In 1914 Grace and her new husband Henry board an elegant ocean liner which suffers a mysterious explosion at sea and subsequently sinks. Grace finds herself castaway in an overloaded lifeboat with a number of fellow passengers. Where is Henry? Who can she trust? What choices should she make? ‘The Lifeboat’ is not a means to a rescue but the beginning of a survival story which deals with the physical, moral and emotional aspects of life and death issues.
Survival at sea is a great premise for a novel, especially when you throw in a mystery, some theft and some psychological intrigue. But sadly this one left me somewhat underwhelmed. It was not a bad read, but not a really good one either. The main character narrates the story but I feel like I still never really got to know Grace at all. We do know that she is strong and because she narrates you do know that she survives, but she never displays much depth of character or growth despite the brutal and horrific circumstances. The other characters are also rather hard to follow, mostly because they are also not so well developed or described.
‘The Lifeboat’ is a good novel and had the potential to be great but that never happened for me. I really wanted to like it and I still would recommend it for an intriguing read but I could never shake a feeling of disappointment about it. There were also way too many loose ends left for a satisfying closure and it seemed to just “end with a shrug” in the words of one reviewer. However, there were many positive reviews from some who “couldn’t put it down” and others who “gulped it down in one sitting” so perhaps it was just me and the time I read it in.