Title: The Queen of Hearts
Author: Kimmery Martin
Release Date: February 13, 2018
A debut novel 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.
"Maybe none of us can be truly gifted at medicine until we’ve grasped the consequences of what we do. In most jobs, most of the time, you can put in a half-assed effort and the world isn’t going to stop spinning. But in this case, the world did stop spinning, at least for one person—two people, actually. It’s not enough to understand intellectually that lives depend on you. You have to feel it; and maybe you have to experience the crushing weight of responsibility that comes with all the accolades and respect and financial comfort accompanying medicine."
As someone who's in this field, I could relate to so many things happening in The Queen of Hearts. Residency is hard. Sleepless nights with too many hours of working straight through is tough. Mistakes are going to be made and recognizing responsibility for one's actions is always important.
The Queen of Hearts centers around the lives of Zadie Anson, Emma Colley, and Nick Xenokostas. We're able to listen to Zadie and Emma's voices as well as the narrative involves both the past and their present when Nick comes back into their lives.
Zadie and Emma became friends during medical school. They remain friends during residency and then as colleagues. They are both happily married with children. Emma is a successful trauma surgeon and Zadie is a pediatric cardiologist. They do share secrets and one topic is not up for discussion: Nick. During their third year of medical school, something happened that changed everything. As the story progresses, the reader is privy to this information.
I was surprised to learn this was Mrs. Kimmery Martin's debut novel. The Queen of Hearts had a nice flow, with an interesting plotline and multidimensional characters. I was happily surprised at the humor. So classic in med school. Distancing from a patient in order not to break down is a modus operandi to protect one's mind. It's necessary.
I can't say the big reveal took me by surprise. I knew it from the beginning but I thought the author's delivery was perfectly accomplished. Jealousy and envy are both at the heart of this story. The question is: Are you capable of forgiveness?
I would definitely read another book by Mrs. Martin. I'm excited to see what's next for her.
A complimentary copy was provided by Berkley via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.