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Mrs. Kimble

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Overview

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; his second wife, Joan, a lonely, tragic heiress who sees her unknowable husband as her last chance for happiness; and Dinah, a beautiful but damaged woman half his age.

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Mrs. Kimble

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Overview

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; his second wife, Joan, a lonely, tragic heiress who sees her unknowable husband as her last chance for happiness; and Dinah, a beautiful but damaged woman half his age.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
This ambitious debut novel focuses on three women, but it centers on their relationships with one man. Ken Kimble is a minister who converts himself into a real estate agent and a marrying machine. In rapid succession, he weds Birdie, Joan, and Dinah. Each woman is idealistic, yet self-doubting; each falls easy prey to the swift manipulations of ex-Reverend Ken. A graceful novel about women learning to heal themselves.
Judith Maas
Jennifer Haigh's Mrs. Kimble focuses a laser on that most irrational of decisions —whom to marry... Though the premise seems overly schematic, the result is an affecting tale of the power of a charismatic predator and the acquiescence of his victims.... Haigh is spare and low-key, masterful at delineating the quiet but revealing moment... Mrs. Kimble can be enjoyed as a sharply observed study of three women and the same stubborn, misplaced hopes that shape their lives.The Boston Globe
Susan Tekulve
This gripping debut novel examines how easily shrewd lies can be mistaken for acts of love. Spanning twenty-five years, it recounts the stories of three women who marry the same elusive man in succession. Alternately wise, charming and cold blooded, Ken Kimble is as charismatic as Mephistopheles, a sweet liar who promises each woman what she wants most of all in exchange for her complete devotion. To his first wife, Birdie Bell, he offers a way out of her small Southern town. To his second wife, Joan Cohen, a lonely heiress and breast cancer survivor, he offers hope for a final chance at love. His third wife, Dinah Whitacre, is a woman half his age who is disfigured by a birthmark on her face. Before marrying her, Kimble provides an operation that restores her beauty. With each successive marriage, Kimble gains wealth and worldly experience while his wives compromise themselves and fall apart. Haigh renders Kimble's sociopathic behavior in quiet, understated prose, carefully examining the mitigating circumstances that draw each woman to him. Though Kimble's rise to power drives the plot, the sophisticated portraits of his three wives provide the substance and intrigue in this book.
Publishers Weekly
The three women who successively marry Ken Kimble all believe they've found the perfect partner, and all are proven wrong in Haigh's uneven debut. Birdie is a student at a Southern Bible college in the early 1960s when she meets Kimble, then a handsome young choir director; they marry less than a year later, a day before she turns 19. After seven unfaithful years of marriage, Ken walks out on Birdie and their two young children, leaving the hard-drinking Birdie impoverished. Ken next surfaces in Florida in 1969, engaged to a formerly ambitious coed who dropped out of college to travel the country with him. He summarily dumps her to court 39-year-old Joan Cohen, a strong-willed Newsweek reporter who is recovering from breast cancer surgery. He marries her (after falsely telling her that he's Jewish) and joins her rich uncle in his real estate business. A few years and one miscarriage later, the marriage has quietly soured, and a few years after that Joan has a recurrence of cancer and dies. Ken's third wife is the much-younger Dinah, who used to be his children's baby-sitter. This marriage survives Ken's rise to prominence in Washington, D.C., as the founder of a successful charity. Haigh's women are believable, if a touch clich d, but Ken is a cipher. Haigh leaves us guessing about his motivations, and his irresistible appeal to these women-especially the tough-minded Joan-also remains murky. The novel has sharply incisive passages, but Haigh's thin characterizations don't quite live up to the promise of the clever, intricate premise. #1 Book Sense selection for March/April; Author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062062611
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 5/3/2011
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 394
  • Sales rank: 784,180
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennifer Haigh

Jennifer Haigh is the author of the short story collection News From Heaven and four critically acclaimed novels:  Faith, The Condition, Baker Towers and Mrs. Kimble. Her books have won both the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and the PEN/L.L. Winship Award for work by a New England writer. Her short fiction has been published widely, in The Atlantic, Granta, The Best American Short Stories 2012, and many other publications. She lives in the Boston area. 

