by Charlotte Rogan
Why did you choose this book? I love the cover, and the title caught my eye during my ‘Titanic’ reading
When did you read this book? April 2012
Who should read this book? readers of historical fiction and possibly memoir lovers
Here is a synopsis of ‘The Lifeboat' from Goodreads, where it rates 3.63 stars.
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, 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.
I saw this book mentioned on another blog shortly before publication, and just before the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. The cover and title caught my eye. I knew it wasn’t about the Titanic, but still thought it sounded interesting.
The story starts when we meet Grace, a young widower and newlywed, who is on trial for murder. Grace has recently married a wealthy young man who was presumably lost at sea weeks after their wedding, when the ship they were on exploded and sank. Her attorney has asked her to journal about her weeks in the lifeboat in order to help him prepare for her trial.
Grace met Henry when he was engaged to another women, the daughter of his mother’s best friend. Grace is not from the same social strata as Henry and he kept his marriage to her a secret from his mother until Grace demands he send a wire from the ship. That was hours before the ship exploded. Grace has no idea what kind of reception she will get from her mother-in-law.
The book was a little bit of a disappointment to me. The largest portion of the book was spent on the journal and the time in the lifeboat. This covered some of the events aboard the ship prior to the explosion. Very little time was spent on the actual trial. I’m not sure what I expected in this book, but I would have liked to have more insight into Grace’s life after the trial; whether she met with her mother-in-law, etc. There is a bit of a hint given, but I would have liked to have known more. As much as I was disappointed in the book, many readers loved it, so if it looks interesting to you, give it a try. And I think it would make an excellent book club choice. There are many possible discussion points here; murder vs. self-defense, how far do you go to survive, would you sacrifice your life to save others. I think this is a book that gets better with a good discussion!
My Rating: ★★1/2 2-1/2 Stars
Counted for these challenges:
Support Your Local Library Challenge
Historical Fiction Challenge
New Author Challenge
Hear the author introduce ‘The Lifeboat’ here.