Water, Water, Everywhere

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

Charlotte Rogan's debut novel "The Lifeboat" is a good bet for readers who enjoy psychological drama. As the book opens Grace Winter is on trial for murder. Readers learn how she arrived in this situation from her recollections and her trial.

Newlyweds Grace and Henry were crossing the Atlantic on a luxury ocean liner. When an explosion sinks the ship, Grace winds up on an overcrowded lifeboat. One of the ship's crew is on the lifeboat and quickly takes charge. In addition to the problems of limited drinking water and food, the lifeboat is made unstable by extra weight. A rivalry for leadership on the boat makes an already dangerous situation far worse.

Grace Winter is an interesting heroine/anti-heroine. She is cool, calculating, and pragmatic, both during her time on the lifeboat and in her account of the disaster. Her emotional detachment is almost creepy. Even on trial for her life, Grace is not overly concerned about her future. "After all, I have already taken the measure of my own insignificance and I survived."

If you can't get enough suspense on the open waters, you can also check out the excellent 1944 movie "Lifeboat" directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

--Jennifer A., Headquarters

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