Biography

The daughter of a librarian and a high school English teacher, Jennifer Haigh was raised with her older brother in the coal-mining town of Barnesboro, Pennsylvania. Although she began writing as a student at Dickinson College, her undergraduate degree was in French. After college, she moved to France on a Fulbright Scholarship, returning to the U.S. in 1991.

Haigh spent most of the decade working in publishing, first for Rodale Press in Pennsylvania, then for Self magazine in New York City. It was not until her 30th birthday that she was bitten by the writing bug. She moved to Baltimore (where it was cheaper to live), supported herself as a yoga instructor, and began to publish short stories in various literary magazines. She was accepted into the prestigious Iowa Writers' Workshop and enrolled in their two-year M.F.A. program. While she was at Iowa, she completed the manuscript for her first novel, Mrs. Kimble. She also caught the attention of a literary agent scouting the grad school for new talent and was signed to a two-book contract. Haigh was astonished at how quickly everything came together.

Mrs. Kimble became a surprise bestseller when it was published in 2003. Readers and critics alike were bowled over by this accomplished portrait of a "serial marrier" and the three wives whose lives he ruins. The Washington Post raved, "It's a clever premise, backed up by three remarkably well-limned Mrs. Kimbles, each of whom comes tantalizingly alive thanks to the author's considerable gift for conjuring up a character with the tiniest of details." The novel went on to win the PEN/Hemingway Award for Outstanding First Fiction.

Skeptics who wondered if Haigh's success had been mere beginner's luck were set straight when Baker Towers appeared in 2005. A multigenerational saga set in a Pennsylvania coal-mining community in the years following WWII, the novel netted Haigh the PEN/L.L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author. (Haigh lives in Massachusetts.) The New York Times called it "captivating," and Kirkus Reviews described it as "[a]lmost mythic in its ambition, somewhere between Oates and Updike country, and thoroughly satisfying." High praise indeed for a sophomore effort.

In fact, Haigh continues to produce dazzling literary fiction in both its short and long forms, much of it centered on the interwoven lives of families. When asked why she returns so often to this theme, she answers, " In fact, every story is a family story: we all come from somewhere, and it's impossible to write well-developed characters without giving a great deal of thought to their childhood environments, their early experiences, and whose genetic material they're carrying around."

Good To Know

In our interview with Haigh, she shared some fun facts about herself:

"All my life I've fantasized about being invisible. I love the idea of watching people when they don't know they're being observed. Novelists get to do that all the time!"

"When I was a child, I told my mother I wanted to grow up to be a genie, a gas station attendant, or a writer. I hope I made the right choice."

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    1. Hometown:
      Boston, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 16, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      Barnesboro, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      B.A., Dickinson College, 1990; M.F.A., Iowa Writers' Workshop, 2002

Read an Excerpt

Birdie
Virginia
1969
Charlie's mother sat cross-legged on the living room floor, her nightgown pulled over her knees, a spill of photographs scattered across the faded carpet. Years later he would remember the sound of the scissors' blades gnawing into the glossy paper, his little sister Jody wailing in the background, the determined look on their mother's face.

She had been drinking; her teeth were stained blue from the wine. She worked methodically, the tip of her tongue peeping out the corner of her mouth. The defaced photos she stacked in a neat pile: Christmases, family picnics, Fourths of July, each with a jagged oval where his father's face had been. One by one she slid the photos back into their frames. She climbed unsteadily to her feet and placed the frames back on the mantelpiece, the sideboard table, the naked hooks dotting the cracked plaster wall.

"Better," she said under her breath. She took Jody by the hand and led her into the kitchen. Charlie dropped to his knees and picked through the pile of trash on the floor. He made a pile of his father's heads, some smiling, some wearing a cap or sunglasses. He filled his pockets with the tiny heads and scrabbled out the back door.

