Mrs. Kimble
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Mrs. Kimble

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  6,033 ratings  ·  806 reviews
A chameleon, an enigma, all things to all women -- a lifeline to which powerful needs and nameless longings may be attached -- Ken Kimble is revealed through the eyes of the women he seduces: Birdie, his first wife, struggling to hold herself together after his desertion; second wife, Joan, a lonely, tragic heiress who sees her unknowable husband as her last chance for hap...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published 2003)
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Hmmm. I have mixed feelings about this book. I couldn't put it down. And I liked the writing style a lot. I liked the ending. I guess I'm always looking for more philosophy or psychology behind things. That said, I think there was a lot of that here, just nothing that I could underline. It makes you think; about the relationships you are in, or who you are in relationships. I think she did an amazing job at portraying the characters too. Remarkable job. She's a very talented writer.
Sep 20, 2007 Yvette rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
Shelves: chicklit
Okay, this is a 3.50 stars. I couldn't commit to four. I have mixed feelings about this book. The author is very talented and does a wonderful job telling the story of this con man who takes advantage of his 3 wives in different stages of his life. However, I hated some of the characters and I felt so badly for his children, my heart would literally ache for them. I just wanted to scream "Wake up and smell the coffee, you idiots!" I guess Haigh does a wonderful job in making us detest some of th...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The compelling story of three women who were manipulated by one man. A con artist and a chameleon, Ken Kimble is a despicable character. The women he preyed upon were all very different yet all fell under his spell. Spanning 25 years, Mrs. Kimble is an intriguing page-turner that satisfyingly comes full circle.
This was a great quick read book.. At first I thought that the characters, where not that great and development of the characters was poor. Then I got into the heart of the book, and the revolving main character Ken Kimble. Ken Kimble is a casanova character, that is seen as an opportunist and pries of younger women and almost accidently falls into their lives... reminds me of the quote loves them & then leaves them." Intertwined throughout the whole story is the story of Charlie Kimble, it...more
How much is a woman willing to give -- or give up -- for love? That is the question at the center of this book. The tale of the three wives of a handsome sociopath, Mrs. Kimble traces the wreckage Ken Kimble leaves in his wake. Each woman is distinctly different, yet each is willing to sacrifice everything for the man she loves. While it is at times unavoidably depressing -- like watching a train smash into a car stalled on the tracks -- the resolution is, indeed, a tale of just rewards and rede...more
Very much enjoyed the book - the story, the writer and the clever writing. The narrative unfolds beautifully and we are treated to some exquisite, gently developed characterisation and a storyline that gradually builds and layers weaving between the past and present enigma that is Ken Kimble. Haigh works greatly in female characterisation and through her narrative of his three main 'love' affairs she explains the crumbling and disjointed world of a broken, selfish and quite mysterious man. Kimbl...more
I picked this up at a library sale for $0.25 based solely on the cover art and back cover blurb. I didn't have high expectations but I ended up devouring the book in about 2 days, and I would read more by this author.

Mrs. Kimble is a novel in 4 parts revolving around Ken Kimble, a lying, cheating minister-turned-real-estate-mogul and his 3 wives. Ken was born in 1929; the book begins and ends with his death in 1995.

Alcoholic Birdie (b. 1942, m. 1961, 2 children, divorced 1969) and Newsweek forei...more
I can't believe this author recieved writing accolades for this mediocre piece of writing.

It is understandable that she is attempting to write about the aftermath and ill effects of loving a con man and to show that even women you'd never suspect would get sucked in by someone like that do.

It happens all the time in real life and in real life it's easier to understand these bad choices women make to stay with men who are bad for them because you can see their many faceted character traits whic...more
Amy Hatvany
For me, Mrs. Kimble is an example of excellent fiction, sketching out a map, but allowing you to find your own way to a destination.

I was captivated by the at first glance simple, but expertly-layered story of three women who all fall for and marry the same man. It seems that many readers were put off by Mr. Kimble himself, and yes, he was a despicable man who used the women in his life to further his own selfish pursuits.

