Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat: A Novel by Charlotte Rogan 

Here’s the description from
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.

What a gem this book is!  It is short, but it is mighty.  And I owe it to my lovely coworker for once again recommending a fantastic book to me!

First and foremost, I just want to say that the writing is in a league all its own.  It is perfect.  I mean, reading this, you feel like you are there with Grace and the other lifeboat passengers.  The narrative is so poetic, yet also terrifying.  One thing so unique about this book is how Rogan was able to make the ocean into its own beautiful and terrifying character.  Yes, Grace is the main character.  Grace is narrating the story.  But I felt I knew the sea even better than I knew her.

The thing about this book is it really makes you think.  What would you do in the same situation?  Grace and two other lifeboat occupants are on trial for murder, but did they really commit murder?  One thing that kept creeping into my mind was: would I be able to speak against them if I was another lifeboat passenger?  Because everyone was so hungry and thirsty.  You are not yourself.  You do things you might not normally do.

This is one of those books that seems so quiet, but as your reading you are constantly thinking about it and the circumstances that lead to Grace being on trial.

I know I keep saying how beautiful it is, but really that’s the truth.  It’s not all sunshine and rainbows though.  What Grace and the other passengers go through is no walk in the park, and Grace has to discover who she truly is and what she’s really capable of.

I read recently that they are going to be making this into a movie.  Now that will be interesting if they can do it correctly and do the book justice!

Have you read The Lifeboat?  I would LOVE to hear that Charlotte Rogan is working on a new book, but I haven’t heard anything myself.  Have you??

Title: The Lifeboat
Author: Charlotte Rogan
Date of Publication: 2013
Number of Pages: 304
Genre: Fiction
Source: Borrowed from coworker/friend

About Kelly

Hi! My name’s Kelly. I’m a twenty-something gal from Buffalo, NY. Mom to a little dog named Peabody and a slightly evil cat named Archie. Engaged to the best dude ever. I love books and craft beer! I also love all things France and francophone and have a degree in French Language and Literature from Buffalo State College. My blog used to be called Kelly’s France Blog, but I finally decided it needed a change because I wasn’t posting about French things nearly as often as I used to! You can still see all my imported posts on A Book and a Beer, or you can visit my original blog at
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