His father was there and then he wasn't. A long time ago he'd taken them to church. Charlie could remember being lifted onto the hard pew, the large freckled hand covering his entire back. He remembered playing with the gold watchband peeking out from under his father's sleeve, and the red imprint it left on the skin underneath.

His father had a special way of eating. He rolled back the cuffs of his shirt, then buttered two slices of bread and placed them on either side of the plate. Finally he mixed all his food into a big pile -- peas, roast, mashed potatoes -- and ate loudly, the whole meal in a few minutes. Charlie had tried mixing his own food together, but found himself unable to eat it; the foods disgusted him once they touched, and his mother got mad at the mess on his plate.

His father made pancakes, and sucked peppermints, and whistled when he drove them in the car. On the floor of his closet, he kept a coffee can full of change. Each night lying in bed, Charlie would wait for the sound of his father emptying his pockets into the can, nickels and dimes landing with recognizable sounds, some tinny, some dry and dusty. It was always the last thing that happened. Once he heard the coins fall, Charlie would go to sleep.

Birdie was unwell. It was mid-morning when she opened her eyes, the room filled with sunlight. She rolled over and felt a sharp pain over her right eye. The other side of the bed was still made, the pillow tucked neatly under the chenille spread. She had remained a considerate sleeper, as if her sleeping self hadn't yet figured out that the whole bed was hers alone.

She lay there a moment, blinking. She had been dreaming of her childhood. In the dream she was small, younger than Charlie; she and Curtis Mabry, the housekeeper's son, had hidden in the laundry hampers. "You nearly give me a heart attack," said the housekeeper when she discovered them. "You're lucky I don't tell your mother."

Through the thin walls she heard movement, the bright tinkling music of morning cartoons. She lifted herself out of bed, her nylon nightgown clinging to her back. In the living room the children looked up from the television.

"Mummy," Jody squealed, springing off the couch and running to hug her leg. She wore shortie pajamas, printed with blue daisies.

Birdie wondered for a moment who'd dressed the child for bed. She couldn't remember doing it herself.

"Can I go outside?" said Charlie. He lay sprawled on the rug, too close to the television.

"May I go outside please," she corrected him. "Yes, you may."

He scrambled to his feet, already in socks and sneakers. The screen door spanked shut behind him. Birdie unwrapped Jody's small arms from her leg. "Let me get you some breakfast," she said. The children seemed to lie in wait for her, to ambush her the moment she crawled out of bed, full of energy and raging needs. At such times it could be altogether too much -- her stomach squeezed, the sign of a rough morning ahead -- for one person.

She took Jody into the kitchen. It was a point of pride for Birdie: her kitchen was always immaculate. The room simply wasn't used. She hadn't cooked in weeks, hadn't shopped except for brief trips to Beckwith's corner store, to buy wine and overpriced loaves of bread.

She found the box in the cupboard and poured the cereal into Jody's plastic bowl, decorated with pictures of a cartoon cat. She opened the refrigerator and a sour smell floated into the kitchen. The milk had spoiled.

"Oops," she said, smiling brightly. She ought to pour it down the drain, but the very thought of sour milk turned her stomach; she left the carton where it was. She eyed the wine bottle corked with a paper napkin. Beside it an unopened bottle, the one she hadn't got to last night. She closed the door.

"Looks like it's toast for us," she said. She put two slices of bread in the toaster. She hadn't finished the bottle, so why did she feel so wretched? On Sunday night she'd had two full bottles, and not so much as a headache when she woke the next morning.

