Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

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Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: A puzzle for the 21st century, this book looks at vaccination and at who is liable if you choose not to vaccinate and then something bad happens.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: September 2017
Publisher: HQ
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0008217129

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This is the story of two mothers and two daughters, and the virus that binds them. Widowed mum Kate is a nurse. She has a daughter, Rosie, and Rosie is ill with measles. As a nurse, Kate knows exactly how dangerous this can be, but because Rosie has a rare allergy that prevents vaccination, there was nothing she could do except cross her fingers and hope herd immunity would carry her through. Married mum Madeleine is a mummy blogger and tells the world, or at least the internet, the do's and do not's of parenting. There's one thing she didn't do, though, and that is get her daughter Clara vaccinated. Dubious of the MMR, she and her husband decided to forgo the jabs for their children. And now, like Rosie, she has measles.

In the olden days, measles was something you dealt with. This 80s baby certainly had it, and there are the ubiquitous in a bathtub, covered in spots photos to prove it. But science has moved on, and now you don't have to risk developing the spots and the side effects. In some countries, vaccination is mandatory and you cannot access child care or schooling without the required schedule of jabs. But the UK is not one of those places, and neither is Ireland, where this book is set, which means it remains a personal family choice. The question then, is if you do not vaccinate, can you be held liable for any illness that befalls your child or another's child should the virus strike?

In this book, two children get sick. One recovers quickly but the other is ill for longer. She's seriously unwell, hospitalised, the whole 9 yards. At first it seems a horrible fluke, but then villagers start whispering and fingers of blame start being pointed. If one child infected the other, is there a case for a negligence claim? Can you sue someone for lost earnings or loss of reputation? What if money is needed as compensation for loss of quality of life or rehabilitation or anything else? It might sound unpalatable at first, but as time goes by these become real questions, and the more people mutter their opinions, the more the mothers in this story can have their minds changed by the masses.

Although I don't think Ireland is as litigious as, say, the USA, I felt this story worked and made sense, even if I didn't agree with it. I found it interesting and in this respect, I liked it. On the flip side, I didn't like the voices of the characters as much, and found Kate in particular was grating on me from the first chapter. She wasn't especially likeable, and though she tried to make you feel sorry for her losing her husband, and for her life being tougher now, and for Rosie getting sick and so on and so on, the writing didn't stir much sympathy in me. Equally, Madeleine, was a rather self-indulgent blogger and although I felt some of the criticism directed towards her was unwarranted, she too didn't endear herself too much towards me.

This is a long book that starts quickly (we have spots just a few pages in) but then slows down. I felt it was a bit too long, because my attention started to waver, and though I really did quite fancy knowing how it ended, I was getting tempted to skim after the half way mark. I would have liked a few more twists and turns. There was plenty of drama in here, but the sort that you probably had to be a part of to find super interesting, so while I enjoyed the premise I did feel it could have been executed in slightly less time.

Nonetheless I must thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. It's a topic I've not seen done before and I picked up quite a bit about Ireland, the courts and the disease itself from reading.

If you like dramas that keep you guessing a little more, we would recommend The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain or anything by that author.

Buy Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill at

Buy Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Keep You Safe by Melissa Hill at


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