However, at least for me, the focus of the story wasn't meant to rest on...more
Jess Pillera
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Jennifer Haigh did an excellent job of taking three small stories and tying them together in one large story. She was effectively able to get me emotionally involved...I often found myself angry/annoyed with Ken Kimble and, at times, his wives also. She claims she did not write Ken Kimble to be a sociopath...but I can't see him as anything else. With each of his wives, he has the same personality and habits...just uses them in different ways to get what he needs/w...more
I bought this book at the University of Oregon Book Store with my birthday present (a gift certificate) from Casey. The book was recommended by the woman who runs the bookstore. It tells the tale of three women who all marry Mr. Kimble. A quick read, it was obvious all these women were looking for love they hoped Mr. Kimble could fulfill. In all three marriages, he falls far short as a selfish and self absorbed man. Hopefully, I find true love far different from this.

My first reading of this book went badly and I put it aside as the kind of book I don't like. But then, relenting before I took it back to the library, I did pretty much read it... but completely out of order, randomly, and then an attempt to get the story line more accurately. It's an interesting concept, to tell about one man (or snake, as you might prefer) through the three women he married and, of course, dumped. I did not think any of the characters were well-drawn. We knew that Mr. Kimball...more
Lauren Hidden
This book was given to me some time ago by a friend and has been sitting on my shelf for quite a while. I finally pulled it out and started reading it...I read the whole thing in about a 15-hour span (not including sleeping for the night!). This book totally engrossed me...the tale of 3 (sequential) wives of the same man...a man charming to all those he meets, yet a chameleon who seems utterly empty. Each woman he marries seems vulnerable for one reason or another (one is naive, one is recoverin...more
Maria (Ri)
I've had this book for quite a while, but finally found the right time to read it! I really enjoyed this story of a man who touches (and not usually in a very good way) so many lives. He can turn on the charm initially and draw women in only to leave them empty and wondering what went wrong. I particularly enjoyed the journey each woman took to reflect on the relationship with Ken and see the progression that they didn't realize was happening at the time. It raises questions about the importance...more
I had some trouble warming to this story - it was not until the second half, when Ken Kimble's third wife is introduced, that I really enjoyed reading & wanted to know what would happen to the characters. Ken is a user who appeals to flawed women ripe for being used. Wives 1 & 2 are sad, insecure women - it is not easy to like them but it is very easy to feel sorry for them. Were it not for Ken's son, Charlie, I'm not sure I would have kept reading - but Charlie is strong and acts more a...more
Dara S.
Another 5 star read for Jennifer Haigh. I can't explain it. I have read three of her books and each although totally different, has been a five star read. I guess I enjoy her writing. A guy who seems to be a chameleon marries three very different women. He woos them and then loses interest. Each woman seems to have a flaw that makes them drawn to his charms.
Sep 02, 2007 Andrew rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Psychological Profiles
Shelves: novel
This book is an interesting novel that sets up a portrait of a man largely through the perspective of the women he marries and the children they share. The man is not at all likeable, but seems to have the ability to tap the vulnerabilities of women. Very well written.
Bill Krieger
This is Jennifer Haigh's first novel. I read her book "The Condition" last month and liked it, so I doubled down. This book is pretty similar, and I like it as well.

Mrs. Kimble is a character study. The story is pretty small. It's NOT about a charismatic grifter-ish guy who scoops up some women and marries them over the course of his lifetime (that's a really bad summary, but what can I tell ya... he he). Kimble is a weird, distant guy, but the women just eat him up. (Girls. Shrug) The book IS a...more
Dennis Fischman
Despite the title, this is a portrait of three women (Birdie Bell, Joan Cohen, and Dinah Whitacre) who all end up marrying Ken Kimble, and the stories of their children, especially the oldest, Charlie Bell. To Mr. Kimble, perhaps, the women are all alike, filling a role he needs someone to play. For us, however, getting to know them in their strengths and heartbreaking frailty is the reason to read the book, and it's an excellent reason. They are both individuals and types, and among them they s...more
I wanted to give this book three stars but gave only two. It's a fast read, story is interesting. But writer has not given much thought to the development of characters.I just wished there was more psychological explanation behind every character's move.

