It's 1914, the Empress Alexandria
has sunk, and Grace is on trial for her part in the events that took place on an overcrowded lifeboat in the middle of the Atlantic.
The story of what happened unfolds through a journal of Grace's account that she is to provide her defense attorney with and, as such, isn't entirely reliable. Obviously, Grace wants to make herself look good, and we get the definite impression that she knows more than she's willing to admit. It's not that she's lying, but she's definitely concealing things, things like, how did her husband secure her place on that lifeboat?
and what did Hardie keep in that box?
and maybe even what happened to Mary Ann?
Grace is manipulative, we can see that through her story of how she met and eventually married her husband, newlyweds at the time of the sinking.
So this book is...unsettling. Actually, I nearly put it down after reading the first couple of pages, because it seemed too bleak and terrible. Human nature, when it comes to survival, can be ugly, and all of that ugliness is aboard the lifeboat. But I kept on, and I'm glad I did, because this book was fascinating. I wish I had all of the answers, I wish I knew just how much deception Grace put into her journal, but I'll be thinking about this book for a while, precisely because I don't have all the answers. Or any of the answers, actually.