Book Review: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
July 28, 2012 21 Comments
I read a lot of positive reviews of this book on other people’s blogs, so when Dutch publishers uitgeverij Signatuur had a giveaway for the Dutch translation of the book, I entered, and was one of the winners.
My copy was a small hardback, a kind of hardback pocket book. This turned out to be very pleasant to hold and read. The book was mainly a diary and the size of the book fitted that very well.
The Lifeboat: What it is about
The book starts with Grace having lunch with her lawyers. She has been accused of something and seems rather hysterical. After this short chapter Grace tells about the life boat in which she spent several weeks after the cruise ship she was travelling on with her husband, exploded.
Every day and every night is a new chapter. The reader gets to know the most important people on the lifeboat, their characteristics and their opinions about the situation. There are too many people aboard. Will some have to jump overboard on a voluntary basis, will people be assigned to jump off, or is it not really necessary because they will be found and rescued really soon anyway?
Alliances are formed and besides the physically unpleasant situation, Grace also starts to suffer psychologically from the situation she’s in.
Later on, the court case is focused on again, and we find out why Grace is there and what the verdict is.
The Lifeboat: What I thought
The story takes place at the beginning of the first world war and that’s noticeable from the beautiful language that is used in the book. Although I knew that Grace would be rescued – as she was in a court case at the beginning of the book, that took place after the time in the life boat – there was a lot of suspense in the story about when and how the boat would be found and how many people would be left alive.
There are about 40 people aboard at the beginning of the story and bit by bit the readers gets to know a few of these people. But because there is very little moving around (as it would make the boat sway) we, like Grace, don’t know very well who most of the other people are. I liked that: because Grace could not physically get closer to these people, they didn’t matter much (to her) and so, they weren’t mentioned. They would only be mentioned at the point where they became more important in the story.
I thought the story aboard very beautiful and exciting. The court case and the story surrounding it, I found much less interesting.
Rating: 4.5 (out of 5)
Number of pages: 272 (Dutch edition)
First published: 2012
I got this book: won in a giveaway from Dutch publishers Uitgeverij Signatuur
Genre: historical fiction
Have you read this book?
Did you enjoy it?