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The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith



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.


What a chilling book. It’s like it has been ripped from the headlines. I couldn’t put it down even though I was terrified of the outcome.

Mary Kate Sommers or Lily, as she wants herself known in the care facility, has unfortunately experienced much betrayal and heartache. Her sacrifices have left her alone in a world in crisis.  My heart breaks for Lily as she struggles to fight for what she holds dear as she fights for her life.

Who knew Kate Connelly’s life as a nurse would come to this? The unfortunate circumstances of the world has changed her profession immensely. The scarcity of drugs and end of life laws are a huge controversy that she deals with daily at work and little does she know it soon will affect her personal life as well. Kate is a kind soul with a loving husband and a rebellious, but adoring daughter. When she finally finds her birth mother, it is understandable she is hesitant, but what she finds out is shocking and tragic.

Lily and Kate are such wonderful characters who have been through so much and the love they can both give each other is there, but is it too late?  

This exceptional book tackles a frightening health care crisis and how it affects the most vulnerable of our society.  Ms. Smith also includes critical factual data which she notes both in her book and on her website which I believe everyone should be aware of when it comes to antibiotic drug resistance. Recommend highly!

Thank you to Ms. Smith for giving me the opportunity read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


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Eve SmithI write speculative fiction, which basically means ‘what if …?’ stories: curious slants on the familiar, mainly about the things that scare me. I attribute this love of all things dark and dystopian to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills.

In this world of questionable facts, stats, and news, I believe storytelling is more important than ever to engage people in real-life issues, in meaningful ways. 

Set twenty years after an antibiotic crisis, my debut novel, The Waiting Rooms, was shortlisted for the Bridport Prize First Novel Award. My flash fiction has been shortlisted for the Bath Flash Fiction Award and highly commended for The Brighton Prize. 

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

When I’m not writing, I’m racing across fields after my dog, attempting to organise myself and my family, or off exploring somewhere new.

Follow Eve on her website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.


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