The toast popped, the sound a jolt to her heart. Perhaps she hadn't overindulged, just consumed unwisely. She'd already learned that red wine hit her hardest, that a small meal -- toast or crackers -- cushioned the stomach and allowed her to drink more. Beyond that, the workings of alcohol were still a mystery. It seemed to hit her harder at certain times in her monthly cycle; why, she couldn't imagine. She wondered if this were true for other women. She had no one to ask. Her mother was dead, and anyway had never touched anything stronger than lemonade. Her father's new wife probably did drink, but Birdie couldn't imagine talking to Helen about this or anything else.

"Butter?" Jody asked.

"Sorry, button." Birdie spread the bread with grape jelly and thought of the wine.

She would have been married eight years that Tuesday.

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First Chapter

Mrs. Kimble
A Novel

Birdie

Virginia

1969

Charlie's mother sat cross-legged on the living room floor, her nightgown pulled over her knees, a spill of photographs scattered across the faded carpet. Years later he would remember the sound of the scissors' blades gnawing into the glossy paper, his little sister Jody wailing in the background, the determined look on their mother's face.

She had been drinking; her teeth were stained blue from the wine. She worked methodically, the tip of her tongue peeping out the corner of her mouth. The defaced photos she stacked in a neat pile: Christmases, family picnics, Fourths of July, each with a jagged oval where his father's face had been. One by one she slid the photos back into their frames. She climbed unsteadily to her feet and placed the frames back on the mantelpiece, the sideboard table, the naked hooks dotting the cracked plaster wall.

"Better," she said under her breath. She took Jody by the hand and led her into the kitchen. Charlie dropped to his knees and picked through the pile of trash on the floor. He made a pile of his father's heads, some smiling, some wearing a cap or sunglasses. He filled his pockets with the tiny heads and scrabbled out the back door.

His father was there and then he wasn't. A long time ago he'd taken them to church. Charlie could remember being lifted onto the hard pew, the large freckled hand covering his entire back. He remembered playing with the gold watchband peeking out from under his father's sleeve, and the red imprint it left on the skin underneath.

His father had a special way of eating. He rolled back the cuffs of his shirt, then buttered two slices of bread and placed them on either side of the plate. Finally he mixed all his food into a big pile -- peas, roast, mashed potatoes -- and ate loudly, the whole meal in a few minutes. Charlie had tried mixing his own food together, but found himself unable to eat it; the foods disgusted him once they touched, and his mother got mad at the mess on his plate.

His father made pancakes, and sucked peppermints, and whistled when he drove them in the car. On the floor of his closet, he kept a coffee can full of change. Each night lying in bed, Charlie would wait for the sound of his father emptying his pockets into the can, nickels and dimes landing with recognizable sounds, some tinny, some dry and dusty. It was always the last thing that happened. Once he heard the coins fall, Charlie would go to sleep.


Birdie was unwell. It was mid-morning when she opened her eyes, the room filled with sunlight. She rolled over and felt a sharp pain over her right eye. The other side of the bed was still made, the pillow tucked neatly under the chenille spread. She had remained a considerate sleeper, as if her sleeping self hadn't yet figured out that the whole bed was hers alone.

She lay there a moment, blinking. She had been dreaming of her childhood. In the dream she was small, younger than Charlie; she and Curtis Mabry, the housekeeper's son, had hidden in the laundry hampers. "You nearly give me a heart attack," said the housekeeper when she discovered them. "You're lucky I don't tell your mother."

Through the thin walls she heard movement, the bright tinkling music of morning cartoons. She lifted herself out of bed, her nylon nightgown clinging to her back. In the living room the children looked up from the television.

"Mummy," Jody squealed, springing off the couch and running to hug her leg. She wore shortie pajamas, printed with blue daisies.

Birdie wondered for a moment who'd dressed the child for bed. She couldn't remember doing it herself.

"Can I go outside?" said Charlie. He lay sprawled on the rug, too close to the television.

"May I go outside please," she corrected him. "Yes, you may."

He scrambled to his feet, already in socks and sneakers. The screen door spanked shut behind him. Birdie unwrapped Jody's small arms from her leg. "Let me get you some breakfast," she said. The children seemed to lie in wait for her, to ambush her the moment she crawled out of bed, full of energy and raging needs. At such times it could be altogether too much -- her stomach squeezed, the sign of a rough morning ahead -- for one person.

