The Last Lifeboat & The Drowning Woman

Posted June 14, 2023 by Carole in Reviews / 8 Comments

I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Last Lifeboat & The Drowning WomanThe Last Lifeboat by Hazel Gaynor
Narrator: Billie Fulford-Brown
Published by Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Random House Audio on June 13, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Historical / 20th Century / World War II
Length: 10 hours 27 minutes
Pages: 384
Format: ARC, Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Amazon | Audible | B&N | Kobo |

A Most Anticipated Book by Real Simple ∙ SheReads ∙ BookBub ∙ and more!

Inspired by a remarkable true story, a young teacher evacuates children to safety across perilous waters, in a moving and triumphant new novel from New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor.
1940, Kent: Alice King is not brave or daring—she’s happiest finding adventure through the safe pages of books. But times of war demand courage, and as the threat of German invasion looms, a plane crash near her home awakens a strength in Alice she’d long forgotten. Determined to do her part, she finds a role perfectly suited to her experience as a schoolteacher—to help evacuate Britain’s children overseas.
1940, London: Lily Nichols once dreamed of using her mathematical talents for more than tabulating the cost of groceries, but life, and love, charted her a different course. With two lively children and a loving husband, Lily’s humble home is her world, until war tears everything asunder. With her husband gone and bombs raining down, Lily is faced with an impossible choice: keep her son and daughter close, knowing she may not be able to protect them, or enroll them in a risky evacuation scheme, where safety awaits so very far away.
When a Nazi U-boat torpedoes the S. S. Carlisle carrying a ship of children to Canada, a single lifeboat is left adrift in the storm-tossed Atlantic. Alice and Lily, strangers to each other—one on land, the other at sea—will quickly become one another’s very best hope as their lives are fatefully entwined.

This was excellent! I thought that this was a wonderful story only made more amazing by the fact that it was based on a very similar real-life event. At the beginning of WWII, some British families made the tough decision to send their children to other areas to live so that they would be safe. Lily, a recent widow, is one of the mothers to send her two children to live with a family in Canada. Alice takes on a role to help get the children to their destination. When the ship that they are on is hit by a German torpedo, Alice finds herself on a lifeboat with 30 other people including 6 children.

I felt this group’s determination to survive and felt that Lily’s actions were equally moving. The story was almost impossible to put down once I started reading. There were quite a few characters in this story and I thought that they were all so well-developed that each of them came alive on the page. I was completely invested in the story because I cared about the characters. I thought that the book had plenty of excitement and enough action to keep things very interesting.

I listened to the audiobook and thought that Billie Fulford-Brown did a fabulous job with this story. I believe that this was my first experience with this narrator but it was very easy to slip into this story. I thought that she had a very pleasant voice and had no problems listening to the book for hours at a time. She was able to add just enough emotion to her reading to take the story to the next level. I do believe that her performance added to my overall enjoyment of this story.

I would recommend this book to fans of historical fiction. I thought that this was an exceptional novel that I found to be well-written. I quickly fell for this group of characters and wanted to see good things happen for them. I will definitely be reading more of Hazel Gaynor’s work in the future.

I received a review copy of this book from Berkley Publishing Group and Penguin Random House Audio.

I received this book for free from the publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Last Lifeboat & The Drowning WomanThe Drowning Woman by Robyn Harding
Narrator: Brittany Wilkerson, Henriette Zoutomou
Published by Hachette Audio on June 13, 2023
Genres: Fiction / Thrillers / Psychological
Length: 9 hours 37 minutes
Pages: 336
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Amazon | Audible | B&N | Kobo |

The bestselling author of The Party returns with a deliciously twisted story of friendship, retribution and betrayal about a homeless woman fleeing a dangerous past – and the wealthy society wife she saves from drowning, who pulls her into a dark web of secrets and lies.

Lee Gulliver never thought she’d find herself living on the streets – no one ever does – but when her restaurant fails, and she falls deeper into debt, she leaves her old life behind with nothing but her clothes and her car.

Parked in a secluded spot by the beach, she sees a sobbing woman throw herself into the ocean. Lee hauls the woman back to the surface but, instead of appreciation, she is met with fury. The drowning woman, Hazel, tells her that she wanted to die. She’s trapped in a toxic, abusive marriage, and is a prisoner in her own home. Lee has now thwarted her one chance to escape her life.
Out of options, Hazel retreats to her gilded cage. Lee thinks she’s seen the last of her, until Hazel unexpectedly returns the next morning. The women strike up an unlikely friendship and then, one day, Hazel makes a shocking request: she wants Lee to help her disappear. It’ll be easy, Hazel assures her. But Lee soon learns that nothing is as it seems – and that Hazel may not be the friend Lee thought she was …

Praise for The Drowning Woman
‘Pulse-pounding and deliciously unpredictable … Robyn Harding can twist a plot like a corkscrew’ Laurie Elizabeth Flynn, author of The Girls Are All So Nice Here
‘I’m in absolute awe of Robyn Harding's talent and skill. The Drowning Woman is an astonishing, expertly crafted story … With one killer twist after another and a masterful plot’ Samantha M. Bailey, author of Woman on the Edge

I really enjoyed this book! This was the first time that I have had the chance to pick up any of Robyn Harding’s work and I am happy that I decided to give this book a try. I was hooked by this story almost immediately. I loved that just when I thought that I knew what was going on things would shift and I would find myself guessing all over again. This was a thriller that kept me highly engaged until the very end.

Lee is down on her luck. She is living in her car after losing her restaurant and everything else during the pandemic. She is barely hanging on and I thought that the author did a fantastic job of illustrating just how hard it would be to be in her position. When Lee sees a woman growing, she jumps in to save her which is the start of an unlikely friendship with a wealthy woman named Hazel. The story is told from both Lee’s and Hazel’s points of view. I grew to like both of these women even though they were far from perfect.

Brittany Wilkerson and Henriette Zoutomou did a great job with the narration of this story. I thought that they both did a fabulous job of bringing this story to life. Their voices complimented each other very well and helped to bring the characters of the story to life. They had very pleasant voices and were able to add just the right amount of excitement and emotion to their reading. I do believe that their narration added to my enjoyment of this novel.

I would recommend this book to others. This was a really exciting story that kept me guessing until the very end. I cared about the characters and was invested in the outcome. I do hope to read more of this author’s work in the future.

I received a digital copy of this audiobook from Hachette Audio.

8 responses to “The Last Lifeboat & The Drowning Woman

  1. I’ve not read The Party but have always been curious. However, after reading your review, I think this might be the first Harding book I grab. Glad you enjoyed both of these.

  2. I will definitely be checking out The Last Lifeboat! It sounds really good and I do like Hazel Gaynor’s writing.

  3. The Drowning Woman looks like such a good read and a seriously compelling. I really want to read the Hazel Gaynor book. I love everything I’ve read by her and this looks amazing and like it will break my heart.