The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan

 About the book

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.  As the castaways battle the elements, and each other. 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.

Reviewed by Museum Group

We were all glad we read the book although one member did find herself “waiting for something pleasant to happen”. Overall a fascinating study of human survival with some extremely complex psychological character studies, particularly in the depiction of the central character.

Star rating: ***

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Snowdrops by A D Miller

About the book

A stunning novel of moral ambiguity, uncertainty and corruption. Snowdrops. That’s what the Russians call them – the bodies that float up into the light in the thaw. Drunks, most of them, and homeless people who just give up and lie down into the whiteness, and murder victims hidden in the drifts by their killers. Nick has a confession. When he worked as a high-flying British lawyer in Moscow, he was seduced by Masha, an enigmatic woman who led him through her city: the electric nightclubs and intimate dachas, the human kindnesses and state-wide corruption. Yet as Nick fell for Masha, he found that he fell away from himself; he knew that she was dangerous, but life in Russia was addictive, and it was too easy to bury secrets – and corpses – in the winter snows…

Reviewed by Aldershot Reading Group:

Generally enjoyed by all. Deceptively simple book which proved more interesting through our discussion. Well crafted page turner.

Star rating: ***

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