She took Jody into the kitchen. It was a point of pride for Birdie: her kitchen was always immaculate. The room simply wasn't used. She hadn't cooked in weeks, hadn't shopped except for brief trips to Beckwith's corner store, to buy wine and overpriced loaves of bread.

She found the box in the cupboard and poured the cereal into Jody's plastic bowl, decorated with pictures of a cartoon cat. She opened the refrigerator and a sour smell floated into the kitchen. The milk had spoiled.

"Oops," she said, smiling brightly. She ought to pour it down the drain, but the very thought of sour milk turned her stomach; she left the carton where it was. She eyed the wine bottle corked with a paper napkin. Beside it an unopened bottle, the one she hadn't got to last night. She closed the door.

"Looks like it's toast for us," she said. She put two slices of bread in the toaster. She hadn't finished the bottle, so why did she feel so wretched? On Sunday night she'd had two full bottles, and not so much as a headache when she woke the next morning.

The toast popped, the sound a jolt to her heart. Perhaps she hadn't overindulged, just consumed unwisely. She'd already learned that red wine hit her hardest, that a small meal -- toast or crackers -- cushioned the stomach and allowed her to drink more. Beyond that, the workings of alcohol were still a mystery. It seemed to hit her harder at certain times in her monthly cycle; why, she couldn't imagine. She wondered if this were true for other women. She had no one to ask. Her mother was dead, and anyway had never touched anything stronger than lemonade. Her father's new wife probably did drink, but Birdie couldn't imagine talking to Helen about this or anything else.

"Butter?" Jody asked.

"Sorry, button." Birdie spread the bread with grape jelly and thought of the wine.

She would have been married eight years that Tuesday.

Mrs. Kimble
A Novel
. Copyright © by Jennifer Haigh. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Reading Group Guide

Our Book Club Recommendation
Jennifer Haigh’s Mrs. Kimble is a book about illusions, about the secrets we keep from one another, and the consequences of that secrecy. Through portraits of three women, each married in turn to the same mysterious man, the author explores what happens when a seemingly ordinary person maintains a double life – and the sometimes explosive results when secrets come out. While Haigh’s tale has elements in common with a conventional mystery or thriller, her interest is in the emotional world of those who discover -- sometimes too late -- that a loved one is not at all what he seems.

Mrs. Kimble is first and foremost about the consequences of deception in marriage, the seductive powers of Ken Kimble’s ever-shifting persona, and the consequences for each wife, as she begins to see beneath the appealing surface he crafts for her. Each story provides opportunity to discuss this portrait of the secretive personality, why it is that Kimble can so easily -- and believably -- transform himself to meet different women’s ideals.

Haigh’s novel also raises larger questions about how much self-deception can play a part in the making of a relationship. In each of the marriages portrayed in Mrs. Kimble, the wife subtly participates in the maintenance of silence about the husband’s past -- and sometimes about much of his present life. Without blaming them for his actions, the author offers us something more complex than mere villainy on the part of a selfish man.

In their pursuit of what is perhaps a false notion of love, these three women choose to look past danger signs, not merely about Ken Kimble but also about themselves. Haigh invites us to talk about how it is that our fears and shame are exacerbated by silence, and how our illusions about ourselves can stand between us and the reality of life, and of love. (Bill Tipper)

From the Publisher

Introduction
Deftly exploring the poignant landscape of longing, Mrs. Kimble traces the lives of three women who marry the same opportunistic man, a chameleon named Ken Kimble. He seduces each of them with sensitivity and generosity, and with his obsessively perfected physique. But marriage reveals Ken's true persona--elusive, workaholic, and hungry for extramarital affairs. All three of his wives are sustained by the hope that he will once again become the hero they fell in love with. For Ken's children, the reality of their father's absence is at once devastating and indelible. And for Ken himself, the price of maintaining illusions appears to be negligible.

