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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

What It Takes To Survive

The Lifeboat - Charlotte Rogan

On the eve of the First World War newly-wed Grace Winter is cast adrift in a lifeboat with thirty nine others when the transatlantic liner on which she is a passenger founders and sinks. This is the story of how and why she survives while many of her fellow passengers perish.

It's told in Grace's words but she's an unreliable narrator. She doesn't necessarily lie; it's more a question of emphasis. The reader has to sort out where and with whom his or her sympathies ought to lie.

It's a strongly-imagined narrative but surprisingly, for such a situation, I found it a little lacking in drama. The same ground is covered and recovered as it is re-examined in the light of small changes in our understanding.

It's clever and interesting but it didn't thrill me. Too many of the characters were sketchily drawn and I felt she could have done more with such a powerful premise.