A mother always knows best. Doesn’t she?What if your choice for your child could harm someone else’s?Every mother faces impossible choices. Vaccination is one of the hardest.
For single mum Kate O’Hara, there was no decision to make. Her daughter Rosie is one of a small percentage of Irish children who can’t be vaccinated against measles. All Kate can do is hope that her little girl is safe.
For mummy blogger Madeleine Cooper, it was a leap of faith she wasn't prepared to take when she and her husband declined controversial measles jabs for their daughter Clara. All she can do is pray that it’s the right decision.But when classmates Clara and Rosie both become sick will Kate pay for Madeleine’s choice?
A stunning and addictive new book club read from beloved bestselling Irish author Melissa Hill that explores every mother’s worst fear.
Two things immediately sprung to mind when I saw what this books about. The first is that, at the age of four, I developed Measles myself. I remember it as being particularly unpleasant and that I was so unwell that I could not even go upstairs at home and had to sleep on the sofa for a week - my poor father sleeping on the floor beside me. (My mother was in hospital having just given birth to my sister - the stress must have been immense).
The second thing is that I'm more than aware of the controversy surrounding the MMR vaccine and the now debunked theory that it is linked with Autism. As the mother of a child on the spectrum (who was vaccinated, as was his little sister) it's an issue that is emotive for me - and which I will always wonder about - debunked theory or not. Ultimately though, I fall very much firmly in the pro-vax side of the debate and I brought this to my reading of this new novel from one of Ireland's finest female writers, Melissa Hill.
The book pulls no punches - it shows just how horrific measles can be. It questions the reliance of some of herd immunity but more than than that it examines the very real and very human reasons why some people cannot or choose not to have their children vaccinated.
It may sound like this makes for a very preachy, medical heavy book but it absolutely isn't. It humanises both sides of the debate and while I think my sympathies always lay primarily with Kate O'Hara the single mother whose daughter contract the virus - I could see the side of Madeline Cooper also. I was really made to question my own prejudices at times.
But all this was wrapped up in the storytelling that Hill is so famous for. She creates warm, believable characters that you cannot help but care about. She pulls you into her stories so that you find yourself falling into the "one more page" trap and reading even when your eyes are drooping.
One thing to be said about Melissa Hill and her books is that she has been delivering killer twists in books long before the "twist you will never guess"' became the in thing. This book delivers a thumper of a twist too - which elevates it from courtroom/ family drama to something more.
Keep You Safe is a timely read with the safety of vaccines once again in the media (this time in relation to the HPV vaccine). The publishers promote it as an ideal bookclub read - and they are definitely onto something there.
But while it is a great bookclub read, it is more than that. It is one of Ireland's best storytellers writing a memorable, moving and incredibly thought provoking read. I loved it.
Keep You Safe will be published by HQ on September 21.
I received a review copy of this book from the author.