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Queen of Hearts

3.59  ·  Rating Details  ·  595 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
Coming of age in a hospital bed—a deeply affecting portrait of a teen's journey through a TB sanatorium in the 1940s.

On the prairies of Canada during World War II, a girl and her two young siblings begin a war of their own. Stricken with tuberculosis, they are admitted to a nearby sanatorium. Teenager Marie Claire is headstrong, angry, and full of stubborn pride. In a new
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published August 2nd 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published July 19th 2010)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakCode Name Verity by Elizabeth WeinBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta SepetysRose Under Fire by Elizabeth WeinSalt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
YA set in the 1940s
15th out of 129 books — 71 voters
Breathing Room by Marsha HaylesQueen of Hearts by Martha BrooksThe Year of My Indian Prince by Ella Thorp EllisHomeless Bird by Gloria WhelanSpitting Blood by Helen Bynum
2nd out of 22 books — 11 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 2,191)
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Apr 05, 2014 Stefanie rated it liked it
This is excellent historical fiction that will appeal to fans of the genre. Since the language is straightforward and it's fairly short, it's also a great choice for readers looking for more accessible historical fiction.

Marie Clare is a headstrong fifteen-year-old living in Canada during World War II. Although it's wartime, she lives a pretty typical teenage life with a loving family, until her beloved uncle comes to stay. Soon they find out that he has tuberculosis, and Marie Clare, her brothe
Oct 13, 2011 Emma rated it really liked it
Shelves: post-uni
In the summer of 1940, Marie-Claire’s life changes forever when her Oncle Gerard comes to live with her family. He entertains his nieces and nephew with stories of the shadow man, despite the fact that he is getting sick. When her uncle is diagnosed with tuberculosis, he is sent to a near by sanatorium where he lives throughout his final days. After his death, Marie-Claire goes on with life as normally as she can, filling her time working on the family farm and even going to a dance with a soldi ...more
Alex Baugh
Oct 18, 2011 Alex Baugh rated it really liked it
Shelves: world-war-2
Queen of Hearts is an engaging YA novel set, for the most part, inside a tuberculosis sanatorium in Manitoba, Canada during the years 1940-1941.

Marie-Claire Côté, 15, lives on a small farm across a valley from the Pembina Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium. The close proximity of the San makes everyone in the community very aware of this highly contagious disease. But so far, the Côté family have all been lucky enough not to have had TB touch their world.

Their luck changes, however, one cold spring
Dec 20, 2011 Barbara rated it really liked it
Shelves: ncbla, death
Fifteen-year-old Marie-Claire Cote and her two siblings watch in horror as their beloved vagabond uncle contracts and then dies from tuberculosis. Then all three children in the Manitoba farm also are diagnosed with TB and moved to a nearby sanitorium where they are expected to rest and recover. The author describes vividly the uncertainty associated with the disease and its sufferers as well as the various treatments used to help the patients regain their health. The passages detailing how they ...more
Surely movie previews are one of the most heinous inventions ever. Book reviews in a newspaper, magazine, or online are better because they appear in print; and one has control over print. I can read the first bit and the last bit to get a sense of what the reviewer thinks about it. But I like to experience the film or book as it was constructed by the maker, not have bits presented that someone else selects for me.

I mention (p)reviews because I just finished reading Martha Brooks’ Queen of Hear
Marie-Claire Cote, 15, grows up on a property not far from the Pembina Hills Tuberculosis Sanatorium in Manitoba, Canada, in the 1940s. Being in close proximity to the TB facility makes everyone in the community very aware of this highly contagious disease. When Oncle Gerard returns to the Cote farm and is diagnosed with TB, the family is able to recognize the first symptoms of tuberculosis as they begin to present in the Cote children.

Eleven-year-old Luc is the first to become ill, then Marie-
May 01, 2012 Starry rated it liked it
Shelves: juvenile, fiction
I picked up this Young Adult novel because right now I'm interested in tuberculosis sanatoriums. These buildings -- often huge, creepy, isolated structures with large wrought iron balconies -- still dot the landscape. Less than one hundred years ago, many people spent months to years of their lives in these isolated communities, "chasing the cure" since no medicine had yet been discovered (until end of WWII). Tuberculosis patients were separated from their families and forced to rest until (hope ...more
Jul 30, 2011 Suzanne rated it liked it
I received this book from Good Reads First Reads---- thank you.

