The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Hello, friends, it only took a short week for me to start feeling better! I’m very glad not to be away longer because I did miss blogging and being part of the community of readers I so treasure. Thanks for being understanding and kind during my little break!  I didn’t go to the doctor because I am pretty sure that my generally poor diet and lack of exercise are the main culprits in my fatigue, therefore I decided to give up sugar to see if it helped with the lack of energy and it did! I haven’t had very much sugar this past week and I feel so much better. I even feel like I can muster up enough energy to start exercising. But enough about me….let’s talk about The Lifeboat.

Can you imagine being stuck on a small lifeboat with 30-some other people, all of them relative strangers, drifting in the ocean waiting for rescue after your ocean liner has blown up for no apparent reason? This is exactly the position that Grace Winter finds herself in in 1914 while traveling  with her new husband, Henry. As the lifeboat drifts along the passengers are directed by Mr. Hardie, a crew member whose strong leadership style and seafaring knowledge initially create trust among the group. However, factions soon begin to form when an older woman, Mrs. Grant, quietly influences many of the women on the boat to go against Mr. Hardie.  Most of the passengers are convinced that they can’t survive without some of them sacrificing themselves for the good of the group. The fear, anxiety and tension mount until a devastating decision changes the dynamics on the lifeboat for good.

The story is narrated by Grace who’s been commissioned by her lawyers (she’s on trial after what happens on the boat) to write an account of everything that happened during those harrowing three weeks. She is not a truly reliable narrator. The reader can feel that she tries to spin events to make herself look, not innocent, really, but more a victim of confusion. The psychological fallout from trying to survive is very well portrayed and so is the terrible human tendency to turn on each other when we face extinction.

I think this would be a great book for book clubs because the ending is ambiguous and I can see book club members having a heated and entertaining debate over what really happened on the lifeboat and whether Grace’s part is as neutral as she makes it out to be.

Though I enjoyed The Lifeboat, it won’t be remembered as one of the best of this year. The end was disappointing and it was just one of those books that left me flat when I closed it after reading the last page.

What did other bloggers think?

Books & Chocolate

Fleur Fisher

7 thoughts on “The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

  1. It’s great to see you back Anbolyn, and feeling so much better. Let’s face it, sugar just wouldn’t pass any of the restrictions which we have nowadays on things which are harmful to you and I’m sure it’s more addictive than crack cocaine! If I fall over a copy of The Lifeboat I’ll read it but I won’t seek it out – so many books to read!


    1. Thanks, Katrina, it’s good to be back! I was a hard-core sugar addict so it has been hard to kick the habit, but I feel so much better without it. I even ran up my stairs this morning – unheard of 2 weeks ago!


  2. I’ve seen several reviews of this, but I haven’t been inspired to add it to my reading list.

    I’m also happy to see you back – and admiring the new design. I love the stack of books at the top.


    1. It was an okay book, but not a keeper, in my opinion. The story was interestingly structured and the writing is good – it just lacked that certain something for me.
      I’m glad you like the design!


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