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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One of Real Simple's "Best Books of 2018"
Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2018 by Southern Living, Elite Daily, and Writer's Digest 

A powerful debut novel, praised by The New York Times, Bustle, and Hypable, that pulses with humor and empathy as it 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 during her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick's unexpected reappearance at 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

I rate this book 5 stars. Just as others have mentioned, if you like Greys Anatomy or other shows like this, you will love this book! All the events that happen keep you wanting to read more! A great medical drama to read!

I am long overdue in addressing this one it seems. This book seemed right up my alley from the start as I love medical dramas. It felt close to engaging story about the doctors and their messy lives and careers, with a fine balance of detail and emotion. When I finished it, I felt satisfied but didn't think I would ever go back to it. However, as time has gone on (for a few months), the story has stuck with me and I sort of want to read it again as I think I would enjoy it more now. Glad to have had the opportunity to read this, and it may be joining my bookshelf in physical form soon!

When I first read the synopsis, I wasn’t sure that this book would be something that I would enjoy or be able to really get into. I was wrong! This story is told from alternating POVS: Zadie’s in the present and in 1999 and Emma’s in the present. The author did a good job of revealing the history between Zadie and Emma and how strong their friendship was. I also enjoyed how the author broke up the present storyline with chapters of what was going on in the characters’ lives in 1999 when they were 3rd year medical students. The tragedy that occurred in 1999 is gradually revealed between the alternating timelines. We also learn more about Emma’s role in what happened in 1999 and the things she did after that to try and keep her secret. The author surprised me with all of the things that happened 1999. I was also shocked at the extremes that Emma went to in order to keep what happened a secret and that she was able to keep that secret for over 10 years. Over the course of the book, the reader will learn a lot about the personalities of Zadie and Emma. Based on what the reader knows about Zadie’s personality, I understand why Zadie did what she did in the last chapter, but a part of me thought she was too quick to forgive.

Medical dramas are one of my guilty pleasures. Grey's Anatomy, Private Practice, House...I love them all. Therefore, when I heard about the Queen of Hearts, a book described as perfect for fans of Grey's Anatomy, I knew I had to have it. The mystery aspect also appealed to me here. I wanted to know what happened that third year of medical school, why the characters still refused to talk about it all these years later. Luckily, The Queen of Hearts managed to completely win me over. It's emotional, spellbinding, and even slightly suspenseful. There wasn't a moment in which I wasn't dying to know what would happen next. The Queen of Hearts alternates between that third year of med school and current times. I thought Kimmery did a fantastic job of alternating between timelines. The story weaved together seamlessly, and seeing that third year of medical school rather than having the characters simply recount it in the current times made the story more developed, more authentic in a sense. The third year portions captured so many raw feelings: hope, happiness, sadness, anger, etc. I especially loved having the ability to compare where they were then to where they are now. The Queen of Hearts introduces Zadie and Emma, doctors who have been best friends since their teen years. On the surface, Zadie and Emma couldn't be any more different. Zadie is warm and welcoming. She lives with heart on her sleeve, and while her life can be disastrous when it comes to keeping her house together, she tries her very best. Emma, on the other hand, is more cold, controlled in a way. Unlike Zadie, she prefers order and organization. She thrives on it, in fact, and while Zadie has always had the easiest of times making friends, Emma's always struggled. She's not the people person Zadie is. I loved both characters for very reasons. For instance, I loved how "real" Zadie felt. The troubles she faced as a wife as well as a mother were realistic, and I appreciated seeing Zadie in some many different roles: mother, wife, doctor, best friend. She brought the same sense of well intended chaos to each area, but she never failed to be passionate as well as kind. It took me a while to warm up to Emma. Her POV was very much like her - to the point. As time went on, though, I grew to admire her seriousness as well as her bluntness. At the end of the day, Emma just wanted control - control of her life, of her job, etc. - because control was the one thing she didn't have as a child. I felt for Emma, I truly did, especially when the details of her childhood were revealed. The Queen of Hearts isn't exactly fast paced; however, I never became bored by what was going on. Instead, I enjoyed being immersed into so many aspects of Zadie and Emma's lives. I loved seeing them kick-butt as mothers, doctors, friends, etc.; however, I also appreciated that everything wasn't always perfect. They both made mistakes, lost control, and sometimes spoke before thinking. But those instances, those "screw-ups" are what made their stories so authentic, so engrossing. Additionally, there were secrets lying on the surface, secrets that may just ruin everything that Zadie and Emma have attained over the years. I think Kimmery did a great job of revealing what happened that third year. The reveal was slow yet attention-grabbing, and when everything was finally said and done, I couldn't have been more shocked. I saw it coming in some respects, but I never expected to be as fully shook as I was. It was raw and heartbreaking, it made me question my own friendships, the choices I made, what I would do in Zadie and Emma's shoes, and I think that reaction was what made this book so worthwhile in a sense. I could talk about this book all day - it would make such a perfect book club pick - but I'll stop here. The Queen of Hearts isn't an easy read. It will make you feel, truly feel. There's happiness here, but there's also hurt as well as sadness, moments at which you feel as if you're right there with the characters, being crushed with a wave of emotions. Kimmery is a fantastic new voice in women's fiction, and I can't wait to read more by her.

