Book Review – The Lifeboat

the lifeboat

Title: The Lifeboat

Author: Charlotte Rogan

Genre: Adult, Historical Fiction

Length: 337

Rating: 3.5 Star rounded down to 3



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?


“Almost unbearably exciting – you’ll gulp it down in a single sitting.” – Kate Saunders, The Times

I went into this book with great expectations. The idea of people plotting the death of each other while they sit next to them plus that blurb had me seriously thinking of a fast pace evil kind of story.

This isn’t what I got.

While it was a seriously solid story, it was really really slow. The people in the boat are stuck out at sea for three weeks. Three. We get a recap of pretty much everyday and sometimes the night as well. By day five part of me was wishing the boat would sink. There were interesting bits within the story and there was plotting a death, but I found that the book was more about Grace’s thoughts on the human condition and what being in this situation was doing to everyone. Not the actual plotting. While these thoughts are interesting, I didn’t need two weeks of them (luckily they pretty much skip the third week).

The structure of this book was pretty good up until the end where I don’t know how I felt about it. At the end of week two the boat story breaks off and goes into a few chapters on how it all plays out for Grace in court. Once this is over, we then go back and experience the rescue, then we go back to how her life turned out after the boat. While this structure thing isn’t a huge issue, I don’t understand why it was done. I found it a bit disorientating to the story. I cared more about how they all get saved than if she was going to go to jail or not.

One thing I think fell really short with the story was the characters. I felt no connection to any of them. The parts of the story and the characters I was most interested in were parts I was never going to get any answers to. I really wanted to know more about Henry, how he got Grace on the boat, and all that drama with the ships communication device and Blake and Hardie. Henry mostly though, I thought he sounded pretty interesting.

So yes, the story while interesting in the sense that it was good to see how people freak out in those situations, it dragged on for me and left out a bunch of questions unanswered. If you are interested in slow paced historical fiction with a little bit of drama, give it a go, but if not perhaps give it a miss. I fell asleep reading it a couple of times.


Till Next Time…