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.
Rogan does a magnificent job keeping the tension tight throughout the book and the sense of place is masterfully accomplished, bringing alive all five senses by way of sharp, well-honed descriptions. The Lifeboat is gripping, edge-of-your-seat fiction that forces the reader to examine his or her own true nature, begging the question, "What would you be willing to do in order to survive?" (Reviewed by Lisa Guidarini).
The Washington Post
Charlotte Rogan manages to distill this drama about what's right and wrong when the answer means life or death into a gripping, confident first novel… Other novels have examined the conscience and guilt of a survivor among the dead, but few tales are as thoughtful and compelling as this.
A complex and engrossing psychological drama.
Starred Review. The lifeboat becomes a compelling, if almost overly crafted, microcosm of a dangerous larger world in which only the strong survive.
Emma Donoghue, author of Room The Lifeboat traps the reader in a story that is exciting at the literal level and brutally moving at the existential: I read it in one go.
Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall
What a splendid book. ...I can't imagine any reader who looks at the opening pages wanting to put the book down. ...It's so refreshing to read a book that is ambitious and yet not tricksy, where the author seems to be in command of her material and really on top of her game. It's beautifully controlled and totally believable.
J. M. Coetzee, author or Summertime
Charlotte Rogan uses a deceptively simply narrative of shipwreck and survival to explore our all-too-human capacity for self-deception.
Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried The Lifeboat is a spellbinding and beautifully written novel, one that will keep readers turning pages late into the night. This is storytelling at its best, and I was completely absorbed from beginning to end.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Dorothy L A Thoughtful Read I liked this book. There are many positives. The characters are well drawn and very interesting--especially the protagonist Grace. I did find some parts in the middle sometimes dragged but I found the last part of the story very intriguing and... Read More
Rated of 5
by Louise J Captivating! As a debut novel, this was well-written, well thought out and left you feeling hopeful that you yourself are never put in the same position as these people found themselves. Charlotte Rogan has written a compelling, page-turner that should not be... Read More
Rated of 5
by Diane S. The Lifeboat Thirty nine people in one lifeboat adrift for many weeks waiting for rescue, some strong some not. Rogan takes what is a relatively simple plot line and than fills it with moral ambiguities and decisions that keeps the reader wondering what will... Read More
Rated of 5
by Becky afloat and drifting This book held my attention simply because I needed to know who survived and who didn't as well as the back story of Grace Winter. The book is well written with believable characters and a growing sense of the horror of the situation on the... Read More
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