The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith – Blog Tour Review.

About The Book

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

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received. The first thing that crossed my mind when I picked up this book was how the author felt that it was to be published in the midst of a world wide pandemic. A little strange, I’m sure. It certainly felt strange to read. Especially at first, when you read about the precautions the characters had to take to avoid infection. What should have been fiction has turned into reality. The mask wearing and avoiding contact is starting to feel like it’s always been that way.

The three separate stories of life before the crisis, during and after are fascinating, as are the characters Mary, Lily and Kate. All suffering in their own way, all feeling guilt for what they have had to do. Whilst liking all of them it was Lily who I liked the most and felt more sympathy for. I can’t imagine how the thought of approaching seventy years old is that terrifying. I appreciated her sadness at friends disappearing suddenly, her reliance on her carer Anne and her desire to get to know Kate. I felt a lot of sadness reading her very lonely story.

The ending was one I woke up thinking about. I had managed to miss the connection to the story initially, it was one that came to me during the night. Obviously I can’t say what but I wonder if other readers feel the same.

I didn’t find the novel as intimidating as I imagined. It’s clever, we all know that the resistance to antibiotics is growing. But it’s also a thriller and a tale about a small group of people who have to cope the best way they can. Just wonderful.