Title: The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
Date Published: 9th April 2020
Publisher: Orenda Books
Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable: 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 birth mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.
Sweeping from an all-too-real modern world 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.
I want to thank Orenda Books and THE Book Club Reviewer Group for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Waiting Rooms is a captivating, if slightly scary, read.
So I decided what better book to read during a pandemic is a book about a pandemic! As it happens this novel turned out to be so much more than that, the pandemic sort of fades into the background and it becomes more of a tale of love and loss.
Eve Smith has created a believable world not too far off from our own world, where the overuse of antibiotics had led to disease or injury, once easily treated, has become deadly. Over seventies are denied medication or treatment, they have the option to either end their lives or suffer their illness until the end. They are sent to ‘waiting rooms’ if they’re lucky they end up in a top notch nursing home, the less lucky ones end rotting away in flats.
The main story revolves around three women. Kate who’s adoptive mother has just died leading her to look for her birth mother. Lily, who is just coming up for her seventieth birthday and is afraid that someone from her past is coming back to haunt her. Then there’s Mary whose POV starts before the crisis and goes to the root of what happened. Each character is really fleshed out and flawed, you almost think that they’re real.
The parts that were set in Africa were amazing and descriptive, I could almost picture myself there while I was reading.
If I’m going to nitpick here, certain aspects of the story were a little predictable but of course that’s just my opinion.
The Waiting room has realistic characters and an evocative story line that makes it an almost hypnotising read.
About 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 racing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.
Follow Eve: @evecsmith & www.evesmithauthor.com