The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

In The Lifeboat, author Charlotte Rogan explores the actions of a group of people who are forced to survive on a small lifeboat and the repercussions of this event. The premise seems simple enough, but in the dexterous hands of Rogan, the story takes on a larger life that invites readers to join in on this fascinating journey.

The year is 1914, and newly wed Grace is traveling with her husband, Henry, across the Atlantic Ocean aboard the luxurious ocean liner, The Empress Alexandra. After a sudden explosion, the passengers frantically evacuate the sinking ship, doing whatever it takes to secure a spot in a lifeboat. As Lifeboat 14 begins its descent into the ocean, it stops just long enough for Henry to put Grace and seaman John Hardie onto the boat. Hardie, who clearly has the most experience with all things nautical, takes lead of the small boat, navigating through the debris, and coldly passing other passengers who struggle to stay afloat in the sea. Hardie is the only one aboard the lifeboat who understands that the small vessel is already overcrowded and to take in even one more passenger would be suicide.

As the days pass, the passengers all follow the lead of Hardie, who has assigned tasks for each of the evacuees. They all seem to believe that despite their misfortune, help will arrive soon. After several days, the solitude of the sea begins to take its toll on the passengers. Hunger and thirst muddy their minds, a looming storm threatens to sink their boat, and different opinions threaten to tear apart the unified effort of the passengers.

The novel is told from the point of view of Grace who is writing a journal of her time on the lifeboat. We learn, through many flashbacks, that Grace is currently on trial for murder. As the novel progresses, we gain further insights into the events that took place on the boat, and are forced to face the question of how far a person should go to further their survival.

Being the debut novel from Rogan, I was very impressed with the strength and clarity of her story telling. The suspense of both the struggle to survive in the ocean and to clear her name in a murder trial kept the pages turning and my attention fully held. Rogan descriptions offer subtle glimpses into human nature and the desire to live. Despite the fantastic build up, I felt a bit let down by the ending. It seemed as if these philosophical ideas about survival were leading to some kind of revelation. Instead we get a resolution to the plot with no emotional punch. That being said, I think this novel is worth the read for that build up alone. Perhaps the lack of a real answer to the questions that come up, in this situation, perfectly captures the reality of the event. Either way, this novel forced me to conjure ideas about life, death, and the will to survive.

For more information, visit the author's website,
http://charlotterogan.com,
http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12888599-the-lifeboat, and Amazon
http://www.amazon.com/review/RIX76M7RSLIO5/ref=cm_cr_pr_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=0316185906&linkCode=&nodeID=&tag=.

(week 21, book 23)

This entry was posted on Sunday, May 20, 2012 and is filed under ,,,,,,,,. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

24 Responses to “The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan”

  1. I was waiting for someone's candid opinion about this book since I first learned that it had been released. It sounded interesting, but I have been waiting to hear from people who read it. Thanks for sharing, Ethan, and I have let Amazaon know that your review was helpful. Andrew Beck abeck01@snet.net

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  2. I'd love to win a copy of The Lifeboat. I read the review on amazon and marked it as helpful. I was #2.
    My email is: carlscott@prodigy.net.mx
    Thanks!

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  3. I'm not sure I did this right but I clicked on Amazon, read the review and marked it helpful then opened up an Amazon account. All the reviews I have read on "The Lifeboat" have been so good I just have to read it! Thanks, westwindsoftx@yahoo.com

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  4. I am very interested in reading this book, hoping to win a copy!
    Thanks for the opportunity,
    LJ

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  5. Unfortunately I can't enter the comp as it's for Canada and US residents only. But i'm certainly going to be buying it.
    Thanks for the review Ethan.
    Michelle
    xx

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  6. nice review!
    redrose@cparry.com

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  7. Hi Ethan , wats up ? I did it .
    parwaizriaz@gmail.com.

    I hope I win this time also. Today I went to library in search of this book but all copies of this is checked out or on order. I had to come back to u again. ..:)

    Thanks for the giveaway !!

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  8. I completed step one. jeni(dot)monroe921@gmail(dot)com

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  9. Interesting book to read.
    Glorwal64@gmail.com

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  10. I can't take part in the giveaway Ethan, as I'm from India, but I'm still marking it as helpful., and I think I'll buy it at first chance!

    Do visit my book blog at http://riversihaveknown.com/

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  11. Read the review, marked Yes. Email is sandym204@gmail.com

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  12. I keep forgetting my email meiklesurvey@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I completed step 1
    Shaunda.Eppes at gmail dot com

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  14. Nice review! I clicked on the yes button. My email is alvarezgang@yahoo(dot)com Good luck with your blog, I like the premise :0

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  15. Completed step 1. I'd like to read this book.

    thisbookforfree@gmail.com

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  16. I have clicked "yes" on the Amazon review. inkandpage2012@gmail.com

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  17. I clicked Yes! Skooberar@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. I marked your review as helpful!
    MonjaBlue(at)gmail(dot)com

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  19. I found your review very helpful. I enjoy reading new authors and Lifeboat looks like it has potential.

    vickybeth629@yahoo.com

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  20. I marked "YES" as the Amazon review was helpful and quite informative. To be a lucky winner of THE LIFEBOAT would make my month of June.


    couponqueen@earthlink.net

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  21. Hi Ethan,

    Here I am, trying again! Thanks for being so generous and giving all of us the opportunity to win this book. I enjoyed your Amazon review (and "liked" it); it makes me wonder how I'd be in a "lifeboat situation" on one of the cruise ships I've been on.

    Claire (csd747583@gmail.com)

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  22. I think this book sounds good. And I said the review was helpful. Thanks for the chance to win this.
    begesw@yahoo.com

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  23. Congratulations to Carl, Shaunda, and Claire! They will each receive a copy of The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan. Thanks to the publisher for making this giveaway available, and thanks to all who entered. Be sure to check this site for future giveaway opportunities

    ReplyDelete

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