Publisher: Harper Perennial
Source: TLC Book Tours
Rating: Highly Recommended
"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."
Synopsis: 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.
Author: Jennifer Haigh is the author of the New York Times bestseller Baker Towers, winner of the 2006 PEN/L. L. Winship Award for outstanding book by a New England author; Mrs. Kimble, which won the PEN/Hemingway Award for debut fiction and was a finalist for the Book Sense Book of the Year; and The Condition.
My Thoughts: I loved Mrs. Kimble! It is my favorite of Jennifer's books so far. The story is instantly intriguing with cleverly intertwined characters. Each character is linked by a central character, Ken Kimble. The story revolves around his three wives and the children he had as a result of those marriages. The women couldn't be more different, each has their own unique story, their own pain and a way of coping. While my heart hurt for these women, I also wanted to smack them for even thinking of getting involved with Ken Kimble. Unfortunately the story has a very true ring to it. Many women today still fall under the same traps as these women did. Out of all the characters, I have to say the children tugged on my heart strings the most. They were brought into the world innocent and were hurt in the process. For that reason alone, though there is many more, Ken Kimble is a very unlikeable character.
The reader is introduced to Birdie, the first wife, who drown her sorrows in liquor after she and her two children are abandoned by Ken Kimble. I have to say, I wanted to smack her. While I can understand the evident pain and shock, she really needed to get over it and pay attention to her hurting children. Her self-pity only increased their pain and suffering. The second wife, Joan, is a lonely woman. She had given up on the idea of love and companionship until Ken Kimble arrived. When he changes all that she is given a renewed sense of spirit. She is the only wife that was left completely alone since they did not have children. Dinah, the third wife, is the youngest. Her marriage to Ken made me sick since she is half his age and was the former baby sitter of his two older children by his first wife. However, she was the only wife who saw Ken Kimble for who he was.
The novel is wonderfully written. I connected with each character and felt their emotions vividly. The story isn't as much about Mr. Kimble and rightfully so. Though he is the reason for the story, it's about his wives, the people they are his children and the pain and hurt his actions left on them all. To me the story is a warning to women who fall into these relationships. All three women were smart and intelligent yet they let their own insecurities be their downfall. Ken Kimble is the type of man who deceives easily, using others weaknesses against them. I found myself frustrated with the wives as they all fell for his deceit. There is so much in this novel. I feel I could re-read it and gain even more insight. Again, Jennifer's writing reminds me of Jodi Picoult, thought the styles are slightly different. It was a wonderful read.