The Queen of Hearts
Setting – Kentucky/North Carolina
Berkley (February 13, 2018)
Hardcover: 352 pages
Kindle ASIN: B071NYSR9W
A debut novel set against a background of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions that pulses with humor and empathy and explores the heart’s capacity for forgiveness…
Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.
As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.
Kimmery Martin takes us into the lives of best friends Zadie Anson and Emma Colley. She alternates between their points of view and the present and the past. Emma, a trauma surgeon, and Zadie, a pediatric cardiologist, have faced grueling schedules to get to where they are in their lives, married with families and successful careers. Then Nick Xenokostas, Dr. X, transfers to North Carolina and turns their lives upside down. That third year of medical school comes back to haunt them and when secrets are revealed it could rip these two best friends apart.
I dove right into this story thinking it would be a combination of Grey’s Anatomy and other medical television dramas, but it was so much more. You know immediately the author is a physician by all the details she brings to this story. From medical terms to the struggle medical school, residency and beyond can be. I drank it all in and was riveted by Zadie and Emma’s stories. These characters were very realistic in both the bond they have and the lives they have created for themselves.
The underlying drama and tension runs throughout the story with little humorous breaks usually by Zadie’s 3-year-old Delaney. Her “Hi, beloved dear!” always broke through and made me smile. I was following along closely knowing something major had taken place in these women’s lives. Something they had tried to forget about. But when the event was revealed I became totally overwhelmed. Not exactly the same as an event that rocked my life but close enough that I had to stop reading for some time before I could pick it back up again. I still had to skip or just skim a few pages but I had to see how the story ended. I am so glad I did because there was yet another shocking twist that I didn’t see coming.
I was moved by this novel. I can’t believe it is the author’s debut. She is an excellent writer, she carries off the switching points of view and times, along with all the medical jargon so well. Her descriptive style puts readers right into each moment. Except for the one point I mentioned above I totally enjoyed the story, and that is on me. If you haven’t dealt with a similar traumatic event, you will absolutely love this story.
I am excited by this author and can’t wait to see what she writes next.
About the Author
Kimmery Martin is a doctor, book reviewer, author interviewer, traveler, and obsessive reader. Her debut novel, The Queen of Hearts, was a huge hit among three of her friends before being picked up by Penguin Random House. Kimmery lives in North Carolina with her husband, three children, and the world’s most obstinate dog. You can read more of her writing, including travelogues, book reviews, and social commentary at www.kimmerymartin.com.
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