The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin
Queen of Hearts
by Kimmery Martin
Berkley (February 13, 2018)
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 organization 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.
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, juggling stressful careers with home life, 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.
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!