The Herd – Emily Edwards

You should never judge how someone chooses to raise their child.

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.

But what if their choice could harm your own child?

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 . . .

Book information: Print Length: 344 pages. Publisher: Transworld Digital. Publication Date: 3 Feb 2022


After studying at Edinburgh University, Emily Edwards worked for a think tank in New York before returning to London where she worked as a support worker for vulnerable women at a large charity. She now lives in Lewes, East Sussex with her endlessly patient husband and her two endlessly energetic young sons.

The inspiration for The Herd came when she was eight months pregnant with her first son, and her husband and their vaccine-hesitant doula had an impassioned ‘debate’ about vaccination in their garden. As she sat there with her hands over her huge stomach listening to them both, Emily realized this was an issue which impacts us all and that it would make a brilliant topic for a novel.

My Review:

If you follow my blog you will know that I read quite a lot of books and I’m getting to the stage that in order to give a book 5 stars it needs to now tick several boxes. For example: characters I care about or connect with ; situations I have found myself in or dilemma’s I’ve personally faced ; topics that are both topical and educational ; plotlines that are thought-provoking and original ; writing that is faultless and perfectly plotted and above all a book that I literally can’t or won’t put down .

As The Herd ticks all the above and more this was a really easy 5 star read for me.

The Herd tackles a very real issue – immunisation and given the current Covid pandemic and vaccine reluctance it’s a story that everyone can relate to right now.

The story centres around two women, Elizabeth and Bryony – complete opposites in everyway, but best friends for years. Both families live in the same street, their husbands are best friends and they are both godmothers to each other’s daughters.

The book begins with a courtcase but we don’t know any details of what has happened at this stage except that a tragic event has occured resulting in a very public courtcase. Told through dual timelines and from both Elizabeth and Bryony’s voices, the author slowly and meticulously reveals the story behind the courtcase. Throughout the book there are clever and original chapters told from the “onlookers” at the Courtcase, from an online troll to a social worker which gives the reader a really varied perspective on this highly topical issue.

I love a book that not only grips me and makes me think but also educates me. The Herd reminded me a little of Jodi Picoult’s Small Great Things, because the research was meticulous and unbiased, the topic of whether to vaccinate was fair and balanced and above all I felt I was learning so much whilst reading the book.

Overall, I think this is a very important book that should be read by everyone. Timely, important, relatable and debatable. The Herd goes into my Top Ten books of 2022.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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