The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

The Queen of Hearts

Kimmery Martin

Kimmery Martin's voice sparkles with heartfelt humor, and this novel packs a powerful emotional punch, exploring how surgeons' lives are chock-full of glory, anguish, and occasionally hilarity.

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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.

Advance Galley Reviews

Zadie and Emma have been friends for years. They attended medical school together and are now enjoying successful careers as doctors in Charlotte, North Carolina. But when a former colleague moves to Charlotte, secrets from the past resurface and their friendship is put to the test. This book was like an episode of Grey's Anatomy. It had friendship, romance, betrayal, secrets, heartbreak, and even some medical stuff thrown in. I enjoyed Zadie's story line, particularly how she was trying to juggle being a doctor, mother, and wife. While the book moved in some predictable directions, I still was caught a little off guard during the last few chapters in the book. I thought the alternating timelines was done well and overall this was an enjoyable read. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy! I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.

First of all, I would like to say thanks for this ARC. And I give 3 stars out of 5. The story is set on 2 characters: Zaidie and Emma, who are both surgeons living in Charlotte, North Carolina. We go back and forth in time between when they were medical students working together in a hospital and over ten years later when they continue to be close friends working as surgeons in Charlotte. This is a style that I like a lot in books, as it gives more depth and richness to the stories. Things become more complicated when they see that there's a secret between them with the arrival of Dr. X. Unfortunately it was a moderate read for me. There were parts I liked, and there were times I didn't enjoy it. I need to say I like the writing style of Martin. There were other parts of the puzzle that makes a book great, were missing. Probably I didn't like Emma as much as Zaidie. But, the real let down was building up for a secret that you expect to be something really interesting and surprising, which did not meet this expectation. In the end, it was an easy and light book, that could be coming from a soap opera.

Melodramas set in hospitals haven't interested me before (this book didn't change that) and like other reviewers mentioned, this story felt very Grey's Anatomy, with a lot of sentimentality and excessive jargon. However, the author is talented and I enjoyed the little bits of genuine humor sprinkled into the otherwise sappy story. I had a few minor nits: Zadie's three-year old addresses her with flowery endearments, "beloved dear", "sweetie babe", "honey dear". The Author's Note at the end implies that this is a character trait inspired by her own child, which makes sense, but it was never explained in the context of the story and it distracted me into thinking there was some sort of reveal coming for why the child spoke in that way. The constant reminders that Emma and Wyatt were opposites looks wise felt like overkill. 'Revealing' Dr. X and Nick as the same person was overwrought since it was inevitable.

Very well written novel. Zadie's capacity to forgive is amazing. Emma's excuses are just that. I would recommend the book to others. Thanks First to Read for my advance copy.

I really enjoyed reading this book, and I enjoyed getting to know the characters. Time-hopping and switching character POVs from chapter-to-chapter normally makes it a bit difficult for me to stay tuned into, but I didn't mind it so much in this book. I really enjoyed the story, although for all the drama by the end of the book i still sort of felt like i was waiting for the main action to take place...and then it just kind of....ended. I still enjoyed it, and it was a worthwhile read!

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin sounded like the kind of story I would enjoy, but in the end I DNFed it. There wasn’t anything particularly bad about the book, but it got to a point where I wasn’t enjoying the story and didn’t care about the characters. This book wasn’t for me. That being said, I can see how others would like it more than I did.

I was wrapped up in this book from the first page. It reminds me of Grey's anatomy mixed with real housewives. I couldn't put the book down. The detail to medical information was so beautifully done with the story. This book had me laughing out loud and crying at times. I would love to read a sequel with these characters. Thank you for this beautiful story!

I was initially drawn in by the cover of this book. That it’s set in Charlotte was a bonus. That said, it’s a little bit of departure from my usual, but I enjoyed it a lot. It took me a while to get into the story, but it was a compelling read. The characters felt like real people, fully developed and relatable. Zadie and Emma’s friendship felt very authentic to me, though I’m a bit unsure about that ending. I think it felt true the characters, but still somehow unsatisfying. I’m definitely going to spend some time thinking through my feelings on it. My biggest issue is the way the book is structured. Timeline jumping is a hard one for me, personally. The book also alternates narration between Zadie and Emma. Those combined made it difficult for me to settle into the story. I think it’s well executed and even necessary for the story, but it’s just not a structure I personally enjoy. It is also very heavy on medical jargon, so be prepared for that.

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley are assigned as roommates at medical school. Although they are opposites, they form a friendship that continues through their adult lives. Both Zadie,a pediatric cardiologist and Emma, a trauma surgeon now have families and established practices in Charlotte, North Carolina. When a former colleague and lover, Nick Xenokostas, resurfaces they will be forced to reexamine a past that both have tried to forget. I fell in love with the cover and synopsis for this novel and was very excited when I got a chance to read it. The novel transitions from both Emma and Zadie's past and present POV's as they discuss their families and advancement through medical practice and into their prospective fields. The novel implies that it is primarily about past secrets between the trio involving a tragedy however, most of the novel revolves around their friendship and experiences during medical school. The "secrets" felt as if they were added more as a secondary plot twist or surprise revelation hastily added towards the end of the novel to give it appeal. This novel is well written and has charm that kept me entertained it just wasn't as compelling as I had hoped.

