Louise's Reviews > The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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's review
Jul 06, 12

bookshelves: historical-fiction
Read in July, 2012

Story Description:

Little, Brown And Company|April 3, 2012|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-316-18590-5

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, in 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.

My Review:

The Lifeboat is a page-turning account of 21 days adrift in the Atlantic Ocean narrated by 22-year-old Grace Winter. The lifeboat is overloaded and some people are going to have to die, jumping overboard to their deaths to drown in the sea. Asking for volunteers there is utter silence so straws are drawn and those 3 who choose the shortest must go overboard. Who could feel right about playing God in this way?

The personalities of the men and women in the lifeboat are as different as night and day. There are those who are trouble makers, those who are afraid of their own shadow, those that feel ‘they’ must be in charge, and those that vacillate between the combination of learning to go with the flow so as not to be centered out by anyone.

The emotions that these poor people go through are horrendous to say the least and the lack of food and water doesn’t help but when your lips are swollen to twice their normal size, split open and bleeding and your tongue so dried out and swollen that it’s cracking and drinking the salty sea-water is not an option for it would only worsen their condition.

In the end, three of the woman, including the quiet narrator, Grace Winter, are on trial for murder. Having been forced to make a decision at sea brought them to the point of out and out murder, however what transpires in the courtroom will surprise you.

As a debut novel, this was well-written, well thought out and left you feeling hopeful that you yourself are never put in the same position as these people found themselves. Charlotte Rogan has written a compelling, page-turner that should not be missed.

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