Review – Audiobook: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publish Date: April 3, 2012
Format: Audio, 7 hours | 47 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy
Rating: 2½ of 5
In the summer of 1914, newlyweds Grace and Henry Winter are traveling on an ocean liner across the Atlantic when a mysterious explosion rocks the ship. Henry was able to secure a place for Grace in a lifeboat, but it was now at full capacity and he was unable to join her. As the novel begins, Grace, now a widow, has finally been rescued and is facing trial for murder. This is her story of what happened during the time at sea in the lifeboat.
As Grace tells the story of the days adrift in the ocean, she also thinks back on her life and how she met Henry. The entire novel was told from Grace’s perspective. We never heard from any of the other people in the lifeboat; all we know is what Grace tells us. I was never certain whether or not her version was the truth as it really was, or the truth as she wanted it to be. My biggest problem was, I didn’t like Grace. The other characters in the lifeboat, people I would have liked to know more about, weren’t very well developed and we never had a chance to hear their story. Multiple narrators would have created another level of complexity, something I would have liked to see.
The writing itself was good. The book was readable, or in my case, listenable, and the narration was pleasant enough, but I never engaged in the story. I continued listening though, hoping something exciting would happen. But instead the book merely kept me company while I was gardening. So much potential for a compelling story … and then … nothing.
Grace was too passive, too introspective. We heard a lot of her thoughts, musing, ruminations; a little too cerebral for a story about a group of people lost at sea, fearing they would die. If this was supposed to be a psychological study about what happens to people when they are stuck in unimaginable circumstances, as I thought it would be from the description, then it failed for me. In the end, many questions remained unanswered and I remain unsatisfied. The author was deliberately vague in too many areas.
An excellent premise for a novel that never came to fruition. Did I miss the boat, pun intended, on this one?
Source: Public library.
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