Although I believe this coming of age story about a young girl confined to a tb sanitarium is written as a YA novel, it would certainly appeal to adults as well. Marie-Claire and her two siblings all test positive for tb after prolonged exposure to her infected uncle, and in the early World War II years, that meant confinement in an institution. Treatment ranged from keeping the patients outside on the balcony overnite, even in cold
Jan 11, 2013 Reona rated it liked it
I think that this book was pretty good. The main character was a 16 year old girl named Marie Claire. This book is set in 1940s during WWII. She was very selfish and didn't care about the consequences. The lesson that she learned throuhout the was that she needed to care more about others and less about herself. Also, that she needed to take more responsibility for her actions. Finallly, at the end of the book she learns that lesson the hard way. She has to go through a lot of pain to realized t ...more
Siena Mccollum
This book is about a 15 year old girl named Marie Claire. Her uncle, Gerard, is sick so he stays with her family until he gets too sick and passes away. What she didn't know is that her uncle had passed his disease, tuberculosis, down to Marie Claire, her brother Luc, and little sister Josee. They are all admitted to a hospital in the city where they must lay in bed rest. The story line follows Marie Claire growing up in a hospital in the 1940's, where she meets her best friend, Signy, and her b ...more
Shelby Loura
Mar 17, 2013 Shelby Loura rated it really liked it
I found this book very touching. This is a story of a girl and her family loving during WWII in Canada. The main character (Marie-Claire) gets tuberculosis along with her two siblings. I wouldn't recommend this to people who cry very easily because ot os a very sad book. I really enjoyed how Marie-Claire went from being really stubborn and powerful to being caring and sympathetic. I really liked how she learned that friendship is very important.
Jun 22, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
Looking at the genre of historical fiction, one must read about the treatment of TB patients in the early 1940's. Marie-Claire is just that character. Maria and her two siblings are taken for treatment and confinement in a sanatorium in Canada There she loses her little brother to the disease while battling her own survival. In that battle she meets a roommate and others who she is able to help with their own battles without even realizing her own impact on them. There she also receives her firs ...more
Dec 09, 2013 Riley.p rated it it was amazing
I didnt like the ending to this book it was a little confusing. Otheerwise I relly liked this book.
Wow. Just... wow.

So very deserving of five stars. I read the majority of this book in one sitting, which I don't have much occasion to do these days. This book is so worth every minute spent reading it. So much of what I love about this book contains copious amounts of spoilers, but I will attempt to restrain myself.

I was drawn to Marie-Claire from the first page. Her quest early on in the book to visit her sick uncle is just the first omen of the sadness to come. After his death, Marie-Claire h
Jul 06, 2014 Veda rated it it was ok

I gave up on this book.

I usually try my best not to do just that-- I will cry and take breaks and do push-ups if I have to, but once I start a book, I will finish the goddamn book.

Not this time.

I actually learnt of this book through Goodreads itself, and the premise seemed fascinating-- fascinating enough for me to put it on hold at the library and then wait for a week until it was in my hands. I started QoH with high expectations--expectations that were quickly diminished after
Carol Royce Owen
Aug 12, 2012 Carol Royce Owen rated it liked it
I read this book because it has been chosen as a Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher finalist for 2012-2013. It is an historical fiction piece about a young teen-aged girl who is placed in a tuberculosis sanitorium along with her younger brother and sister. I was fascinated by the treatments that occurred, even stopping to look up facts on the Internet, especially that they would have the patients sleep outside, even in the cold. In fact, while reading the book I talked to an old friend who had an u ...more
Jan 28, 2012 Joan rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2012 Bookworm1858 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-read, read-2012
While browsing through my library's shelves, I came across this book. I love the title but wasn't completely sold on the idea of WWII happening while the main character lingers in a tuberculosis sanitarium-could that be interesting? It sounded very static. But it is also short, which is sometimes a deciding factor for me.

Actually the sanitarium was rather interesting and where the book picked up for me. Before that it was meandering with Marie-Claire's difficult life. Her family isn't well-off a
Richie Partington
Nov 05, 2011 Richie Partington rated it it was amazing
30 October 2011 QUEEN OF HEARTS by Martha Brooks, Farrar Straus and Giroux, August 2011, 214p., ISBN: 978-0-374-34985-1

"Sister Therese, walking by my desk with her yardstick, pokes me awake on several occasions throughout the fall and early winter. One December day she keeps me after school. She stretches her long legs in front of her, her cracked black shoes showing below her long black skirts. Sister Therese and I love and hate each other in equal measures.
"Today I love her. I wasn't looking
Jenn (Booksessed)
I don’t know when the last time I read a book set in Canada. Honestly, the only thing that comes to mind is Anne of Green Gables. So when these book called to me from the shelf I gladly picked it up.

I felt that the book started a little slowly and that there seemed to be some superfluous information, but it really picked up after a few chapters. I’m really glad that I stuck with it. I didn’t really like Marie-Claire as a protagonist intially; her character kind of confused me. But as her illness
Aug 07, 2011 Bdalton rated it liked it
Martha Brooks, the author of Queen of Hearts, grew up on the grounds of a tuberculosis sanatorium in Manitoba, Canada. Her father was a surgeon and her mother a nurse. As a child she would ride her bikes past the patients' balcony and they would call out to her, asking for a chat. She was lonely and they missed their families, so this was the perfect arrangement.

