Title: The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 348 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
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.
Weaving seamlessly back and forth in time, The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin is an engaging and heartfelt novel of friendship.
Zadie Anson and Emma Colley’s friendship has endured the rigors of medical school, marriage and the births of their children. However, the reappearance of Dr. Nick Xenokostas, their former chief resident, rocks both their worlds since he was part of their lives when a shocking tragedy occurred during their third year of residency. Neither Zadie nor Emma are eager to renew their acquaintance with him especially at time when a professional calamity could prove to be disastrous for one of the their careers. With so much upheaval, Zadie and Emma try to avoid seeing Nick or discussing the traumatic incident that left an indelible mark on both women. However, Zadie, Emma and Nick are on collision course that seems unstoppable and in the aftermath of a stunning revelation, can Emma and Zadie salvage their friendship?
Zadie is a warm and well-liked pediatric cardiologist. She juggles her career with a hectic family life since her husband, Drew, works long hours with frequent travel. The one constant in her life is her rock solid, close-knit friendship with Emma. Although neither woman has much free time, they both make their friendship a priority and they squeeze in time together whenever possible.
Emma has traveled far from her humble beginnings but her social awkwardness makes her feel like she does not belong in the life she carved out for herself. A well-respected and talented trauma surgeon, she is a workaholic whose husband Wyatt is gregarious and outgoing. They have a young son whom they both adore but Emma initially felt a little out of step with motherhood since young Henry was not exactly an easy baby.
Emma panics when she discovers that Nick has joined her practice. Neither women have ever discussed the tragedy that occurred when he was their chief resident and Emma is determined to keep Nick out of Zadie’s life. Through a series of flashbacks, the details of that fateful third year in residency emerge.
The Queen of Hearts is an interesting and well-written debut that is quite riveting. The characters are richly developed with relatable strengths and flaws. There is plenty of tension as the chapters weave back and forth between the present and the pivotal year of Emma and Zadie’s residency. The truth is revealed in a rather dramatic fashion and Kimmery Martin keeps readers on the edge of their seats as the novel wends its way to a very unexpected but uplifting conclusion.