Synopsis (from Waterstone’s)
I was to stand trial for my life. I was twenty-two years old. I had been married for ten weeks and a widow for six. In the summer of 1914, the Empress Alexandra, a magnificent ocean liner, suffers a mysterious explosion on its voyage from London to New York City. On board are Henry Winter, a rich banker, and his young new wife, Grace. Somehow, Henry manages to secure a place in a lifeboat for Grace. But the survivors quickly realize it is over capacity and could sink at any moment. For any to live, some must die. As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace watches and waits. She is a woman who has learned the value of patience – her journey to a life of glittering privilege has been far from straightforward. Now, she knows, it is in jeopardy, and her very survival is at stake. Over the course of three perilous weeks, the passengers on the lifeboat plot, scheme, gossip and console one another while sitting inches apart. Their deepest beliefs about goodness, humanity and God are tested to the limit as they begin to discover what they will do in order to survive. The Lifeboat is a page-turning story of moral dilemmas, and also the moving and haunting story of Grace, a woman as unforgettable and complicated as the story she recounts.
My first preconceptions came not from the sample supplied by Waterstone’s but by a number of reviews I have read which are written by other bloggers (I will link them below). For some reason I had expected it to be set in modern era from these reviews- not sure why! Initially the extract fitted with this okay- Grace talking to the lawyers could have been set in any time really but I pictured modern lawyers, and a modern setting. It was only when I moved to the first descriptions of the shipwreck and the lifeboat itself that I realised that it was actually set in the past. The way Grace spoke did actually fit with the era the book is set in, but I had initially thought it was just the writing style. The Lifeboat is already on my wishlist from reading various reviews, and the extract has only confirmed my thoughts surrounding it.
Full Reviews of The Lifeboat:
- The Waterstone’s 11 2012 (lucybirdbooks.wordpress.com)
- The Waterstone’s 11 (2012): The Art of Fielding (lucybirdbooks.wordpress.com)
- The Waterstone’s 11 (2012): Shelter (lucybirdbooks.wordpress.com)