Title: The Herd
Author: Emily Edwards
Publisher: Bantam Press
Publication Date: 3rd February 2022
Two best friends
Elizabeth and Bryony are polar opposites but their unexpected friendship has always worked. They’re the best of friends, and godmothers to each other’s daughters – because they trust that the safety of their children is both of their top priority.
One little secret
Little do they know that they differ radically over one very important issue. And when Bryony, afraid of being judged, tells what is supposed to be a harmless white lie before a child’s birthday party, the consequences are more catastrophic than either of them could ever have imagined.
Every parent’s worst nightmare . . .
This book honestly couldn’t be more timely if it tried. It may not be about the coronavirus pandemic directly but the topic of vaccinations and the anti-vaxxer movement has never been more prevalent in the public eye as it has over the past couple of years. The story follows two friends and mothers, Elizabeth and Bryony, who have differing views on the subject of vaccines, although they have not specifically addressed this within their friendship. Things come to a heartbreaking head when an unintentional lie is told and a series of consequences ends with one of their daughters in hospital.
I loved The Herd. It had me totally gripped from start to finish. The issue of vaccinations and the risks/benefits is such a controversial one and it was handled with sensitivity and intelligence by Edwards. I’m firmly of the belief that vaccinations, whilst sadly occasionally causing negative side effects are an overwhelming source of good and if I have children, I won’t hesitate to vaccinate. However, saying that, I still felt compassion for both Bryony and Elizabeth. There is a lot of nuance within the area of parental choices and I felt this book was an incredibly moving example of that. This would be the perfect book club pick, guaranteed to invoke heated discussion. I highly recommend it and will certainly be reading whatever Emily Edwards writes next.
I kindly received an e-copy of the book via Netgalley. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.
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