risk and wrote an ending more true to life which in my humble opinion is that no one could possibly understand what the lifeboat's survivors had gone through. No one could understand the choices they had to make or the emotional and physical exhaustion that led to these decisions. The inablity to understand what these women did, I think, would ultimately have led to a much harsher judgement by those who had not lived through the experience.

This book is quite a read and is quite short, but the story held within it's 260 something pages is an insightful exploration of being human and what decisions humans can and will make under great duress facing life and death. 4 stars!
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08/11/2012 page 55
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Barb So nice to read a positive review of this one for a change :) It's been on my TBR list since I first heard about it, but most of the comments I've heard have been not so great. I'm still determined to read it, though, and now you've given me a bit more hope about it LOL

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