The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith – Book Review


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



The Waiting Rooms is about a pandemic that is antibiotic and treatment resistant, it has and is killing millions. Life revolves around avoiding any infection. It’s not just about the illness, but the lives of three women…….

Lily is close to 70 years old, the age when you become ineligible for any treatment, a small scratch or UTI quickly become deadly. You are then sent to a hospital, basically to die…..they are known as The Waiting Rooms.

Kate’s adoptive mother, Pen, has just died and with her blessing, Kate begins a search for her birth mother….riddled with doubt she wonders if this is the right thing to do……she’s also a nurse and helps with assisted dying.

Mary, a botanist, tells the story of her past in South Africa where research is being carried out on plants that could be used in the fight against antibiotic resistant infections. Here the descriptions of the country and its wildlife are just stunning. There’s also a troubled romance here too.


How are these women linked?


The Waiting Rooms is utterly terrifying in its sheer plausibility, a world where assisted dying is commonplace if you have signed the directive……the elderly are expendable.

All due to the crisis and antibiotic resistance due to their overuse……I had no idea that even Oranges are sprayed with antibiotics in the US! (Antibiotic resistance is real and accounts for many thousands of deaths a year now…..).

Beautifully written with great, believable characters and a clever, horrifyingly topical, plot that leaves you with goosebumps and a few tears. Brilliant and griping from start to finish. I loved it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and an eARC of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.


Purchase link :




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 recently contributed a piece of flash fiction, Belting Up, to an anthology of crime shorts called Noir From the Bar. The collection of stories has been launched to raise money for the NHS.

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 on Twitter &

Instagram: evesmithauthor

Facebook: EveSmithAuthor


3 responses to “The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith – Book Review”

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