I loved this medical drama. Two friends and doctors' lives are interrupted by the return of Nick to Zadie's life. Zadie and Emma have been friends since medical school and have developed separate specialties in pediatrics and trauma surgery, respectively. Nick's return unearths secrets from medical school long since buried in their lives. I liked this book a lot more than I would with. It is well written and an interesting story. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read this through First to Read. I would recommend it.

Fans of Grey’s Anatomy and ER will love this book. It has the medical drama combined with the complexities of love and relationships as it follows best friends Emma and Zadie from med school to life as doctors and suburban moms. There’s so much in this book that’s relatable - juggling kids and career, carefree college days, old romances and secrets from those early med school days that take on a life of their own.

This was fine, but not spectacular. It felt a lot like reading Grey's Anatomy in novel form.

Queen of Hearts was really an unexpected gem. I thought I wasn’t going to like it but I couldn’t help but to love it. I really enjoy this novel and it’s characters. Zadie and Emma where really good characters that I enjoyed reading about. I’m currently rereading this book for a book club I’m in and Thanks to First to read for the copy of this book for review.

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin is a drama-filled but realistic look at life from a doctor's eye. Best friends since medical school, Zadie Anson, a pediatric cardiologist, and Emma Colley, a trauma surgeon, live in Charlotte, North Carolina and are trying to balance their chaotic work life with their happy home life. Until they learn that a former colleague and Zadie's ex from their residency days is coming to Charlotte and upends everything. Secrets are revealed from the past and with new challenges in their careers, their friendship is put to the test and jobs on the line. Full of emotions and twists and turns, this book will keep you turning until the last page. Definitely recommend!

Thank you first to read for giving me the chance to read an advanced copy of Queen of Hearts by Kimmerly Martin. Zadie and Emma have been friends for years and this story takes you through their current and past friendship told from each others perspective. There were several twists and turns along the way that I didn't see coming and the author held my attention through it all. I can't wait to read more by Kimmerly Martin.

I loved this book! If you are a fan of doctor shows like ER or Grey's Anatomy then I think you will love this book too.  The author is a ER surgeon in real life so I knew what I was reading was authentic.  This book was fast paced and immersive.  Many times I felt like I was standing next to the doctor in the operating room.  There were many emotions reading this book due to the fact that not every patient, just like in real life, survives traumatic injuries.  The two main characters, Emma and Zadie, are best friends that went to medical school together.  The story goes back and forth between present day and their time as medical students.  An event from the past comes to light in present day that will test their friendship.  This event is part of the mystery of the book that is revealed at the end so this mystery kept me turning pages.

I enjoyed this book- the author's style is similar to that of Liane Moriarty. The book follows two friends- Zadie and Emma- through life. Each chapter is told from one woman's point of view, and switches between current story and flash backs. I can tell that the author is just getting her feet wet. The book had minor flaws, but they were relatively easy to overlook. I would recommend this to friends as a light and easy read.

I don't believe this story is for me. I had a hard time getting through the first few pages...particularly because I couldn't get past the point of a preschooler saying, "darling honey".