Spanning four decades in the life of a tantalizingly unknowable man, Mrs. Kimble vividly portrays the pain of unequal affections. In a voice that is neither maudlin nor sentimental, Jennifer Haigh has crafted a debut novel that captures journeys of the heart in a wholly original way. We hope that the following questions will enhance your discussion of this provocative triumph in fiction.

Discussion Topics
1. Consider the similarities and differences among Birdie, Joan, and Dinah. Is there a common thread that attracts Ken to each of them?

2. Joan and Dinah have physical traits that cause them to feel self-conscious and prone to rejection. Do you consider Birdie's vulnerabilities to be equally physical in nature, or are they purely emotional?

3. What motivates Ken? In your opinion, what enables him to so suddenly shift from being charming to vapid? To what do you attribute his compulsive dishonesty?

4. The novel's title reflects the tradition of taking a husband's surname after marriage. All of Ken's wives change their last names and become Mrs. Kimble. What does this indicate about the tradition, gender, power, and identity in Ken's marriages?

5. Birdie appears in all three parts of the novel. What were your initial impressions of her? Did your opinion of her shift as her life story unfolded?

6. American society experienced significant changes between the 1960s and the 1990s. Did this appear to affect Ken's various marriages, or was his behavior consistent across the mores of all decades?

7. How might Birdie's life have been different had her father not interfered with her attraction to Curtis Mabry? What is the effect of the Mabry family's presence in the novel?

8. Though the novel's characters are for the most part indifferent to spirituality, religion provides a frequent backdrop in Mrs. Kimble. What is the significance of Ken's Bible school past? How did you react when he convinced Joan of his Jewish heritage?

9. Do you believe that Ken's abandonment of Birdie was the sole cause of her emotional breakdown? How might her life have played out if he hadn't left her?

10. How does Ken's departure affect his children's attitude toward love? Do their relationships reflect or defy their parents' example?

11. Jennifer Haigh builds the storyline of Mrs. Kimble around brief scenes rather than lengthy, uninterrupted chapters. What is the effect of this technique?

12. Ken is not the only predatory man in the novel; Birdie is exploited by the mechanic she meets as a waitress, for example. Do the novel's characterizations of men and women match your own experience with the opposite sex?

13. With which of Ken's wives were you most able to relate? How would you have responded in each of their situations?

14. Though Ken is the most obviously secretive character in the novel, all of his wives possess a certain degree of secrecy and denial. Do you believe that it's possible to lead a completely honest life -- including self honesty?

15. Ken is an enigma, yet his character is drawn in rich detail. Discuss the significance of his vanity, his attraction to younger women, and his apparent inability to love or show genuine affection. What is the relevance of his conservative childhood, particularly the death of his brother?

16. Food is mentioned throughout the novel, including Charlie's perpetual hunger as a child; Birdie's botched attempts to buy groceries; Ken's aversion to seafood, which causes Joan to tailor her menus; and Dinah's Thanksgiving reunion and culinary expertise. Discuss some of your most meaningful memories regarding food.

17. What makes Ken's cause of death particularly ironic and fitting?

18. While there are clearly three Mrs. Kimbles, are there also three Mr. Kimbles? Does each wife represent a separate identity for Ken?

19. What variations on love (parental, romantic, erotic) are presented in Mrs. Kimble? Which characters appear to experience the most authentic forms of love?

20. The novel closes with Ken's children brought together by Dinah. Charlie embraces his role as Brendan's big brother and father figure. What do you predict for the family after Ken's death?

About the Author:
Jennifer Haigh's short fiction has appeared in Good Housekeeping, Alaska Quarterly Review, The Idaho Review, Global City Review, and elsewhere. She is a graduate of Dickinson College and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where she was awarded a 2002 James A. Michener Fellowship. Raised in small-town Pennsylvania, she now lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 79 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(6)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(3)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 79 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    FEMINISM CAN'T BEAT MARRIAGE!

