Hazel McHaffie

Inside of Me

“Written by a nurse, this is an insightful novel that easily draws readers in.
Set in the present day, with lots of current references, each chapter is written from the perspective of one of three characters: Tonya, India or Chris.
Victor, a nurse, disappeared one day, leaving his wife Tonya and their daughter India. Since that time, India has grown up missing her father deeply, and has developed anorexia.
Her contact with health professionals is mercifully brief in the book, but the interactions are described well from the perspective of India and her mother.
The twist in the story makes the reader feel they are on a voyage, and the overarching theme – the coping strategies we use to get through difficulty – makes Inside of Me a thoroughly enjoyable read.” Irene Mabbott, practice development coordinator for evidence-based practice, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield (Nursing Standard)


“In this riveting tale, McHaffie (Over My Dead Body) sends the reader on an agonizing journey to find out the truth about what happened to 15-year-old India Grayson’s father, Victor. Set in London and the surrounding areas of the U.K., the story details a daughter’s search for answers to her father’s disappearance, who has been missing and assumed dead since she was eight years old, and it begins when India hears his voice at a train station seven years later. Family members clash, as the relationship between India and her mother, Tonya, deteriorates. Bottled up feelings and emotions haunt them both as they try to deal with their grief (“You know, some folk are so lost in their grief, their loss, their pain, they can’t find space for anybody else to feel bad about what’s happened”). What Tonya hasn’t revealed to India are the mysterious disappearances of teenage girls that happened when Victor was around. McHaffie impressively weaves together the perspectives of multiple characters, while delivering an exquisite story, one that deals with the struggles people face when it comes to accepting family members for who they really are.” (BookLife) Publishers Weekly


“… a complex and absorbing tale of a loving, dysfunctional family torn apart by the quest for identity. Clearly well-researched, McHaffie’s engaging family drama is told from several different viewpoints. It tackles complex psychological issues, but with a light touch that keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens to these vulnerable characters. When finally revealed, the solution to the mystery at the heart of the novel comes as a terrific shock and it sent me back to the beginning to see if the author had cheated. She hadn’t.
INSIDE OF ME raises challenging questions without simplifying the issues or offering any easy answers. This is grown up fiction in all senses, but the book might also be enjoyed by thoughtful older teenagers.”
Linda Gillard (author of UNTYING THE KNOT and EMOTIONAL GEOLOGY)


“… well researched, full of empathy and shows how wonderfully Hazel McHaffie is able to get inside the skin of people who are torn apart and tormented by deep and personal internal struggles about their own image, identity and relationships. She worms her way into the mind and heart of young people, understanding their culture and appreciating the complex web of their relationships with peers, parents and adults generally, and is able to weave it all into a gripping story, full of unexpected and emotional twists and turns. The tempo steadily increases towards a climax which left me with a fresh appreciation of how many unknown battles lie beneath the surface of so many people’s lives – including, of course, our own – and of how we human beings need to be less judgemental of each other.” John Salter (Canon in the Church of England, Guildford)


“In her latest novel Hazel McHaffie has once again managed to combine a sensitive and informed exploration of ethical issues with a strong human story that engages the reader from beginning to end. She provides an insightful commentary on both the individual and social context of anorexia and identity. By telling the story through the voices of the key characters she allows the reader to identify with, and thus understand, their different perspectives; a prerequisite for anyone wishing to really engage with any ethical debate. As such it will provide a useful educational resource for teachers of medical ethics as well as a thoroughly enjoyable read.” Anne Slowther (Associate Professor Clinical Ethics,  Warwick Medical School)


“… makes a gripping and compelling read. It is laced with accurate insightful accounts of the physical and emotional effects of eating disorders on young people and the dilemmas faced by the parents and caregivers living with and planning care for teenagers who themselves have reached the age of consent. As a General Practitioner, I recommend it as a must-read for anyone who might benefit from gems of accurate information about the workings of the young troubled mind of an anorectic as she desperately tries to take some control over her life which was ‘ruined’ by adults. GPs, medical and nursing students, and all parents of teenagers would do well to add INSIDE OF ME to their wishlist.” Maria Galea (General Practitioner, Edinburgh)


“It flows very well, the characters are well drawn, and the moral issues are handled sensitively.” Richard Ashcroft (Professor of Bioethics, University of London)


“This novel gives a touching, sensitive insight into the effects of 21st century expectations and parental influence on the young impressionable mind. I enjoyed it very much and believe it should be in every school library.” Pat Boyd (formerly Principal Examiner for Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies in the Scottish Qualifications Authority)