This description that you will find in the author's note as well as the fact that disease still kills more than two million people ann
Aug 31, 2012 Joan rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history lovers and medical interests
I got this as an ARC at the last ALA convention, midsummer 2012. There was some excellent writing in this but also many poor points too. The ending isn't so clear. Is she still resentful of her father's fear and anger towards her as she sees it? Or is she going back to spend the day with her former lonely roommate whose parents rarely bother to come see her, even though they have the means to do so? This is set during the early days of WWII and the Depression is still in full force in Canada. Ma ...more
Kat Goldin
Oct 02, 2011 Kat Goldin rated it it was amazing
Queen of Hearts is a coming of age novel about the Canadian involvement and happenings at the time of World War II. Americans typically do not spend a lot of time thinking or discussing the other Allies during the war, in fact, I think that this is the only noel I have read that deals with the factors of illness, war rations and the emotional struggles of families during the late 1930’s and 1940’s. Maria Claire and her family welcome in their uncle who eventually is diagnosed and removed from th ...more
I truly wanted to love this book -- historical fiction and young adult novels about illness are two of my weaknesses -- but I simply couldn't.

Martha Brooks seems to have forgotten what we all learned in our English classes: show, don't tell. Far too much of this novel reads like a laundry list of events, as if it's meant to speed through every scene with as little description as possible. It was impossible to care about anything that was going on because so much of it was barely touched upon in
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Feb 07, 2012 Canadian Children's Book Centre rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ccbc-awards
Reviewed by Brenda Halliday

It is always a pleasure to review a new work by Martha Brooks. Like her earlier novels, Queen of Hearts is lovingly based in Manitoba, but here the author has created the intimate emotional and medical landscape of a TB sanatorium.

Fourteen-year-old Marie-Claire can see the San across the valley from her family’s farmhouse. As the book begins, Marie-Claire welcomes the reappearance of her favourite uncle, Gérard. But Gérard brings the family not only his captivating st
Marie-Claire, living on the prarie in Canada at the beginning of World War II, doesn't expect live to be easy. She works hard at her chores around the farm, she knows boys are going off to war. Even at 15, she is aware that life will exact a price from you. She never could've imagined, though, how high that price would be. When she contracts tuberculosis, Marie-Claire has move into a sanatorium for TB patients. Her life shudders to a crawl as she painfully works through the disease as well as he ...more
"In my heart of hearts, I've always wanted a sixteenth birthday party. Yet even though it falls on an apparently special day, winter solstice, I'm not holding my breath - no pun intended.

Sunday again. Six days after me pneumothorax, the great day has at last arrived, finding Signy, the rick city girl, and me, the poor country girl, sitting, as usual, on bedpans.

TB, I'm beginning to discover, is a democratic kind of disease. The only requirement seems to be that you have lungs."

Marie-Claire Cote
A very, very interesting book. Just before her sixteenth birthday in the 1940s, Marie-Claire of Manitoba, Canada, and her younger sister and brother are all diagnosed with TB (contracted from a sick uncle who lived with them) and put in a sanitorium. For the next year, with WWII raging in the outside world, Marie-Claire comes of age from her hospital bed as she "chases the cure" while struggling with questions of life, faith, romance, and her fear that it's her fault that her little brother and ...more
Aug 10, 2012 Pam rated it really liked it
Great historical fiction/coming of age entry by Martha Brooks. Marie-Claire and her younger brother contract tuberculosis during World War II in Manitoba, Canada. Sent to a sanitarium to heal, they are separated from their family and even each other. In those days, antibiotics had not been discovered which could cure TB, so treatments like sleeping outdoors in the bitter cold and collapsing a lung to rest it were common. Marie-Claire is sick, angry with her father for his emotional distance, and ...more
Jamie Dacyczyn
Dec 30, 2011 Jamie Dacyczyn rated it liked it
I started off quite unimpressed with this book. The beginning feels disjointed and rushed in an effort to show how the protagonist and her family contracted tuberculosis. Some of the writing felt off to me (One sentence that really bugged me was in the first few pages where their mother "plunged" a bouquet of tulips into a vase....Grrr, I wish I had the book with me so I could get the exact quote. The sentence just felt weird and didn't fit).

Later on, however, when our main character was placed
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Martha Brooks is an award-winning novelist, playwright and jazz singer whose books have been published in Spain, Italy, Japan, Denmark, England, Germany and Australia, as well as in Canada and the United States. She is a three-time winner of the Canadian Library Association Young Adult Book of the Year, as well as the Ruth Schwartz Award, the Mr. Christie’s Book Award, the Governor General’s Award ...more
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