Wow, just wow. First, cover LOVE. The colors, the flowers, the idea of a heart. It is gorgeous. Then the story...Kimmery Martin is a genius in her debut. Zadie and Emma are best friends, and have been since their early twenties. They are facing the intense turmoil of medical training and intense first relationships. In come Nick aka Dr. X. A tragedy strikes and the information balance is off. Emma knows more then she is letting on by Zadie is too wracked with her own guilt, self doubt and heartache to notice too much or push for answers. As I was reading this story I felt like every other chapter was a little micro reveal towards the bigger picture. I was hooked and barreling through pages wanting to know what happened. I highly recommend this!

Emma and Zadie are the type of best friends we all wish we had -- friends who would drop everything to help you, won't hold your worst days against you, and will be there for you through thick and thin even as children and significant others take over a larger part of life. But when the past comes back to haunt them, secrets will be revealed. They will have to face the harsh reality of a past they both thought they buried to discover if they are the type of best friends who can forgive the unforgivable. I would recommend this novel to fans of the TV show Grey's Anatomy. It has all the elements of the popular medical drama: devoted best friends, familial coworker friendships, medical crises requiring split-second decisions, romantic calamities, and ripple-effect consequences. This book has it all! *First to Read eARC in exchange for honest review*

The Queen of Hearts is an engaging read that keeps you hooked. The main characters, Zadie and Emma are developed well, and you feel invested in their lives and their friendship. But although, the book provides enough interesting buildup, the reveal still feels like it came out of nowhere. Kimberly Martin shows a lot of promise in her craft, but the choices made by the characters in the book don't always appear plausible. And while I want to cheer on the female friendship, I wish the story elaborated on the complicated nature of the relationship instead of neatly wrapping it up in a few consecutive chapters. I will look forward to reading more of Martin's writing in the future.

The Queen of Hearts is one intense debut from Kimmery Martin! Readers will be instantly pulled into Zadie and Emma's fierce friendship and their turbulent time as medical students in the ER. Switching between past and present in alternating voices, The Queen of Hearts dives into Zadie and Emma's personal and professional lives as it leads them to the moment Dr. X returns. Zadie is a married mother of four and a pediatric cardiologist. Emma is a married mother of one and a trauma surgeon. They have been best friends forever, but there are secrets regarding a traumatic experience in their third year of med school that could threaten their friendship. Dr. X's return brings those memories and guilt surging forward. When all is exposed, both Zadie and Emma learn what's really at stake. This is the kind of story where you know what's coming, but still, it hurts to read it. You may not know how everything is going to go down, or what exactly the secret is, but the story provides a building block of clues to soften the blow that inevitably comes. As imperfect humans, sometimes we want what we shouldn't and desire what others have because of our own insecurities. Kimmery Martin explores such notions and more in this heartbreaking medical drama. It's an insightful and engaging read that once I started reading I had to race to finish! It pulled me in with the promise of an authentic inside look at medical students in hospital rounds and kept me invested in the lives of wholly human characters. The Queen of Hearts is drama filled and really makes you feel for the characters. This is a shining debut you can't miss! *ARC received via First to Read*

Congrats to Kimmery Martin on her debut novel! This is a great book for readers who enjoy chick lit and drama. 4/5 stars for me. The book starts off as a fun and light-hearted read focusing on the everyday lives of two female surgeons and their families. Their seemingly perfect lives are interrupted by the arrival of Dr. X (their former chief resident), which starts a chain reaction of events and sets the characters on different trajectories than the ones they anticipated. As the two women navigate personal and professional obstacles, they recall decisions in their pasts that led to the present where Emma’s secrets are bubbling just below the surface. The reader learns of the many missed opportunities Emma had along the way to prevent the inevitable collapse in her friendship with Zadie. By the end, Emma is confronted with the enormity of her “do nothing” approach and must expose the mountain of secrets that has supported her friendship with Zadie, wondering if it will still hold when all is revealed.

I enjoyed the book. It was difficult to follow in the beginning but much better later in thebook. The characters were well developed and continued to emerge. The strong friendship between Zadie and Emma helped them through the reappearance of Nick and they perserved.

