Review: The Lifeboat ~Charlotte Rogan

lifeboatGrace 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?

4 Thumbs-UpPut aside some time and make sure you won’t be disturbed when you pick this debut novel up.  Yes, it’s that good, but not quite good enough to receive 5 thumbs from this reviewer, and I’ll explain why later in the review.

This book makes you think, and re-evaluate everything you think you would personally do when faced with a survival situation; will you become someone you don’t recognise or will you be able to stand firm in your moral and ethical beliefs?  This novel was a page turner from the very first, it made me really think and wonder how I would react in this kind of dilemma, and do I know myself as well as I think I do.

Character development is so subtle in this book that it almost appears there is none at all.  Given the changing nature of each of those featured within its pages, the Author does an outstanding job of making all them credible and believable.  The reader learns a little of their background, and the events that brought them to the place the book is set in and, sometimes, this makes the course of action they choose to take just a little bit harder to understand.  As I said it makes you question your own motives in certain circumstances, and certainly makes you gasp as you read the decisions these lifelike and 3 dimensional characters make.  The only downside to the characters was actually the main protagonist; she is the narrator for the story, and an unreliable one at that.  Whether this is a deliberate action on the part of the Author I’m not sure, but if it was I’m not convinced that this was the right way to bring the story across.

The story itself is very well written and carefully told.  Not only does it have all the elements required of a captivating survival story, it is peppered with all the ingredients of a mystery novel; intrigue, lies, misdirection, motives and manipulation.  This brings me to the reason I couldn’t give this novel a five thumbs rating – the ending.  After all the ups and downs the Author takes the reader through in earlier pages, the ending came across as being rather flat and lacklustre in my opinion.  I was expecting yet another twist, which led to a conclusion to the book that was just as unexpected as other incidents, but this was not the case and I felt cheated in some way about this.

I would highly recommend this book to lovers of all genres, as there is something in it for every reader.

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