In 1940, England is under siege by the Nazis. With men gone off to war, women, children, and the elderly are plagued by daily bombings and constant fear for their lives. Lily Nichols, a single mother living in London, believes that anywhere must be safer than here for her two young children. She applies for a risky evacuation program that would send her son and daughter overseas to Canada, following a long journey at sea.
Alice King, a shy and quiet librarian, can’t stand sitting still amidst the wartime suffering that surrounds her. To play her part in the war effort, Alice volunteers to serve as a chaperone who will sail overseas, accompanying children to safety abroad.
When a Nazi U-boat torpedoes the ship with Lily’s children on board, a single lifeboat is left adrift in the storm-tossed Atlantic… and Alice becomes one mother’s only hope for her children’s survival. The story follows Alice’s harrowing eight days at sea, and Lily’s fight at home for her children to make it back to England alive.
Gaynor’s novel is inspired by true events. During WWII, the S. S. City of Benares set sail from England to evacuate 90 children to safety in Canada. When the ship was torpedoed by a Nazi submarine, hundreds died, including many children – and one lifeboat was left adrift at sea for eight days. One woman cared for six young boys aboard the lifeboat while they waited to be found. Gaynor was so moved by this story, and by the strength of this woman in the face of immediate peril and great despair, that she penned THE LAST LIFEBOAT, bringing this true historical moment to life through fiction.
Gaynor’s novel is perfect for fans of historical novels by Lisa Wingate, Kristin Hannah, Martha Hall Kelly, and Kristin Harmel. THE LAST LIFEBOAT serves as an uplifting reminder of the courage and altruism that we find in times of immense darkness.
World War II is underway and children were being sent away to other countries for their safety. Lily Nicholas had thought to keep her young children with her despite the perilous events surrounding them. However, bombing in England has become far too regular and she makes the decision to send her children to somewhere safe.