The hype promised more than this book provided. I’m a fan of Grey’s Anatomy but it’s actually more difficult to write that medical drama than the promoters of this book think; but a key issue revolves around character development as well as plot. In THE QUEEN OF HEARTS, the plot is ultimately weak because the character development is. As readers, we have to firmly believe in the main characters. If we don’t, then the book doesn’t work. If the characters are fundamentally flawed, then the author betrayed us. Because this isn’t meant to be a thriller. The tale works best, oddly enough, when the author uses humor about everyday life with young children. Author Kimmery Martin tried to put too much into one novel and needed to focus on one story, rather than several. She obviously can write and knows her medical topics well. The ending makes no sense at all.

I was a bit cautious going into this novel, but it was fantastic! Sometimes love makes us keep secrets that could destroy us. Emma and Zadie have been best friends since medical school. Now, they have families and careers and things are mostly going well for them. But secrets sometimes refuse to stay buried and the thought of those consequences is too much for Emma to handle. What will it cost her and can she live with that high of a price? Nick, Zadie's med school lover has taken a job at Emma's practice and his presence will blow it all up. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's not sappy, presents the characters fully and includes enough medical scenarios to make it legitimate. The romantic parts of the story are balanced and not over the top. I would recommend this to someone that likes stories that unfold in a well paced manner and for someone that can see both the good and the bad in characters and not hate them for their failings.

This story is 100 pages too long and doesn't quite live up to or fit the synopsis. The red herrings and clues are plentiful so it's easy to guess the big secret Emma's hiding. The why of it is very simplistic and pedestrian. Nick's continuing behavior baffled me for a man in love and I didn't buy it. As for Zadie, she seemed to take it all in "la de da" stride. I didn't find her character actions or reactions believable in this story since Emma's (disturbing) actions altered the course of her life. What I did find believable was Zadie's desire to not think about what could have been. What's crystal clear is Zadie could use a better friend in her life. eGalley loan provided courtesy of Berkley and First to Read.

"If there's anything I've learned it's this: the past is never really gone. It's one long chain linking the present and also the future, and sometimes it doubles back on itself, exposing the things you thought were buried." This debut novel by Kimmery Martin is sharp, witty, beautiful, and real. The Queen of Hearts tells the story of Zadie and Emma, two successful physicians who have been friends for their entire adult lives. They both balance their jobs as doctors, mothers, and wives as best as anyone can. When an old colleague shows up unexpectedly, his presence threatens to bring up a secret one of them has kept hidden from the other since their days in medical school. I received this e-ARC from First To Read for an honest review (it's my first ARC!) and I'm so glad this was my first because I absolutely loved this book. Kimmery Martin just became an insta-buy author for me, and I'm so excited to see what else she writes in the future. The writing in this book was magical. It was descriptive enough that I felt like I was watching this right in front of my eyes, but wasn't over the top. And despite there being a bunch of medical terms used, I could still understand exactly what was going on. Is it because some of my favorite tv shows include House MD and Bones (with six seasons of Grey's Anatomy under my belt as well), I'm not sure. But I felt like it was descriptive enough that you didn't need to know every medical term thrown in there to really grasp the hospital scenes. The writing also felt very fresh and true to real life. You could tell Martin was drawing from experience when she would write about juggling kids and work. It felt very personal, but also refreshing since she's actually experienced it. The best way I can describe her writing is that it felt like listening to your best friend tell a story. It's familiar but it's exciting and new. That might not even make sense but it made me feel so warm and fuzzy. Her writing is fantastic and I'm a fan for life. The book is told from three perspectives: Zadie and Emma in the present day, and then Zadie from their third year in medical school. This third perspective becomes pretty crucial to the storytelling and it's genius in my opinion. It gives us an insight to what it was like for them as medical students, and harbors the incident that sparks the secret that's kept from the other. Zadie is intelligent, beautiful, witty, a loving mom, and an incredible doctor. She is the kind of woman you admire. While she has her snarky moments, a lot of them when she's with her kids, this makes her more relatable, and lovable. I absolutely loved her. She's crazy, but in the best way possible. Emma is practical, efficient, tenacious, and a complete badass of a doctor. She knows what she's doing when it comes to medicine, but just like real life, people mess up, and we experience that with Emma. She has a lot going on in her life and the stress really gets to her. Both women had their own though processes and it was easy to remember who's perspective you were reading from because they were developed so carefully. You could see the similarities and differences, and easily understand why they were friends. The medical cases mentioned throughout the book were so interesting and I found some scenes even a little intense. I was on the edge of my seat, desperate to know if the patient would live or die. The incident/secret is teased very well throughout the book, with little hints dropped here and there. However, once one is dropped, you want to keep pulling the thread and you wont be able to stop until the entire plot is unravel. And once it is, it's so worth it. This was such a great read and I can't wait to pick it up when it comes out in February! 5/5 stars! I'd recommend this to anyone who likes Grey's Anatomy! Or Scandal. Or really just any tv drama that's also mixed with Grey's.

it was a page-turner, I got sucked in right away. It might be a bit hard for others to keep up with going back and forth with time lapse. You tend to love Zadie for she is everything you can love and adore as well as relate regarding being a professional and mother at the same time with all the dramatic tones a woman can be. You see the disastrous fall coming but you never come to the conclusion of how disastrous it truly was regarding her closest friend Emma and the darkness that laid introverted in her which she and Nicks bad decision created catastrophically engraved memory to which affected the three of them for the rest of their lives. Which ironically they all run back into each other Unexpectedly making Nick want to set things right and bringing Emmas biggest fears to reality from the biggest secret she hid from her friend Zadie. I loved it because confronting your mistakes is a step of redemption no matter how bad it gets and Emma becomes aware that she was truly loved by her best friend. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone. It was well written with all its human quirks and awkwardness that makes it so relatable.


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