The Queen of Hearts is a great book about friendships and betrayal. I found that I loved Zadie and Emma's relationship, they seemed to be the perfect set of friends, both personally and professionally. But when an old flame of Zadie's arrives in town, things start to change. Can they both overcome what happened in the past? Or will their friendship be destroyed with a dark secret? The Queen of Hearts: 4/5 stars

Penguin First to Read ARC. Rating: 4 of 5 stars. Emma and Zadie are best friends, have been for years since they were roommates in college. This story is told from both of their viewpoints, also skipping from the past (the tragic secret) to the present, where the past is revealed. Can they both survive with their friendship intact or will it be another casualty of the past? Compelling, thought provoking, and a believable medical drama for a debut novel.

I really enjoyed the Queen of Hearts. At first, it seemed a little light with the focus on their home life. As the book progressed, Zadie and Emma developed a lot more depth. I didn’t think I would enjoy all of the medical terminology, but it was interesting and not too excessive. I definitely enjoyed reading about the critical moments in their careers where their actions could save or kill someone. At times, I would get very annoyed with Zadie because I didn’t understand how she could be in a great place in both her personal and professional life, but still acted all crazy like a lovestruck teenager over Dr. X. Overall, this book felt real and showed a strong friendship despite tragedies and hardships.

The beginning of this book felt a little too "chick lit" for me, but as the story progressed, the two main characters developed more depth. Emma and Zadie have been friends since before college and have supported each other through medical school and into their careers. That bond of friendship carries them through an event that most people would find unforgivable and this story is really about the enduring power of love and forgiveness. I loved the medical drama, and Zadie's three year old daughter, Delaney, is totally adorable.

I enjoyed this book much more than I expected to. It's very easy to read and I found myself thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. The book shifts perspectives not only from Zadie to Emma, but also time periods. There are chapters in the present at 30-something adults and when they are in medical school. These shifts were handled fairly welI, though there were times I had to go back to figure out whose perspective it was. While I did like the characters, I wish we had gotten to know more about Emma. The reader learns a little bit about her, but I felt that more background was necessary especially in context with some revelations that happen in the book. I also feel this way re: Nick Xenokostas who was their Chief Resident in med school and comes back into their lives as adults. I understand the novel doesn't center around him, but some motivation for his behavior would have been appreciated. All in all, I enjoyed this book and while not a perfect book, I would recommend it.

This was such a good read for me. It kept me turning the pages and when I wasn’t reading I was thinking of this book and the characters in it. The friendship between the two women was so lovely. Going back in time to discover it’s origins was delightful, as was learning their secrets. And oh what secrets! I’m a sucker for a good medical drama and this book had some bits of that as well which kept me glued to the page. Add in a mystery to solve, a really delightful little girl who just stole the whole show, and all of the angst of a very well written family/friends drama and this book was just perfection. I highly recommend this book to lovers of family and friends drama, extremely well written characters and a story that will keep you on pins and needles. This will be a favorite of mine for years to come. I received an advance readers copy. All opinions are my own.

This felt like a 350-page episode of Grey's Anatomy and I didn't hate it. Betrayal, hook ups in the on-call room, malpractice, unnecessary drama...I had a lot of fun with this. It's a quick, fun read. Reminded me of a "beach novel." 3 / 5

Emma and Zadie, both doctors, have been friends since medical school. They are both married, with children and a successful career but both are still haunted by an tragic episode from their school days. The narration is split between the two main characters and between present day and their third year of med school as the facts unfold. I really enjoyed this first time novel, written by a doctor. It had the feel of Grey’s Anatomy. I thought that some plot points and dialogue felt forced but the medical scenes were fantastic. Also, reading the Author Notes made me wish that she would write a book about some of her medical experiences. Overall, this is a solid and easily read debut novel.

I received a copy of this book from Penguin First-to-Read. Thank you. Charming read. I actually liked the characters and rooted for them through the end.

This book sounded interesting when I was reading the synopsis but it just fell flat. It didn't help that I am not in the medical field, so I was lost when it came to the medical terms. I also could not get into any of the characters. They just seemed stiff and bland. Due to these reasons, I did not finish this book.

