The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Title: The Lifeboat, Author: Charlotte RoganThe Lifeboat. Finished 9-5-16, rating 4/5, fiction, 278 pages, pub. 2012

Unabridged audio read by Rebecca Gibel. 7 hours, 47 minutes

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 Grace 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 has exceeded 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?

Grace and 39 other passengers are adrift in the Atlantic with no way of knowing when or if they will be rescued. A ship’s crewman takes charge and they all, seemingly, appreciate the leadership. As the days go by, however, there is mutiny in the hearts of some and desperation in others.  Grace tries to stay under the radar but cover her bases.  Is she innocent or conniving?

The story begins with Grace and two other women on trial for murder, so we know they were rescued, but we know people were killed.  What happened?  Grace is asked to write a journal of her experience for her defense  and it’s through this diary that the time on the lifeboat unfolds. Grace is mysterious in ways that her journal only highlights.  Readers will have fun discussing her.

Prepare to see the worst and, well, mainly the worst that human nature has to offer. If we strip ourselves down to a struggle for survival (water, food, shelter) what would happen?  What if our survival, for better or worse, was tied to a group of strangers?  A compelling read, for sure.

This was my fifth book for my 30 books in 30 days challenge. You can read about today here.


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