April Book Club Selection: The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

The Lifeboat by Charlotte RoganGrace 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?

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The Lifeboat is one of those books that takes you by surprise. I hadn’t heard of it, but once I picked it up, I didn’t want to put it down. Then I started checking around and found that it had already received numerous rave reviews, and when I opened my Oprah magazine for this month, there was The Lifeboat as the featured book.

Jonathan Raban reviews The Lifeboat in The New York Review of Books, calling it “an enthralling story of survival at sea” and “one hell of a debut.”

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 New York Times bestseller Room

The Lifeboat is a spellbinding and beautifully written novel, one that will keep readers turning pages late into the night.”
–Tim O’Brien, author of The Things They Carried

Author Charlotte RoganAuthor Charlotte Rogan graduated from Princeton University in 1975. She worked at various jobs, mostly in the fields of architecture and engineering, before teaching herself to write and staying home to bring up triplets. An old criminal law text and her childhood experiences among a family of sailors provided inspiration for The Lifeboat, her first novel.

Click for interview with Charlotte Rogan on Goodreads.
Visit Charlotte Rogan’s website.
See The Lifeboat on Amazon or Barnes & Noble

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She ReadsThe Lifeboat is a selection of the She Reads book club. If you love to read novels and you like discussing them with other like-minded women, this online book club is for you! Each month, the She Reads book club offers one current title as a featured selection. Readers have vast differences in taste, so diverse genres and authors are chosen, with a total of twelve books per year.

The She Reads book club website features a blog that regularly discusses books and authors; discussion forums; author profiles and interviews; and discussion questions you can use in your own book club.

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Have you read The Lifeboat?

What’s the best novel you’ve read lately?

  1. nuku says:

    Dragons of Starlight, both the YA and Adult series, by Bryan Davis. (Can’t wait for the rest of it!) Also, by the same author, Dragons in Our Midst and the other books connected to the series(Oracles of Fire, Children of the Bard)… I must be like a kid, everything is my ‘favourite’! I can’t choose between one or the other, I love them all equally. (now I’m sounding like a parent when asked which child she likes best ^_^;)
    As for that Hunger Games series, I’m waiting on a copy as I write. Hearing that a movie was to be made of it, and liking what I heard about the movie, I decided to check it out.

  2. Christina Kaylor says:

    I think The Lifeboat is now a NY Times best seller. But speaking of great books, my most recent favorite is Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh, set on board The Ibis, which is sailing from India to China with a cargo of worker/ settlers and a few prisoners. The time period is just prior to the Opium Wars between England and China. This book is the first of a trilogy and is a terrific novel!

  3. Anne Marie says:

    I haven’t read this but you do make it sound intriguing, Rachelle. 🙂 As far as best novel, I have recently finished the Narnia series for a Master’s degree course and my favorite is The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

    God bless, Anne Marie 🙂

  4. Janet says:

    How exciting for you, Charlotte. It’s definitely going on my TBR list!

  5. Patti Mallett says:

    I’ll be tracking this one down!! Congratulations to you, Charlotte. I love how you “went to work.” Simply brilliant!!!

  6. Ariel Lawhon says:

    Thanks Rachelle!

    The Lifeboat really took root in my mind. I’d wake up at night wondering what I would do if I was trapped on an overcrowded lifeboat, in the middle of the ocean, with a bunch of ruthless people. What if my children were with me? How far would I go to survive? How far is too far?

    This book is unique in that Grace Winter is both an unreliable narrator and an anti-hero. Really, there is just SO much to think about and discuss. It’s a different sort of novel, but absolutely worth reading.

    Ariel (on behalf of the She Reads team)

  7. Will check out The Lifeboat; sounds interesting. I just finished reading The London Train by Tessa Hadley. Didn’t even know of the existence of Tessa Hadley until I heard her interviewed on the radio two weeks ago. She’s a fine writer — very observant, very English — and is able to twist together two separate plots in an engaging way. I didn’t like the ending (but, then, I dislike the endings of about 85% of the books I read, so the fault may be mine!) An interesting read.

    • Leslie Talbot says:

      I loved “The Lifeboat,” and I’m recommending it to everyone because there is so much to debate and discuss.

      I made the mistake of urging a friend to download it to her Kindle while we were on vacation together and she promptly became so engrossed I couldn’t even talk to her until she had finished it.

      btw, Daphne, I am still a huge fan of your eBook and use your techniques every day in my business writing.

  8. Sounds intriguing and congrats to Ms. Rogan.

  9. jeffo says:

    This is the second reference I’ve seen to this book today (and the first going into detail) – it sounds very interesting, I’ll have to look for it.

  10. Jeff Gamett says:

    got to admit, the premise didn’t sound that exciting. But after reading all the reviews, I’m definetly going to give “The Lifeboat” a shot. I love good page turners…

    • carol brill says:

      ditto with Jeff’s comments.

      my most recent page turner(s) – The Hunger Games Trilology. dystopia/murdering children are not my thing and I put off reading them for months. But, as a writer, I feel compelled to read books that get that hot.
      given the themes/concept, I am in awe that Ms. Collins created incredibly sympathetic characters/must-read drama that captures the hearts of readers from adolescent to seniors.

      • I agree. Just finished the Hunger Games trilogy a few weeks ago. Definitely page-turning books. Also, I’d like to read The Life Boat. The premise sounded intriguing to me.

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