The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan It is the summer of 1914 and Europe is on the brink of war, but Grace Winter’s future finally seems secure as she and her new husband set sail for New York, where she hopes to win over a disapproving and status-conscious mother-in-law. When a mysterious explosion sinks their ship, Grace is thrust into a lifeboat by a quick-witted crew member, who climbs in after her even though the boat is already filled beyond capacity.

I love situational crises in films and books, the more claustrophobic and uncomfortable the better. I find it fascinating how individual personalities respond to group trauma and how they answer the social and moral questions that are bound to be raised…how far would you go to survive…kill or be killed…women and children first?

This fabulous debut novel gave me all this plus an unreliable, manipulative narrator (or is she), a fascinating Plank of Carneades dilemma to ponder and the affirmation that none of us are fully prepared to deal with violent or traumatic events.

As Valerie Martin said “The Lifeboat is a richly rewarding novel, psychologically acute and morally complex. It can and should be read on many levels, but it is first and foremost a harrowing tale of survival.”