THE QUEEN OF HEARTS by Kimmery Martin


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A secret from two doctors’ pasts may put what they cherish most under the knife: their friendship.

Emma, a trauma surgeon, and Zadie, a pediatric cardiologist, have survived big and small things together: medical school, breakups, horrifying stomach bugs, losing patients, and the deaths of loved ones. Since they first met at summer camp, the two seemingly opposite women have been best friends: Emma is the unapproachable, perfectly maintained counterpart to warm, trustworthy Zadie. Over the years, Zadie and Emma have grown together as doctors, mothers, and friends—sometimes knowing the other's heart better than their own. Written from both women’s points of view, the novel oscillates between a crucial year from medical school and the present. In their third year of med school, the women experience a tragedy that upends their lives in ways they cannot begin to fathom. The unforeseen consequences ripple out to the present when their former chief resident, Nick Xenokostas, re-enters their lives. Zadie and Nick’s complicated relationship forces the women to grapple with a potentially friendship-ending secret. A former emergency room physician, Martin distills medical jargon into digestible metaphors and sets scenes as carefully as her characters scrub for surgery. The dialogue is on the casual side because Martin uses all-caps and some phonetic writing (“Whereygoing?”), but if it sometimes falters, the plot and characters make up for it. When the secret (or secrets) is disclosed toward the end, an unexpected but logical twist adds another layer of grief to the revelation.

A book about female friendships that unapologetically wears its heart on its sleeve.

Pub Date: Feb. 13th, 2018
ISBN: 978-0-399-58505-0
Page count: 354pp
Publisher: Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2017


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