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The Herd by Emily Edwards

Elizabeth and Bryony are unlikely friends, but they’re best of friends and godmothers to each other’s daughters. They trust that their children’s safety is top priority for both of them. However, they are unaware that they have radically different views on one crucial issue.

Afraid of being judged, Bryony reluctantly omits the truth before a birthday party. Sadly, the consequences are more catastrophic than either of them could ever have imagined. Unwavering, Elizabeth and Bryony continue to hold strong to their beliefs at all costs.

As both families deal with the tragic outcome, I considered where the responsibility truly lay. I reflected on Elizabeth and Bryony’s polar opposite perspectives and wondered how the tragedy could have been prevented? Who was ultimately responsible and what would I have done in the same situation?

The Herd tackles one the most divisive issues of our pandemic era. However, The Herd is set in 2019, prior to the coronavirus. Emily’s ability to share a story with empathy to both perspectives is masterful.

This thought provoking book could not be more timely, probing the fine line between personal choice and collective responsibility. Interspersed throughout, other characters, unknown to Elizabeth and Bryony share their stories and nuanced perspectives.

The smart plot twist adds another layer of complexity to this ethical and moral dilemma. It is a compelling read, and I devoured it in three evenings!

Author Emily Edwards was inspired to write The Herd when she was eight months pregnant with her first child. Her husband and their vaccine-hesitant doula had a passionate discussion about vaccination. As she listened to both of them, she realised this was an issue which impacts us all and would make a brilliant topic for a novel. I couldn’t agree more!

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Bantam Press, RRP $37.00