Review copy provided by publisher
Allen and Unwin, March 2014
Synopsis- With the horrific screech of tyres, Hannah Scott’s world as she knew it is brought to a devastating end.
One year after the accident, Hannah is still discouraging all attempts by family and friends to help her resume her normal life. But when her path crosses with Olivia Bell and her daughter Maddie who is finally on the way to recovery after a serious illness, Hannah develops a surprisingly close friendship with Olivia in a short time.
The Bells, however, have problems of their own. Many times on the verge of leaving her wealthy but abusive husband, Olivia now finds herself bound to him as never before in the wake of Maddie’s illness.
Meanwhile Maddie, tired of the limits her poor health puts upon her and fearful of her father’s increasing rage, regularly escapes into the one place where she can be anyone she wants: the internet. But when she is finally healthy enough to live her life in the way she’s longed to do, the real world proves to be just as complicated as the isolated bubble she had been so eager to escape.
A masterful narrative, shaped by finely drawn characters whose fragile bonds are on a collision course with the truth, Safe with Me is a triumph.
Review- Safe with Me is a fascinating story about two families’ lives intersecting in the most unusual way. Hairdresser Hannah Scott mourns the loss of her twelve year old daughter whose life was lost in a motor vehicle accident. As she tries to get her life back on track and make sense of her situation, teenager Maddie Bell and mother Olivia walks into her salon and unleashes a bombshell. Unbeknownst to Maddie and Olivia, they provide the bait, the information that incites Hannah to find out more and to draw her in closer to this family. It turns out that Maddie was an organ recipient of Hannah’s daughter and the strange connection is something that Hannah just can’t let go.
While life may be spinning out of control for Hannah, Olivia’s perfectly constructed home life is also starting to slip as the domestic violence underpinning her marriage worsens. Told from the viewpoint of Olivia, Hannah and Maddie; Safe With Me delivers three interesting and unsettled women who are in the midst of discovering their identity as well as forming new friendships and relationships. I felt all three women were quite believable, but I particularly found Maddie’s perspective interesting and well fleshed out.
Safe With Me explores very pertinent topics of organ donation, chronic illness, grief and loss and domestic violence, but as a narrative I did feel it was missing an element of suspense; something to really draw me into the story and refuse to put the book down. Without this, I was left feeling uncertain where the story was heading and at times lacking motivation to continue reading- even though the story elements were of interest. Despite this missing element, it was an intriguing story with believable characters.
“It was okay”
Safe with Me can be purchased from Fishpond and other leading book retailers