Saving Grace: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Grace Winter is both the narrator and the protagonist of this shipwreck drama. Fictionally set two years after the sinking of the Titanic, and on the cusp of the outbreak of war in 1914, the narrative throws us directly into a lifeboat drama, filled with 37 survivors of a sunken transatlantic liner making its way to America.

But none of the expected turmoil of the sinking ship here. That had already been played out a thousand times in the drama of the Empress Alexandra’s much more illustrious forebear, the Titanic. Charlotte Rogan, the author of The Lifeboat, decided instead to throw us hook, line and sinker into the theatricals of the moral issues thrown up by the trauma of surviving three weeks adrift on a lifeboat. the-lifeboatNo time wasted here in the page-turning cinematics of thousands of tons of bruised metal slowly sinking to the depths, when the meat of the story of who gets to eat and drink what, of who volunteers to jump boat to save the majority, of who rises triumphant midst the social and political tensions of this little community thrown together on the high seas, is all the more engaging.

I have much praise for the the life-defining ethical issues that are confronted head on, within the context of a situation that could happen at any time (and has happened from time to time in the real world). There is a lot of fodder here for book clubs and reading groups to get their teeth into, and not just in English-speaking countries, but the world over, now that it is to be translated into 18 languages (perhaps some measure of its success as a piece of fiction).

The texture of its narrative, however, is its principal weakness.  The environment of desperation in the lifeboat is not convincingly created, nor are the defining characteristics of the lifeboat survivors entirely plausible. You never really get the full sense of the appalling suffering of the lifeboat occupants. But in the context of the author’s first sally into the world of fiction, these latter observations may be a little mealy-mouthed, and Charlotte Rogan should be encouraged and praised as she continues to develop her own style and genre within the world of fiction.


About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on April 17, 2013, in Book reviews and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This is the book we’re reading for our book cub this month… I’ll no doubt post my thoughts!

  2. Peter Staples

    I hadn’t realized it was her first sally into the world of fiction.

    You’re right about the book clubs and reading groups: lots of stuff for them to wade into …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Matildas Musings

A blog written by Matilda - the "old lady" classic tandem - and her Musings about her adventures, trials and tribulations with the "old git" and Chief Pilot, aka Colin and the "old gal" and Chief Stoker (as well as Chief Engineer) aka Diane.

Fit Recovery

Stay Clean Get Fit

Northern Walker

Lightweight backpacking, hillwalking and bicycle touring adventures in Northern England and Scotland

Looking For 42

Traveling the world looking for the meaning for life (and whatever else I might find along the way)

Off The Beaten Path

All contents ©2018 Compass Cycles.

Bike 5

Five miles or less? Bikes are best!


KITESURFING, CYCLING, SUP: ramblings, idiocy and not much more

Cycling Dutch Girl

the only certainty is change


On a bicycle from coast to coast across the USA

Self Propelled

Self propelled adventures through life; blogging on cycling, touring, micro-adventures, general shenanigans, and environmental news


Cycling across Europe, Cornwall to Munich

The Vicious Cycle

A man searches for between leg shavings

2 l o v e c y c l i n g

It's about cycling ... and other travels

There And Back Again

Life at 15 miles per hour

As Easy As Riding A Bike

Well it should be, shouldn't it?

Bike Around Britain

Blog on cycling around the coast of Britain

David Noble's Blog

Life, Loves and Living


The Weston Front - the destination of a road less travelled...

The Innocent Bikestander

It can be better

Bike, Banjo & Baby

They go together so well

Something for Kiki and the Pok

the adventures of Christopher Yardin - by plane, bike, through a lens, or the eyes of a child


Cycling Blog

Richard Tulloch's LIFE ON THE ROAD

Travel adventures on wheels and legs


................."Cherry picking the nicest places in the world to cycle"

Gippsland Granny

Musings from Metung

Serendipities of life

Taking the road less travelled

I Do Not Despair

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. ~H.G. Wells

Tom’s Bike Trip

Adventures and experiments in two-wheeled travel

All Seasons Cyclist

Real World Product Reviews For Avid Cyclists

machacas on wheels

Taking the road less travelled

%d bloggers like this: