Queen Move is a stand alone romance connected to Kennedy Ryan’s All The King’s Men duet that was out last year. Kimba, the female MC here, was the best friend and powerful business partner of Lenix from those books. It stands alone well, there’s no need to read the duet to be able to capture all of the nuance in Queen Move.
Kimba and Ezra grew up together and slowly grow to have feelings for each other but never admit this to themselves - or each other. But their families have a falling out and Ezra moves away out of the blue and they never see each other again until they're adults and both powerful in their own ways. It's a big family secret as to the exact reason of why they had to move so suddenly...and of course that comes back to haunt them.
Queen Move hooks the reader in with chapters throughout Ezra and Kimba’s childhood together. I was incredibly drawn in by these as it sets the tone of their friendship, but when they’re basically torn apart (hence, the angst) we fast forward to adulthood where they meet again and their chemistry is palpable.
One of Kennedy Ryan’s many strengths is her obvious research and the care she takes with every topic she deals with in her books. From domestic violence to drug abuse, she always handles each with subtlety and circumspection. In Queen Move she deals with Ezra, the male MC, needing to embrace both sides of his family with being Black and Jewish. There were so many small details sprinkled throughout the book that made it so special and apparent the care Ryan was taking with his faith. The research reminds me of Beverly Jenkins or Sarah MacLean.
Just a warning that there are some complicated relationship dynamics going on in the book. There is zero cheating - but Ezra IS in a long term relationship that ends right before reuniting with Kimba and honestly I was here for it because relationship dynamics are complicated as hell in real life! All parties are clear on what’s going on...but obviously there is a *bit* of drama with it.
A subplot of Kimba’s dealing with early onset menopause was both refreshing and frustrating because on the one hand I loved seeing this on page so much! More dealing with women’s bodies at every stage please. But on the other I felt at some points it sidelined her incredibly powerful job a bit too much in places, which was probably the entire point since that's an incredibly realistic thing that happens in the world. So my frustration was more with the unfairness of it all than the plotline really.
This book is perfect for the reader who loves Shondaland or Grey’s Anatomy level angst. Ezra and Kimba felt like star-crossed lovers who got the HEA they needed.
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Content Warnings: Antisemitism, bullying, cheating, deceased family member, pregnancy