It’s finally time! Kimmery is the first of this year’s Debs to step out onto the ballroom floor!
The Queen of Hearts hits shelves tomorrow. This past weekend, the New York Times called it “insightful” and “affecting” — just one of several excellent reviews she’s gotten — and I’m so excited for the rest of the world to be able to step through the hospital doors and get to know Kimmery’s main characters, Zadie and Emma.
I have absolutely nothing in common with any of these characters. I still cared about them. That’s how I know Kimmery is a great writer. The world they inhabit is entirely unlike the one I live in. I did grow up in a cul-de-sac somewhat like Zadie’s neighborhood, and near some communities like Emma’s country club set, but the glitz and glamour that colors the edges of their lives was far and away. The family chaos, though, is something I think everything can relate to, and it’s the personal stories that drive so much of The Queen of Hearts. Zadie and Emma are old friends from college who’ve stayed close into full-fledged adulthood, even as they’ve married and had children and taken their careers in different directions. When an unwelcome element from the past resurfaces in the present, it sets off a concatenation of emotional collisions.
The Queen of Hearts is sharp, savvy, and sweet by turns. I appreciate a lot that the main focus is on the female friendship rather than on their relationships with their husbands. The guys are there, sure, and particularly Wyatt is a magnificent character and seems like he must be a wonderful partner, but they aren’t the focus. Even the figure at the center of all the drama is less a focal point than a catalyst for the action between Zadie and Emma. He’s honestly sort of a MacGuffin, in the way that women are often treated as prizes in traditional literature, and that’s a refreshing change. Zadie’s observations on life are quirkily clever, and Emma’s viewpoint offers a compelling mystique that slowly bleeds out of the shadows as the book progresses.
Another place that Kimmery’s talent shines is in the medical side of this medical drama. Kimmery’s drawn on real-life experience, and it shows! So many of the hospital stories are things that must have been lifted, if not direct-from-life, then with very little alteration — the epitome of “you couldn’t make this up”. She also brings her medical expertise into the writing, and it’s quite visceral. Some of the descriptions were evocative to the point where I was reading through my fingers, so to speak — particularly where needles were concerned. (I really, really hate needles). It’s all deftly handled, lending wonderful verisimilitude to the story, and seamlessly integrated with Zadie’s and Emma’s emotional landscapes.
So congratulations to Kimmery! Enjoy the release, and then get some well-earned rest.
Enter our launch week giveaway! All readers who comment on any of our launch posts this week and/or who follow the Deb Ball on FB, on Twitter, or on Instagram and comment about the launch on those platforms will automatically be entered to win a signed-by-the-author copy of the very first 2018 Debutante Ball release, The Queen of Hearts! Or, y’know, just go ahead and buy the book. 😉