“Grace is the 22-year-old narrator of this terrifying, tightly told tale of the sinking of an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic from England in 1914. Few escape onto the small overcrowded lifeboats, Grace being one. With little food and drink, paranoia and power struggles surface, and The Lifeboat becomes a study of human nature and who has a stronger will to survive under extreme conditions. As Rogan writes in the end, 'It was not the sea that was cruel, it was the people.' A brilliant and harrowing story of a struggle for survival as well as a profound look at the complexities of human nature at its core.”
— Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT
In the summer of 1914, Grace elopes with Henry Winter in London, hoping to escape the disapproval of his wealthy family. When the elegant ocean liner carrying them home to America suffers a mysterious explosion, Henry sacrifices his own safety and secures Grace a seat in a lifeboat, which its occupants quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die. Adrift on the Atlantic, the weather deteriorating and supplies dwindling, the castaways scheme and battle, caught up in a vicious power struggle between a ruthless but experienced sailor and an enigmatic matron with surprising powers of persuasion. Choosing a side will seal her fate, but Grace has made her way in the world by seizing every possible advantage. As she recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met and considers the new life of privilege she thought she'd found, Grace must now decide: will she pay any price to keep it? The Lifeboat is a masterful debut, a story of hard choices, ambition, and endurance, narrated by a woman as complex and unforgettable as the events she describes.
About the Author
Charlotte Rogan graduated from Princeton in 1975. She taught herself to write between working at various jobs and bringing up triplets. Her childhood vacations with a family of sailors provided inspiration for "The Lifeboat," her first novel. She lives in Westport, Connecticut with her husband.