This book is a must-read! I have to say I really enjoyed this advanced reading copy of "The Queen of Hearts" from Penguin House. It was a beautiful read! Plus I'm a little biased because I love and breath anything from the south or anything that has to do with medicine. Interchanging from past voices to present voices, I love how the book detailed every bit of Zadie and Emma's life as friends(all starting at summer camp when they were teenagers), mothers, wife's, and doctors. Their love for each other, medicine and their family is undeniable until a secret from their past comes back to reveal itself. I will say I was pretty shocked at the ending. I wish things would have turned out differently. My favorite part/person of the book is Delaney. She is so precious. For her to be so young she has so much wit and charisma. She was pure comic relief for me throughout the entire book.

I got an ARC by penguin First to Read program, and I was pretty excited about it. But I was fifty pages into the book, and I was seriously starting to get irritated. More than anything that irked me was how blatantly the author had self-inserted herself into to her character. Like can you really not think of a single original thing about your character? I mean I understand that sometimes it's okay to write from experience but to take it to that extent? The writing style itself was pretty generic and bland. And then there was that seriously questionable content, that I was surprised to see was able to make it to the final draft. For example, at one point in the book there is a discussion between the main character and her friend, about "someone weird and unlikable" and as an example, one of them says "a bulimic hoarder"??? I'm pretty sure there are a lot of weird and unlikable people out there, but people with eating disorders are not one of them. And this is just one incident. There were many points during those first 50 pages when I went "Seriously?" while throwing my hands up in the air in frustration. I tried to convince myself to continue reading after the first 50 pages but honestly, I did not see the book getting any better. And anyway, it's painful enough to sit through a badly written book, why torture myself reading through a badly written, mildly offensive one? So, I DNF it.

I was immediately drawn in by the cover, but unfortunately the plot and characters did not draw me in quite as quickly. This was disappointing early on as I love my medical themed dramas. It took me longer than expected to become invested in the characters' lives. Obviously Zadie is meant to be the more easily likable character, as evidenced by Emma's repeated comments on her demeanor and charm, as well as jealousy as the plot develops. The main element that kept me reading was the driving need to figure out what exactly happened during the third year of medical school. Kimmery rightfully drew out the big reveal, but provided little bits of information every so often that were JUST enough to keep me interested. There are some annoying errors missed during editing - extra words or letters or incorrect tenses. Most chapters begin by specifying Zadie or Emma as the narrator, but some do not. I was able to mostly overlook this, however there appeared to me to be a somewhat minor plot hole that irks me more than anything: the ending of Chapter 30, leading into Chapter 31, loses clarity and seems disjointed. Drew finds Zadie & Nick talking, then suddenly at the start of the next chapter, Emma is the one who found Zadie & Nick and there's no mention of Drew, who was supposed to have been by Zadie's side. Drew's acknowledgement of Zadie speaking with Nick is briefly mentioned later in Chapter 38, but it still does not resolve the apparent plot hole of his missing presence during the conversation. Oddly enough, the author's note went a long way for me by explaining why the book is what it is. For a first book, Kimmery had very redeeming moments thanks to her injected humor, without it feeling too pushy. Her eloquent descriptions also went a long way. The best moments of this book were the scenes in the hospital, where I felt as though I was observing all that was going on. Kimmery's medical background is apparent as evidenced by the detail and passion in those specific moments. I feel that she could be an author to keep an eye on, as I believe her writing style will mature and develop over time, if she decides to continue pursuing writing.

I love reading anything about medicine, and when you add in friendship, betrayal, melodrama, and science, you've got a winner in my opinion. Having said that, there were parts that felt a bit over done, but overall it was a fun, and quick read. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a bit of drama.

I liked that this book was written back and forth between characters to capture both sides of the story. I thought the title was perfect for them Zadie being a pediatric cardiologist, but found the medical information to be rote and written from a dictionary. This made it seem a little off to me when both Dr's addressed patient care. I couldn't imagine how Emma would ever think a betrayal was a great idea and that it would never come out. The book was a little long for me and became very repetitive. I kept waiting for the something to happen, but I guess it already had. Not a terrible read, but nothing I would recommend to other's.

Unfortunately, I was not able to download this copy or any of the necessary programs to read on my kindle, tablet, computer, or phone. I'll just need to wait to read the book with everyone else and hopefully the terrific reviews below do the book justice.

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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