    Why do women marry? Why do women marry the wrong man? "Mrs. Kimble" addresses marriage from the 1960's through the 1990's. What makes a woman want to marry? Social pressure? Need? Dreams? In this book, one man charms his way into the lives of three women and leaves behind questionable love, confusion and children. That is nothing compared to what he takes from each marriage.

    I enjoyed this book very much. It is an easy read, but glossed over years. I would have liked to read more about the characters through the years rather than over the years. Maybe it was written this way to show the main character's character. I do recommend reading "Mrs. Kimble".

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Mrs. Jones' keeping up with the outdated standard

    Amazing consolidation of generational views towards how both women see marriage in their lives and how men see women in marriage. The three women Mr. Kimble ends up with are unique, intelligent and challenged women in their own right, add him to the mix and the story is not always going to end happy. As much as one would want to blame him for all the errors and complications in their lives, the women played their own cards and were always content settling for less except when kids were involved. I feel this book highlights exactly why kids are not a valid reason to stay in failed marriages. It was refreshing to read a book about real life that wasn't plastic, but real for a change. I am delighted this book was recommended to me and I enjoyed it much more than expected. However, it is not a book for everyone, if you are the kind of person who believes true love conquers all, don't read this book, it will be too real for your perceptions.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    Who is the Real Mrs. Kimble By: Vanessa S.

    What do a poor drunk woman, a rich woman with breast cancer, and a waitress have in common? The answer is Ken Kimble. Hence the books title Mrs. Kimble. Haigh winds you around the bizarre twists and turns of Ken Kimble¿s love life.<BR/> Ken Kimble has a very perplexing personality. First, Haigh makes the reader believe that Ken Kimble is a choir director at a Southern Bible college. The thing that sets a little doubt in the readers mind about Mr. Kimble is that he runs off and marries one of his students, Birdie. Birdie and Ken have two children, but one day Ken leaves. Not only does this cause a lot of emotional damage on the children, it makes Birdie turn to alcohol to solve her problems.<BR/> Joan becomes Kimble¿s next wife/victim. The bells go off in your head that something is not quite right about him because he was engaged to another woman before he stared dating Joan. In this stage of his life, Ken is staged as a hippie, until he meets Joan¿s uncle and then he goes into real estate. Joan¿s father had just recently died and she had been living in his mansion. At their wedding, Ken makes Joan believe he is Jewish. Remember he was a teacher at a Baptist school in his last marriage. Joan wants children. Fortunately Joan and Ken aren¿t able to have any. Ken decides to do another shady thing; he kidnaps his children from his first marriage. Luckily the kids are smart enough to run away back to their alcoholic mother. Joan gets breast cancer, again and dies. She leaves Ken everything.<BR/> A few years later, Ken marries yet again. This time he marries the babysitter of his first marriage. He marries a waitress, Dinah. In the last chapter of his life, Ken becomes a very rich man. He buys houses and then sells them for cheap to low-income families. This doesn¿t make sense how he is making a profit. Obviously he isn¿t building them up to the government¿s standards. The government realizes this and goes after Kimble. As always, two steps ahead, Ken goes on the lamb.<BR/> What baffles me is it appears as if each woman becomes happier with Ken Kimble in her life. Obviously he is fake and has multiple personalities. He has issues and needs counseling. Each time things get rough in his marriages he leaves.<BR/> Haigh used a really neat way of defining the narrator. She titled the chapters by who the main narrator is. Interestingly, there are only three chapters. Of course they are titled Birdie, Joan and Dinah. Haigh does a very good job of using imagery. If you really analyze the story being told and the diction she uses, you get a better understanding of what she is trying to say to you. <BR/> Mrs. Kimble is really enjoyable book to read. It¿s one of those you just can¿t put down. I would recommend this book to a female audience because they would appreciate the essence of the novel.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2009

    Not my favorite book

    I thought this was a fairly simple read. But what was the point? It was about a man who married three times. I think it would've been a much more facscinating read if he'd been married to all three at the same time...and the plot unfolds as the three women figure things out.

