“The Lifeboat: A Novel” by Charlotte Rogan was a fantastic read. I was surprised at how layered and complex the characters were in this novel and I found myself wanting to re-read “Alias Grace” by Margaret Atwood. Part of this came from the fact that the main character in both books is named Grace and each is on trial for her life. Although the circumstances that surround each trial is different. “The Lifeboat” is full of many interesting characters and takes place in 1914; two years after The Titanic sank. The ship carrying newlyweds Grace and Henry Winter suffers a mysterious explosion and sinks. Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat and that is the last time that she sees her husband.
The book is told through Grace’s perspective and it changes between her telling the story on the lifeboat itself and her telling her story after being rescued and then being put on trial for her life. Through the changes in perspective the audience learns more about Grace’s character and how she met her husband which in my opinion was a little sketchy. Charlotte Rogan explores many different things in her debut novel and she focuses on the experience of surviving a shipwreck and then being forced to fight for your life in a lifeboat waiting and wondering if a rescue is ever going to come.
I was mightily impressed by Rogan’s writing, especially considering that this is her debut novel. I found that the book ended much too quick for my taste, especially because I finished my book on my lunch break which meant that I didn’t have any book left to read on my way home. That made me a little sad. Really the problem was that when I finished the book I didn’t have anything else by Charlotte Rogan to get my hands on. I guess that is the issue with really enjoying a first-time author.
Would I recommend this book? Most definitely, I believe that “The Lifeboat” would appeal to a wide audience. It combines psychological thrills with survival instincts and Charlotte Rogan dives deep into Grace’s character. I cannot wait to see what Charlotte Rogan comes up with next.