The Lifeboat

  • by Charlotte Rogan
  • Narrated by Rebecca Gibel
  • 7 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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?
The Lifeboat is a pause-resistant novel of hard choices and survival, narrated by a woman as unforgettable and complex as the events she describes.

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What the Critics Say

"The Lifeboat traps the reader in a story that is exciting at the literal level and brutally moving at the existential: I read it in one go." (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)
"What a splendid book.... I can't imagine any reader who looks at the opening pages wanting to put the book down.... It's so refreshing to read a book that is ambitious and yet not tricksy, where the author seems to be in command of her material and really on top of her game. It's beautifully controlled and totally believable." (Hilary Mantel, author of Wolf Hall)
"The Lifeboat is a spellbinding and beautifully written novel, one that will keep readers turning pages late into the night. This is storytelling at its best, and I was completely absorbed from beginning to end." (Tim O'Brien, author of The Things They Carried, In the Lake of the Woods, July, July)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

FELL FLAT

What did you like best about The Lifeboat? What did you like least?

The critics' reviews intrigued me to listen to this book. I almost never get a book until I have read some reader reviews, but something about this one made me want to get. It seemed like it was such a great premise it had to be good. I was very disappointed. I felt no connection to any character in the book whatsoever. It was only 7 hours yet I had a really tough time finishing it. I found it puzzling that what should be such a "tense" storyline was so "flat."


Would you be willing to try another book from Charlotte Rogan? Why or why not?

I would never say never after just reading one book.


What didn’t you like about Rebecca Gibel’s performance?

Her voice didn't seem to fit the period or the mood. I did not think she was a bad narrator, I just thought this book was not a good fit for her. Hard to tell whether she did not bring any life to the book or the book had no life to bring.


Do you think The Lifeboat needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

no


Any additional comments?

I thought this book was a great idea and could have explored t so many human emotions/actions, yet, as I stated, I was hard-pressed to even finish it and there was no sense of connection with anybody.

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- Kathy

Lord of the Flies on the Water

In the very first few minutes of this Charlotte Rogan’s The Lifeboat the passengers in lifeboat 14 make their way through the debris of their ship. Trying to stay afloat they don’t rescue a child floating on some wreckage next to his dead mom and actually beat away swimmers attempting to board their boat. It is one moral dilemma after another from there on out. Soon they come to realize the boat is overloaded. As hours and days drag on their humanity is tested. All of this is described through the perspective of Grace Winter a newlywed whose husband did not make the lifeboat. The story is told through a journal of sorts she is preparing for her legal defense. The gripping scene in the lifeboat is periodically interrupted with this legal drama as we are filled in on how the eventual rescue led to her arrest. We are also given some backstory on Grace and her courtship to frame the harrowing lifeboat experience.

The lifeboat passages are by far the most compelling, but the legal ramifications of Grace’s experience eventually take hold. Grace is scarily relatable, she’s imperfect in so many ways but I never found myself judging her decisions. My chief complaint with the novel is the author hints at a lot, but then leaves it unresolved. Also, Rogan gives a lot away for free, ie, we know Grace is alive from the beginning of the story. Overall though, by focusing not only on the lifeboat but also on the consequences we are delivered a more rounded and realistic story. I listened to the entire novel in one sitting, captivated by the premise and eager to see how the story would unfold.

Rebecca Glibel narrates. She sounds strangely modern which is somewhat disjointed for the piece but otherwise delivers a strong performance.
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- sara miller

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-23-2012
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio