Paula's Reviews > The Lifeboat

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
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's review
Jun 11, 2012

really liked it

Charlotte Rogan is clearly a talented writer tackling a difficult subject: 39 people in a lifeboat in the middle of the ocean. Not a very broad canvas to work with but she accomplishes it admirably.

The story is told from the point of view of Grace Winters, a bride of two weeks on her way home from Europe to the US with her husband, Henry, on the luxury liner, Empress Alexandra. Early in the story, Grace is shown as a strong and determined woman, not willing to let her newly straitened circumstances dictate her fate. She has deliberately set out to meet, win and marry Henry Winters, a wealthy banker. Though she has clearly come to genuinely love her new husband, the reader nonetheless sees Grace as a cool and calculating woman. And these are the very characteristics that allow Grace to survive the ordeal of the lifeboat, the personalities of the other thirty nine survivors and the trial she is subjected to after rescue.

For me, the book misses five stars because at times it bogged down under the weight of such a limited scope and I found the philosophizing and law debate of the trial hard to get through. I couldn't help feeling this part of the story could have been told a bit more interestingly. The ending seemed a bit abrupt, as well in some ways.

Nonetheless, I can recommend this book to anyone who doesn't need sugary female characters and who can read the realistic accounts of the deprivations and trials of being in a lifeboat for three weeks. It is a first novel; we can hope that Ms. Rogan will keep writing and that her next novel will show her growth and progression as an author.

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