    The way the author conveniently threw in Mr. Kimble's son in the last few pages of the book was misleading since the back cover said the son was interwoven throughout the story.

    Also, I thought it was very strange that the author wrote - also in the last few pages - about wife #2's brother coming to visit wife #3 and telling her things (i.e. Mr. K's lies) about his life with wife #2. What was the point? She already knew he was a loser. It's not like that conversation added much and it was just strange.

    I noticed an error at the end of the book, too. Brandan mentioned he didn't want to end up like his dad in a hospital bed with tubes...yet at this point in the book his dad was missing. Perhaps he was talking about when his dad had a heart attack, but that had already passed and it read like an error, I thought.

    Not a book I can reccommend. The wives were depressing, the children were troubled, and the husband was a loser. Not a fun, entertaining escape of a read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2009

    Great book

    I couldn't stop reading this book. It has a great story line. A great read for the beach or a rainy day.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2008

    Read it practically straight through

    I really enjoyed this book. It is definitely a quick read. I wanted to get to the end to see what would happen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2014

    Yjbgghjg

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  • Posted April 24, 2014

    I loved this book, it was never boring. 

    I loved this book, it was never boring. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Constant reader

    Enjoyed this story look forward to more from this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2012

    A good Read

    Mrs. Kimble gives the story of the three wives of Mr. Kimble. Through the lives of his wives, we learn what kind of man Mr. Kimble is....interesting approach using different points of view to tell the story in three segments.....

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  • Posted December 8, 2011

    I really liked it!

    I purchased this book when it was on sale. I did not have high hopes but there were several high ratings. I really enjoyed it. It was a quick read but I could not put it down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Read Ms. Haigh's books in reverse order; rarely is an earlier book NOT disappointing!

    Ms. Haigh is an author of sympathetic character development, attempting (and usually accomplishing) whom you will warm/not warm to without you at first realizing it. An incredible ability to leave you with questions you want to have answered though not necessarily intricate to the story. The novels only get better with each writing. My "repetoire" is quite eclectic, but she has definitely been added to my list of excellent authors, e.g. Conroy.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    Mrs. Kimble

    I was pleasantly surprised by Mrs. Kimble. I don't normally buy books from outside sources because I belong to a book club and usually order from that company. I recently joined a family book club and Mrs. Kimble was the suggested reading for the next get-together. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down. Went on vacation with it and every chance I got, I was reading Mrs. Kimble.

    I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes books dealing with relationships.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 23, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    Really enjoyed this book!

    This was a very entertaining and easy read book. I found myself trying to tell these characters to run as fast they could to get away from Mr. Kimble. I would recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    loved to hate him.

    just thought it was a simple good read. loved to hate him!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    Very good book

    Very well written, fun book to read. I really enjoyed the 3 different perspectives on the same 'Loser'

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2008

    Liar, Liar....What you try to AVOID

    The character was very interesting 'Mr. Ken Kimble'. The book spans his life...from the end, and then we relive it from the beginning of his marital life. Ken Kimble is a leach--sucking the good of all the women and then disposing them when all the 'goodness' is gone from them. The author had a great story line, and reveals little by little to keep you interested. Very fun read, and I will read more by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2008

    What a creep...

    I loved this book. The main character is a total creep but it was interesting to see what he would do next. I really liked this one alot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2007

    Excellent Story Line

    Read this book!! I fell in love with every character minus Mr. Kimble. It kept me turning pages and wondering what would happen next. I read a lot and this is a good one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2007

    Quick read, but not great

    This book was OK. I think the major problem I had with it was I didn't really like any of the characters so I had a hard time caring what happened to them. It was a mindless quick read. Sometimes that's what your looking for. If it is, then this is the book for you.

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