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Mrs. Kimble
Jennifer Haigh
Adult Fiction HAIGH

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From 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 clichd, 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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

The title of this first novel refers to three women, each of whom marries an opportunist named Ken Kimble. The first wife, Birdie, is Ken's student at a small Christian college. With her, he has two children. Then he seduces another student and deserts his family, leaving Birdie to bring up the children alone. The second Mrs. Kimble is a successful career woman, reassessing her priorities in the wake of her mastectomy. Ken capitalizes on Joan's neediness and sweeps her off her feet. He also ingratiates himself with her uncle, a real estate tycoon. When Joan and Uncle Floyd die, Ken inherits from both. The third Mrs. Kimble had been the first Mrs. Kimble's babysitter. A chance meeting reunites Ken and Dinah: during their marriage, Ken sets up a real estate scam, purporting to make housing available to the deserving poor, and later disappears when his scheme is uncovered. Haigh creates characters ranging from wicked to wonderful, from warm to wily. Her prose is beautifully crafted to highlight life's contrasts. Original and compelling, this debut is recommended for most collections.-Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Coll. of Continuing Education Lib., Providence (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Ken Kimble
College chaplain.

Ken's wife; Southern belle.

Age: 39
Recently underwent a mastectomy.

Has a facial disfigurement; once babysat for Ken and Birdie.

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