The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

The Queen of Hearts.jpg

Queen of Hearts
by Kimmery Martin
Berkley (February 13, 2018)
352 pages
Advance copy provided by publisher

Readers, beware! I'll be the first to admit that I have a major bias toward anything related to hospital life; name any movie or television program that is set in a hospital, or has a medical setting that is key to the story and, most likely, I've seen it. I have worked in either a hospital or hospital-related medical setting for several years and it feels like home; consequently, novels with this setting immediately appeal to me. 

Kimmery Martin is not only a debut author; she is also an emergency medicine physician which allows her to craft this story with the authority of one who has experienced this life, the chaos behind the curtain...and then some. I had very high expectations for this novel which, more often than not, leads to a poor outcome; however, I have encouraging news to share. 

If someone had told me when I was twenty-four that I’d be witness to many violent deaths that year, I would not have been surprised. I expected it, even desired it, with an anticipation that mirrored my general outlook on life: happy, heedless, and thirsty to learn. But if my omniscient adviser had gone on to tell me that I’d be the cause of one of the deaths, I’d have been dumbfounded. That kind of trauma was inconceivable to me.

Queen of Hearts centers around Zadie Smith and Emma Colley, two women whose friendship began during their early days of medical school, and the ways in which their lives have taken shape after graduation. Martin includes some of my favorite elements: female friendship, marriage, complicated relationship dynamics, old secrets and, of course, hospital life. Additionally, both Zadie and Emma are parents and Zadie's 3-year-old daughter, Delaney, is hilarious

Martin's trauma/emergency and clinical stories were spot on, and made me laugh out loud several times; I think they will be equally entertaining for the non-clinical reader if, like me, you enjoy a good medical drama. I've heard a couple of early readers comment that some of the medical jargon in the beginning is a little off-putting; these are pretty standard terms, if I remember correctly, and what better way to explore something new. 

Who knew how many patients had regained consciousness with those blinding lights boring down on them, convinced they were facing the radiant blaze of the tunnel to heaven, only to realize they were actually alive and naked in a roomful of strangers?

There are a few things I could pick on; Martin admits, in her author's note, that she wanted to pack in so many different elements that the finished product had to be highly edited, and I can feel that a bit. The story is dense, but not difficult to follow. I would also like to discuss a few of the story lines with another reader, and one character in particular, so I need you to get busy! 

My overall view is that Queen of Hearts is an intelligently-written, not-too-serious medical drama with the appropriate amount of soap opera-esque qualities to appeal to fans of the aforementioned movies and television programs that always draw me in when their reruns play on a Sunday afternoon and I find myself stuck to the couch for three hours. I read through it quickly, eager to discover how each character would fare, and Queen of Hearts will definitely appear on my upcoming Best Books to Read on Spring Break list! 

 

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