Review: The Waiting Room by Emily Bleeker

Waiting RoomEver since her husband’s death collided with the birth of her daughter, postpartum depression has taken hold of Veronica Shelton. She can’t sleep, can’t work, and can’t bear to touch her beautiful baby girl. Her emotional state is whispering lies in Veronica’s ear: You’re a bad mother. Your baby would be better off without you. But not everything can be reasoned away by Veronica’s despair. Can it?

After all, the break-in at her house happened. The disturbing sketches she found in her studio are real. So is the fear for her daughter’s safety—especially when Veronica comes home to a cold, silent nursery and a missing baby.

As she turns from victim into primary suspect, Veronica realizes that only she can find her daughter. Authorities aren’t helping. They’re only watching. Veronica’s concerned mother has suddenly vanished from her life. And a new friend seems to be keeping secrets from her too. Now, reality is waiting for Veronica in a dark place—because someone’s mind games have only just begun.

Review

This is one of those books that have to be reviewed without saying much about the story-line. Veronica is a mother who is struggling to connect with her baby after her husband died. Through her story, the author tackles the theme of postpartum depression.  Needless to say, it was hard to read about this condition. I can’t imagine how difficult it is for women who experience it. At the same time, the author helped in making it possible to understand PPD from the POV of someone going through it. I could understand and sympathize with Veronica’s struggles and I found myself getting emotional a couple of times as the story progressed.

Apart from postpartum depression, there is also another heavy theme of grief. Veronica lost her husband and through her support group, we also meet other characters who are coming to terms with their personal losses. These themes made this an even heavier read.

The mystery in the story was interesting and well developed. At first, I had no idea where the story was going. However, at some point I had my suspicions about one of the major twists and it actually turned out that I was right. However, there is more than just 1 twist in the narrative so I couldn’t have predicted everything. In particular, the final twist really surprised me.

The pacing of this book does take some getting used to. It is really slow at the beginning but picks up around quarter way and the remaining chapters are fast moving and thrilling. I think what I appreciated most about the story is how well the author managed to portray the themes, especially about loss and postpartum depression. By the time I turned the last page, my heart was completely broken by Veronica’s sad story.

40 thoughts on “Review: The Waiting Room by Emily Bleeker

    1. It was emotional but it helped me learn a lot about Postpartum Depression. I have been discussing PPD with my friends who are moms since reading the book and it seems like it occurs more frequent than I thought. This book definitely opened my eyes about it.

    1. Thanks Jennifer. The slow pacing bothered me at the beginning of the book. However, I think the themes saved the book for me. They were quite well detailed and in the end, the story ended up moving well. Definitely an emotional read though 🙂

    1. It seems we had similar experiences with the books. I almost DNFed it too because of the slow pace, kept wondering where the story was going or if it was going anywhere at all but things eventually started moving faster. Glad you enjoyed the later half too 🙂

  1. This one sounds like it could be sad. I was surprised that it was a thriller! I’m curious about it now. I don’t know that I could read it, though based on those sad things. Great review!

    1. Thanks Deanna. Yes this is largely a mystery thriller. The themes mentioned are part of the mystery, plot line and everything becomes clear at the end of the story. Thank you 🙂

  2. Awesome review! I like when a book not only has a thrilling plot with twists but also has good themes. Postpartum depression is not often talked about in this genre but would love to read about it. ❤

    1. You are so right, Norrie. I think this is the first thriller that I have read that tackles PPD and not just in passing. It really opened my eyes about the condition. Thank you 🙂

  3. I have to read this one. I had severe postpartum depression after the birth of my second child; it was just awful. I can barely describe how I felt and what I went through. I’m very lucky that my husband didn’t leave me-or so he says, but it is one of the reason that there is an 11 year age difference between my 2nd and 3rd child because my hubby was so afraid that I’d go through it again and didn’t want to deal with it. I had to see a prenatal/perinatal psychiatrist my entire 3rd pregnancy to treat me for my severe anxiety disorder and to help prevent me from having PPD. It did help a lot especially since I had an extremely difficult and stressful pregnancy. I didn’t have PPD the 3rd time, but I think it’s because I was already on meds to prevent it. Scary experience! Fantastic review and another for the TBR!

