Thrilled to join the blog tour for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith today! My thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda for the review copy and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to join the tour.
Author : Eve Smith
Title : The Waiting Rooms
Pages : 376
Publisher : Orenda Books
Publication date : July 9, 2020 (paperback)
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
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.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Well, now. Where do I even begin? If you’re looking for a thought-provoking, terrifying but realistic story that’s extremely apt for the crazy times we’ve been living in the last few months, … here it is! I’m hard pressed to think of any other book that blurs the lines of fiction as much as The Waiting Rooms does and I’d have no qualms whatsoever to sacrifice whatever it takes to please the powers-that-be so this type of situation can be avoided because it’s bloody scary, you guys!
There is a global antibiotic crisis caused by drug resistance. Ordinary infections are untreatable and a scratch from a pet can kill you. If you’re a person over the age of 70, you are royally screwed. The elderly are not allowed new antibiotics and are being sent to hospitals that carry the misleading name of “The Waiting Rooms”. It’s a bit like Hotel California. You can never leave. Nor will you ever get well. This crisis has been raging for the last twenty years. Some people remember how things used to be, for others this is the new normal. In the midst of all this, Kate starts searching for her birth mother. But Kate isn’t the only one. Someone else is trying to find Kate’s birth mother too.
It’s clear Eve Smith has done a ton of research on this. Even though the science sometimes went slightly over my head, I was endlessly fascinated by it all. That is also true of the truly stunning descriptions of South Africa, where we meet Mary at the beginning of what will ultimately become a global crisis. Mary is a botanist who is tasked with finding a new medicinal plant to help in the treatment of a new drug resistant strain of TB. But there’s a lot more to her story than that and the mystery surrounding Mary runs through the entire book.
Back in the present, we are introduced to Lily. Lily resides in one of the better retirement homes. She’s counting down the days to her 70th birthday, fully aware of the danger she’ll be in once she crosses that line. But there seems to be another kind of danger lurking in the corridors when Lily starts receiving odd messages that seem to taunt her about her past. A past nobody is supposed to know anything about. Lily was one of those characters I warmed to from the start and through her we get a rather sad insight into life at the retirement home and what happens when you’re unfortunate enough to be sent off to the waiting rooms.
You’d be forgiven for thinking Eve Smith has psychic powers because quite a few things in The Waiting Rooms are part of our current daily lives. Wearing masks outside, for instance. Keeping your distance from others. No shaking hands or any other kind of touching, really. Unless it’s for sexy time 😏. There was a time, not that long ago, when none of us would even be able to imagine what that’s like but we sure can now.
Thought-provoking and terrifyingly plausible, this is one of those stories that is just impossible to forget. I wasn’t entirely sure I even wanted to read it during our own crazy times but as it happens, I find it was the most perfect time to do so. The Waiting Rooms turned out to be one of the most captivating books I’ve had the pleasure of reading during all this lockdown craziness. A thoroughly impressive debut from Eve Smith and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Highly recommended!
The Waiting Rooms is available to buy in ebook format! The UK paperback will follow in July.
| 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 chasing across fields after her dog, attempting to organise herself and her family or off exploring somewhere new.