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Mrs. Kimble

3.63  ·  Rating details ·  7,813 Ratings  ·  971 Reviews
“Beautiful, devastating and complex.” —Chicago Tribune

The award-winning debut novel from Jennifer Haigh, author of BakerTowers, The Condition, and Faith, tells the story of Birdie, Joan,and Dinah, three women who marry the same charismatic, predatory, and enigmaticopportunist: Ken Kimble. Resonating with emotional intensity and narrativeinnovation reminiscent of Ann Patche
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Harper Perennial (first published January 1st 2003)
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Angelica Dead. Go back to the first chapter, A Man Dies Alone.

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Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Ken Kimble is a chameleon who can change his colors to adapt to any situation. He has very good instincts about the needs of the three women that he will eventually marry. The three lonely women who will become Mrs Kimble each have a vulnerability: Birdie is emotionally fragile, Joan is fighting breast cancer, and Dinah has a large birthmark. They easily fall under his spell, and ignore the fact that he has no friends or family, and that they know nothing about his past. He's a smooth talking ma ...more
Sep 20, 2007 rated it liked it
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
Erin Rouleau
Aug 26, 2007 rated it liked it
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.
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Hatvany
Oct 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
May 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
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.
Aug 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Nov 30, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booksreadin2004
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.
Sep 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 28, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
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
Jess Pillera
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
Destiny, she’d learned, was written in the heavens; a person couldn’t take what the universe didn’t wish to give.

I recently had a six hour flight and, at over 400 pages, Mrs. Kimble fit the time nicely: it was an interesting enough read to fill the hours, with nothing deep or difficult about it to tax the brain. When I got to my hotel, I discreetly abandoned the book in the lobby – hoping someone else might benefit from an interesting enough read to fill some hours, neither deep nor difficult
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rounding up from 3.5 stars. For the record, I've only read this book once--unsure why Goodreads has it marked as twice.

Lauren Hidden
Aug 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

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
Dec 23, 2014 rated it liked it
This book looks at women's lives and why they seem to think they are not whole until they are married. No matter how smart or independent they are, it all comes down to "get married". Is it how we have been socialized? If you are quiet, good, and pretty you will get a man. That is the prize. If you are smart, it is best to hide it so you don't intimidate a man. This book is the story of how one ordinary man - not necessarily a failure or success story - but how this ordinary man can talk three w ...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 rated it it was amazing
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.
Karen Bartlett
Jennifer Haigh's debut novel covers a period of 25 years, during which Ken Kimble weaves his way into the lives of three different women, all of whom are needy, or damaged and desperate in some way. However, the women are all of different ages and generations, with different expectations of marriage and relationships. Ken Kimble is to each of them a type of saviour, entering their lives at a time when they most need someone, but it's not until he has left them that they are able to see him for w ...more
Mar 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I'm a big fan of Jennifer Haigh's writing -- and I worked my way backward through all of it. Finishing this debut novel means I have to wait for her next book to be published. I'll try to be patient.

There is a common thread in her novels, of family dysfunction and neglect, and the psychic cost to children of this neglect. The story starts at the end of an unnamed man's life; he has a heart attack sitting in traffic. Who was this mystery man who leaves more than a half a million in a Florida bank
Apr 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Bill Krieger
Aug 10, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual Rating 4.5 stars

The story of Mrs Kimble spans over thirty years in the life of Ken Kimble. Broken into three parts, it details the narratives of the three women who married Ken Kimble at various stages in his life. These are three very different women of different ages; Birdie, his first wife, his second wife Joan and his third wife Dinah. In addition, thrown into the mix are his two young children from his first marriage and his teenage son from his third marriage.

Jennifer Haigh has mana
Dennis Fischman
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
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
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 22, 2015 11:16AM  
  • Banned for Life
  • A Perfect Arrangement
  • Family History
  • Any Bitter Thing
  • Disobedience
  • The Breakdown Lane
  • Sweet Ruin
  • Stiltsville
  • Marriage
  • Household Words
  • Good Family: A Novel
  • Singing Boy
  • Homeland / The Bean Trees / Pigs in Heaven
  • Happiness Sold Separately
  • The Buffalo Soldier
  • Say When
  • Leeway Cottage
  • The Monk Downstairs
Jennifer Haigh is an American novelist and short story writer. Her new novel, HEAT AND LIGHT (Ecco, 2016), looks at a Pennsylvania town divided by the controversy over fracking. Her last novel, FAITH, about a beloved Boston priest accused of a molesting a child in his parish, explores the consequences of this accusation for an entire community.

Haigh's critically acclaimed debut novel MRS. KIMBLE
More about Jennifer Haigh...

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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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