Whenever something happens that I wish didn’t happen I quickly go for the lesson to be learned, the pattern to be recognized, the break through I’m supposed to have or the karma I’m to atone for. Lately my mantra has been that we are all the same. We’re all learning, recognizing, breaking, and atoning and it’s a wonder that we’re all still loving at the same time. I started The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan and keep wondering why I don’t stay up into the wee hours to just finish it. I’ve been savoring each paragraph, transfixed by the images her words create. 40 people on a life boat made for maybe 30. Their ship has sunk two years after the sinking of the Titantic and on this life boat all ideas of class, wealth, and knowledge disappear. And everyone is the same; a human being trying to survive. And Charlotte Rogan does an amazing job of displaying the truth in humanity. Here’s an excerpt on the lifeboat told by Grace, our possibly-widowed, young, newlywed narrator –
I admired Hardie from the start. He had a square jaw and a jutting chin and might have been handsome if not for the toll a life at sea had taken on his feature and bearing. His sharp eyes didn’t look shifty or dishonest as one might expect the eyes of a seaman to look. Even within the confines of the boat, he was rarely still. He did not seem frightened by the sea: he respected it, and he alone among us accepted our position. Everyone else fought against it. Mary Ann kept imploring anyone who would listen, “Why us? Why us, dear God? Why us?” while Maria wondered the same thing in her Castilian dialect. The deacon attempted earnest answers to their questions, but Mr. Hardie had little patience with that sort of conversation. “Ye’re born, ye suffer, and ye die. What made ye think ye deserved different” he wondered aloud when the deacon’s gentle answers failed to quiet them.