Top critical review
49 people found this helpful
Lacking what would have made it brilliant
on 13 June 2012
This is such a good premise for a book. A ship sinks following a fire on board, and 39 disparate passengers find themselves squashed on board a lifeboat clearly not suitable for holding that many people. From the very first pages, the people on the lifeboat find themselves facing acute moral dilemmas. Do they help the desperate people in the sea, thereby threatening their own survival and the meagre supplies of food and water on the lifeboat? Or do they beat them away with the oars?
I don't know what I'd do in that situation, but this book certainly makes you think. The story is told through the eyes of a young bride, now widow, Grace, one of those on the lifeboat. We know she survived because, at the beginning, she is facing trial in her home country of America along with two other passengers, for murder. You have to read the book to find out how, and why, Grace came to be where she is.
This is an 'unputdownable' book. I raced to the end to find out what had happened but... I feel it is not as good as it should be. Plenty of hints are dropped about what might have caused the explosion that sank the ship in the first place, including dodgy dealings and the potential involvement of Grace's husband, but this storyline is never made clear, which is frustrating. And because none of the passengers in the lifeboat is particularly likeable, it is hard to empathise with them. It's almost a brilliant book. It has all the right ingredients, but the result is not nearly as good as it could have been.