Friendship, Secrets & Thumps in Surgical Scrubs
Our latest Igloo Book Buzz selection is Kimmery Martin’s debut novel, THE QUEEN OF HEARTS, published by Berkley on February 13. An emergency medicine doctor, born and raised in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky, Kimmery sets her book’s narrative in a world of hospital rounds and life-or-death decisions, while exploring the heart’s capacity for forgiveness.
“My goal in writing THE QUEEN OF HEARTS,” said Kimmery, “was to create a story about female friendship that is both entertaining and smart. The kind of books I enjoy the most as a reader are the ones that give you the sense you are learning something in depth about a particular subject, but you don’t necessarily realize it at the time because you’re so hooked in the action or transfixed by the characters. TQOH gives a detailed insider’s look at the medical world, in a way that would be difficult to do without having lived it, or at least without having done a lot of research. Interestingly, when the publisher asked me to raise the stakes for one of the characters by placing her in a difficult surgical situation, I squirmed even writing about losing a patient.”
Berkley Executive Editor Kerry Donovan: “I first fell in love with Kimmery’s voice for the emotional intensity of the setting she chose. THE QUEEN OF HEARTS offers an up-close-and-personal look at the lives of two female doctors working in trauma surgery and pediatric cardiology—and I savored this chance to learn more about the stakes of committing to a surgery career, especially when the central characters are also juggling responsibilities at home. An ER doctor who knows firsthand the sacrifices demanded by a successful surgical practice, Kimmery’s writing hit every emotional note I craved: hilarity in the domestic scenes, the gratification of a career running along its charted course, and sudden despair after a tragedy threatens to derail everything. Kimmery puts it best in her Author’s Note where she details what inspired her to set her debut novel in a hospital environment: “Medicine is a consuming field and a career without equal in its reward. Doctors have the immeasurable blessing of seeing life in all its anguish and glory.”