Megan Readinginthesunshine's Reviews > The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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's review
Jan 01, 2013

it was amazing
Read from January 01 to 02, 2013

The cover is breathtaking, I must have stared at it for ages before actually opening the book. Another thing I quite liked about the cover is that it hinted at what the story would be about, and the cover gave out so many emotions with it: eeriness, loneliness struggle – and this just added to my eagerness to read it.

Set at the start of the First World War, he story opens with 22 year old Grace Winters having lunch with her lawyers, we quickly learn that she is currently standing trial for events that happened during three weeks in a lifeboat after the Empress Alexandra, a liner on the way from Europe to New York, sinks in the middle of the ocean. The lawyers encourage Grace to write a diary of what went on during those weeks out at sea, and what follows next is Grace’s account of her time in the lifeboat.

Wow. That is how I would sum up this book – Wow! This is one of the most thought-provoking books I have read this year, and it is fascinating! From Grace’s first words, all the way through until the very end, I was gripped. I could not put this book down, and even when I had to stop reading to cook the dinner my mind was buzzing with so many questions! Would they be rescued shortly after? With 39 people in one tiny boat, what would happen? Would there be disagreements? Mutiny? What would they do for food? Would all of them get out alive? Or would a few be lost along the way?

This book would be PERFECT for book clubs, reading groups, reading with your friends, because as soon as you have finished the book you will definitely want someone to discuss it with! There are so many parts where opinions will be divided or scenes that are so thought-provoking and trust me, you will need to talk to someone about this book!

I particularly loved that the book was written in a diary form, it made me feel so much more involved with what was happening. It reminded me very much of Celia Rees “Witch Child”, which is also written in a diary style (and if you haven’t read it then I really would recommend that also!). The writing style really helped me connect emotionally with Grace, I felt I understood her better as I had an insight into her personal thoughts and feelings, and I must admit I liked her from the start. Even throughout the story, there are a few moments where perhaps Grace’s choices and motives could be questioned, but even so I liked her for who she was. To me, she represented a real woman in a real situation who was trying to make the best of what she had, and overall, she just wanted to survive.

The characters are really what makes this book so fantastic. The story is literally set within the lifeboat for most of the book, but don’t let that put you off at all! The characters more than make up for it, as we learn about each characters actions and words through Grace’s account, leaving us as readers to work out what their motives are and whether or not we should trust them. I won’t name any so not to give away any of my own personal thoughts about them, as when you read the book you will come up with your own opinions. There are some very strong characters in the boat, and it quickly becomes apparent who the weaker people are, and it is riveting to read Grace’s tale of the scenes being played out between the characters, what happens when there are disagreements, what alliances may be forming and what hidden agendas and motives some of them may have.

The Lifeboat is a complex and gripping story about what lengths a group of people will go to when they are fighting for survival. It is thought-provoking – throughout the book I was constantly contemplating what I would be doing or how would I be acting if I was in their shoes and desperately needed to survive. The Lifeboat is intense, it is truly terrifying and it will have you on the edge of your seat desperate to know who, if any, make it out alive. This is definitely one of my favourite books that I have read this year, I cannot fault a single piece of the book. A brilliantly written book, and I can not wait for Charlotte Rogan’s future releases!
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01/01/2013 page 260

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