    1. So sorry to hear about what you went through PPD and your 3rd pregnancy. I am glad that your hubby was supportive and that you had help to prepare for your 3rd.Can’t begin to imagine just how difficult your experience was though.

      I didn’t know much about PPD until recently. After reading this book, I started talking to the moms that I know and have since found out that it happens quite frequently. There isn’t much awareness about it in my country though. Mental health is still shrouded in customary beliefs and misunderstanding.That means that not many moms get spousal or societal support when going through PPD but I do hope that things will change soon and more awareness will be created.

      Thank you for sharing your story with me and I hope that you will like this book if you get the chance to read it 🙂

      1. Thanks so much Diana. It was very hard., especially since I had no idea what was wrong with me. I was 23 when I had my 2nd son and was still at university working on my graduate degree so no one around me really recognized I had anything wrong until I was 6 months post partum. I can’t imagine not having the support I did with my daughter.

        PPD is a tough subject just like pregnancy loss-miscarriage and stillbirth. It seems like those topics have a stigma attached to them even in the US although they are getting better. I’ve had 5 pregnancies losses at different stages of pregnancy and one was a stillbirth, but no one wanted to talk about it. That leads to severe mental health issues too since you’ve had pregnancy loss and are dealing with the hormones, etc. I would love to advocate for mental health awareness for pregnancy and postpartum issues. It is so common, and I understand what you mean about the cultural beliefs in your country. I think everywhere has them. I hope there are changes though and the moms there get all the support they need for PPD.

        You’re welcome. I already bought the book! 🙂 I hope to read it as soon as life calms down a bit!

  4. Lovely review for a pretty serious book it looks like! I had postpartum depression with my middle child, not severe but it is really a hard thing to go through, I’m glad they are writing books about it to open peoples eyes to it!

    1. Thanks Berit and sorry to hear that you went through PPD also. I can’t even begin to imagine just how difficult it is to experience that. I totally agree with you about the need to have more awareness about it. Hopefully, more books will be written about it.

  5. I read the last book by this author and although it was a good story, I felt it moved too slow for me… it wasn’t a memorable one. But maybe I’d like this one more?

    Great review 😀

    1. Thanks Annie. That is the same thing that I was saying about this one. The story is good and she does a great job portraying such heavy, sensitive themes but the pacing is way too slow. It was a challenge for me too.

    1. Thanks Inge and I totally agree with you. It is easy to sympathize with the moms going through PPD even if we don’t have kids. I have always imagined that births are all about smiles, joys,a little fatigue but mostly contentment. Can’t imagine how hard it must be to end up feeling the opposite when your baby is born. Its nice that more books are tackling the theme though and hence creating awareness 🙂

  6. Great review, Diana. PPD is a serious thing. It’s sad that at a time when mothers should be happy about their newborns they feel depressed instead. I get it though. Hormone fluctuations can really wreak havoc on a woman’s body and emotions.
    Thanks for reviewing, and for letting us know that the beginning is a slow burn.

    1. You’re welcome Laurie and yes, PPD sounds absolutely terrifying. I can’t imagine how moms feel when what is supposed to be a happy event ends up being depressing. Its just heartbreaking.

      Yeah, this seems to be the author’s style. Her books have been described by others as being slow burns. Thank you 🙂

  7. My DIL has depression, so after the birth of her first child we were really watching carefully, but she did okay with her normal medication. I can’t imagine what this character went through with grief and PPD at the same time. Sounds very emotional. Wonderful review Diana, you gave this justice. I am adding this one, but not sure when I will get to it.

    1. Sorry to hear about your DIL, Carla. Glad to hear that the medication helped and its wonderful that she also had you guys supporting her. Grief and PPD are sort of interconnected in this book. But being a thriller, they do play a part in the way the story progresses. I hope that you will get the chance to read it someday 🙂

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