STARRED REVIEW
February 2018

A secret that could tear a friendship apart

By Kimmery Martin

Kimmery Martin’s excellent debut novel serves up an irresistible mix of romance, ER drama, friendship and betrayal.

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Zadie and Emma have been best friends for years, ever since they were randomly paired as summer camp roommates. They supported each other throughout the grueling years of medical training, and every high and low since. Now they’re both successful physicians in Charlotte, North Carolina, keeping each other sane as they juggle careers and family. Zadie is outgoing and energetic, with four kids and a thriving career as a cardiologist. Emma is reserved and private, an emergency room doctor who fiercely guards her friendship with Zadie.

“Ours was a friendship forged when we were young, the kind that endures no matter what because losing it would be like losing an aspect of your own personality: your sense of humor or your ability to empathize,” Emma says. “You wouldn’t be the same person with­out your friend as your external hard drive. I know, because for quite a while I thought I would lose her.”

When a child dies while in Emma’s care, the tragedy rocks their close-knit community. While the friends are still reeling, an unwelcome figure from their past reappears. Nick Xenokostas, who served as chief resident while Zadie and Emma were in medical school, takes a job at Emma’s practice. Nick and Zadie had an affair while he supervised her as a student, and he broke her heart. This ancient history is dredged back up when Zadie discovers Emma’s role in the breakup, and is unsure whether she can forgive her.

Kimmery Martin’s excellent debut novel serves up an irresistible mix of romance, ER drama, friendship and betrayal. Martin, a physician herself, writes in a clear and lively way, flashing between the friends and between present day and their exhausting but exhilarating medical school years. In her hands, dramatic hospital scenes and routine kitchen conversations are equally compelling.

 

This article was originally published in the February 2018 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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The Queen of Hearts

The Queen of Hearts

By Kimmery Martin
Berkley
ISBN 9780399585050

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