Book Spotlight: The Queen of Hearts

A doctor writes her first book about familiar subjects

WHEN KIMMERY MARTIN set out to write her debut novel, she received advice that is common in literature: Write what you know. The Charlotte emergency medicine doctor began to compile a book about hospital drama—with a romantic twist thrown in for good measure. The result, The Queen of Hearts (Berkley, 356 pages, $26) is a light and engaging read that locals will appreciate.  

The story ping-pongs between two women, Zadie and Emma, who have been friends since med school and are now doctors in Charlotte.  Their lives are typical of many women here—juggling family responsibilities with demanding careers—until Nick, a man from their past, makes an unexpected return. Martin’s keen eye is evident throughout the book; she nails the hospital scenes, unsurprisingly. But her observations about life in Charlotte are especially amusing and insightful: A scene about yoga pants and preschool parents had us laughing in agreement. There are references to Queens Road West trees and country club cattiness. Occasionally, the dialogue feels a little contrived, but Martin’s characters and a fun plot make up for any clichés.

Readers will delight in The Queen of Hearts, which breezes along at a readable clip and never feels like a slog. Martin’s voice is well-honed, she’s comfortable with her subject—and we suspect she already has another book in the works, hopefully with Charlotte as a backdrop.