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The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith

Published : 9th July 2020

Publisher : Orenda Books

Format : Kindle, Paperback

Genre : Thriller


Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

My Review

'TB doesn't announce its presence. Like the best killers, it moves quietly. Catching its victims unawares.'

This is a very eye opening and intense story.

Told over a few different narratives.

Life for everyone is very different to what we are used to. Antibiotics no longer work like they should and the few that do are too expensive to just give out to anybody.

If you are over the age of seventy then you no longer qualify for antibiotics as the government ruled that this was the medical cut off age to try and preserve what they have for the young and healthy. If after seventy you have a fall, catch a bad cold or anything else that would normally be treated with just one dose of antibiotics then the likely hood is you will die from it, or opt to end your life at a specific time and place called The Waiting Rooms so you do not have to suffer.

The story flips back and fourth between post antibiotic crisis and pre antibiotic crisis which is brilliant as it really builds the story.

Kate is a nurse. She has helped the elderly pass over for quite a while now. It's not the job she originally went for as a young nurse but considering the current climate its what she has been told to do alongside other duties.

As much as she doesn't agree with the situation she certainly doesn't think that anyone should suffer.

Unfortunate Kates adopted mother falls ill and has like many elderly signed a form requesting to end her life rather than drag it out until the infection kills her. This is where Kate is told by her mother to search out her birth mother, she will regret it if she doesn't.

Kate goes on the hunt for her own mother, hiring a private investigator to help her and slowly information starts coming back as to who her real mother was and where she currently lives.

Kates mother is not just some happy elderly lady who has lived a relatively normal life though. Kate soon discovers that her mother was part of a team who wrongly killed lots of people in Africa over twenty years ago whilst looking for new drugs to cure the ever spreading TB that was raging across the globe killing thousands.

Lily is six months away from her seventieth birthday. She lives in an expensive, well looked after care home and suffers from osteoporosis. Days away from her birthday Lily gets a letter from a woman called Kate who claims to be the daughter that she gave up all those years ago.

Lily cannot wait to meet Kate and is doing everything she can to not injure or hurt herself as she knows she will get no help if she does and she needs to see her daughter again. Truths need to be told and secrets never stay buried for long as Lily soon finds out. Someone remembers lily from her past and is going out of their way to make sure she will suffer for her part in it.

Why I Loved It

This was such a gripping read. I loved connecting with the characters and following their journeys to discover who they truly were and what had happened in the past.

I found myself really warming towards Lily and praying for the outcome to be a happy one for them all. The author was extremely clever in the way she weaves the three character's together, slowly building the story piece by piece so that by the end everything has been revealed as to what happened all those years ago. The twist at the end as to who the secret threat had been was brilliant, as always its always who you least expect and I loved that I just didn't guess that part to the story.

I cant recommend this one enough. Eerily though it was like I was reading a possible future for my children's lives as this is a reality that we could all face one day.




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Meet the author

Eve Smith’s debut novel The Waiting Rooms was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. Eve writes speculative fiction, mainly about the things that scare her. She attributes her love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.

Eve’s flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. In this world of questionable facts, stats and news, she believes storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real life issues.

Eve’s previous job as COO of an environmental charity took her to research projects across Asia, Africa and the Americas, and she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. A Modern Languages graduate from Oxford, she returned to Oxfordshire fifteen years ago to set up home with her husband.

When she’s not writing, she’s chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.


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I hope you enjoyed reading my thoughts on this review.

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