The Lifeboat Review
By Alexis Mercer
It has been a while, faithful readers. The second week of August marks one of the busiest times of the year for me. I start practice coaching the Newaygo Lions Varsity Cross Country team that week. This year I also spent three days at a conference in Grand Rapids about Professional Learning Communities with 40 other educators from NPS. Shortly after that began our professional development days before welcoming the students on the 28th of August to their first day of school.
So while I was reading each night before bed, it was often only a few pages at a time before the inevitable jolt of the book falling woke me from my slumber.
Which was really hard to handle, because The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan was deserving of more attention than just a few pages a night.
The story takes place in 1914. It begins outside a courtroom, while the woman on trial, Grace, is shocking her lawyers by opening her mouth to take in the rain that is torrentially falling from the sky while the others dash for cover.
She was stuck in a lifeboat after the ship she and her husband were traveling on set fire and sank in the middle of the ocean. Grace found herself in a fight for her own life amongst the other 30 odd passengers who found themselves in the same lifeboat.
And after she is rescued, she finds herself in another fight for her life after being accused of murdering the boat hand who was in charge of their lifeboat, Mr. Hardie, while at sea.
The account is told mostly through the journal she writes for the lawyers so they are able to fully understand the timeline and her thoughts aboard the lifeboat. Occasionally, Rogan writes as Grace’s first person narration takes place from the courtroom itself.
Rogan weaves a delicate tale for such a horrific situation. She makes it beautiful while maintaining the integrity of the situation the main character finds herself in both during the time in the lifeboat and also her time in the courtroom.
My mind was skirting the edge of wondering whether my initial desire to take Grace’s side was indeed the right decision, or whether the truth was being overshadowed by my desire to like the main character who found herself in such devastating circumstances.
Compelling. Intriguing. Thought-provoking. A must read for book lovers.
Now that I have found the end of a wonderful book through the busiest of times, I will be diving into my next literary adventure full force. And hopefully it won’t be as long an interlude before my next review.
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