I hated first Mrs kimble so much. You can't feel sympathy for such character. The way she forgot her childern after being left by her husband is truly detestable. It was so depressing to read about the childern staying hungry for days while she...more
When I started this book, it looked like I was doomed to hate it because the first Mrs. Kimble is a spineless, incompetent wreck of a mother who deals with her husband leaving her by drowning herself in alcohol. It just seems that there are too many books about disaffected housewives who forget who they are and turn into zombies.
But the first Mrs. Kimble is only the first of Ken Kimble's three wives, and he picks out more interesting and willful women the next times around.
Ken Kimble is never...more
I suppose I cheated when I read Jennifer’s Haigh’s third book, THE CONDITION, first. I say this because had I saw her name attached to a novel called Mrs. Kimble—about three women who, miraculously, married the same husband—I would have been reluctant to pick this up, if only because its premise sounds like a romance novel. But, as I’ve come to learn with Jennifer’s writing, what sounds like a simple story is never simple.

Mrs. Kimble begins in the 1970s with Birdie, a single mother whose husband...more
Ken Kimble is a bit of a ladies' man. His story is told over a number of years through his three wives - Birdie, a woman who mistakenly believes he will return to her, Joan, an heiress with a devastating secret, and Dinah, a woman who has too often been relegated to "behind-the- scenes". Each woman loves Ken for a different reason but his effect on all three will be equally important. And alongside Ken's story is the story of his son, Charlie, whose life is forever defined by the man his father...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 14, 2012 Cheryl rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Cheryl by: Sue from work
These were the stories of the three successive Mrs Kimbles, married to the one inscrutable Mr Kimble.
Somehow Ken Kimble was able to charm and seduce and marry these women, but the marriages quickly revealed there was nothing beneath his thin veneer. Really nothing. The wives learned they never knew their husband, and we the readers will never know him either. We are just as mystified as they are as to who this man is, where he came from, and why he was like he was. It was a nice maneuver that en...more
It was great! A wonderfully written story about a crafty, selfish man and the people he hurt. It sounds like it would be depressing, but it really wasn't. Parts of the story were quite frustrating; I wanted to shake those women who fell for Ken Kimble's charms. Yet that was just another layer of meaning behind the story - the way women fall head over heels in love, blind to their lover's faults until it's too late. It happens even to the average woman, not to mention Ken Kimble's victims. All th...more
Well-written story, no question, but terribly sad. I couldn't give it more than three stars for its depressing effect.

Don't get me wrong. No gory, tragic deaths (well, maybe one semi-tragic one but kind of expected), no major child abuse (just some neglect), just some sad, sad stories of three women who fall for the same rotten remorseless guy. They're well-evoked, and it's an absorbing read which is probably why my reaction is as strong as it is.

It's a good book, but don't read it if you're in...more
Pamela Small
Some reviewers stated MRS.KIMBLE was a quick read, but this reviewer did not find it to be a quick read or easy to read due to the disquieting dark content. It was emotionally unsettling, and I had to take numerous breaks in reading. Having said that, it is an important piece of literature. I was annoyed and outraged at the gullible wives who fell for Ken Kimble. I was sickened that bright women would allow themselves to be emotionally abused. by a pathological liar and an amoral narcissist. The...more
This was such a good book. Just a good novel to read. This would be a good summer on the beach book. It was a winding story about the three Mrs. Kimbles and how they all end up connecting through one man and the family that comes of his first and third marriage. I just enjoyed reading this book. It was a complex story that came to being and how familys interact and protect each other. It was sad in many ways; I didn't want to put it down.
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Jennifer Haigh is an American novelist and short story writer. Her most recent novel, FAITH (HarperCollins, 2011), tells the story of a beloved Boston priest accused of a molesting a child. Her previous novels include the New York Times bestsellers THE CONDITION and BAKER TOWERS, winner of the 2006 PEN/L. L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author. Her critically acclaimed debut...more
More about Jennifer Haigh...
Faith The Condition Baker Towers News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories The Boy Vanishes

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“Destiny, she’d learned, was written in the heavens; a person couldn’t take what the universe didn’t wish to give.” 4 likes
“When they touched it was like touching her own body. From childhood they had been the same height; their arms and legs and hands were still perfectly congruent. Only the centers of them were different, aching, fascinated, every part of them heated to the same temperature as the sun warmed pond.” 2 likes
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