Uwe Hook's Reviews > The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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's review
Jul 11, 12

Read in July, 2012

This story is not about some hiccup in a three-hour tour. This is closer to “The Lord of the Flies.” The result is a delicious evil fun wrapped in think-y moments. You’re going to have to dust off your most sinister chuckle while you blow through it.

It’s the late 1910s and the Empress Alexandra is headed to America when there is a fire on board and the ship sinks. Some of the passengers escape onto lifeboats, including the lovely Grace Winter, whose back story becomes increasingly more complicated as the story goes on. The gist: She was on the ship with her new husband who is (was?) ridiculously wealthy. They still have to tell his mother -- and his former fiance -- that they’ve wed. Their time aboard the ship had been lovely, but included some curious moments between her husband and business contacts and unexplained alliances. As the ship sank, she was tossed into a lifeboat at the last second, also under unusual circumstances. Now here she is with 38 other survivors orbiting the area where the boat sank and waiting for rescue.

Like any novel where most of it happens on the ocean, there are big metaphors in play. And lots of morality and mortality questions come into play. Rogan handles the unraveling of civilized behavior in a super subtle way.

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