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Extended Audio Sample Mrs. Kimble, by Jennifer Haigh Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (4,726 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Haigh Narrator: Martha Plimpton Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In her masterful first novel Mrs. Kimble, Jennifer Haigh delivers the compelling story of three women who marry the same man, an enigmatic opportunist named Ken Kimble.

Birdie. 1961.

He was the choir director at a Southern Bible college. At practice she followed his hands with her eyes. Watching him, she thought of the Pietà: Mary weeping over her son’s crucified body, his naked arms smooth as milk, his chest delicately ribbed like the underside of a flower. She imagined his shoulders bare beneath his shirt, his body long and white. One evening he approached her after practice.

Joan. 1969.

She met him at a pool party in Florida. His lank dark hair hung to his shoulders; he wore faded jeans and a colorful cotton blouse. His eyes were a startling blue. No man had touched her in a year. He was engaged to someone else.

Dinah. 1979

They met by accident in Washington, DC. Their paths had intersected once before, when she was a teenager. “You’re a beautiful girl,” he’d told her, oblivious to the hideous scar on her face. He was old enough to be her father.

Kimble is revealed through the eyes of the women he seduces: his first wife, Birdie Bell, who struggles to hold herself together in the months following his desertion; his second wife, Joan Cohen, a lonely heiress shaken by personal tragedy, who sees in Kimble her last chance at happiness; and finally Dinah Whitacre, a beautiful but damaged woman half his age. Woven throughout is the story of Kimble’s son, Charlie, whose life is forever affected by a father he barely remembers. Ken Kimble is a chameleon, a man able to become, at least for a while, all things to all women. To each of the three Mrs. Kimbles, he appears as a hero to whom powerful needs and nameless longings may be attached. Only later do they glimpse the truth about this elusive, unknowable man.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Each Mrs. Kimble comes tantalizingly alive thanks to the author’s considerable gift for conjuring up a character with the tiniest of details.”

    Washington Post

  • “A luminous debut…A beautiful novel with memorable, vibrant characters that will have wide appeal.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “The measured prose and care for detail show a promising talent.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “This moving novel explores questions of love and loss—the first, second and third time around.”


  • “Plimpton’s performance offers an achingly accurate portrait of Birdie, who lives somewhere outside herself in an alcoholic daze, lost and disoriented after Kimble abandons her with two children. As second wife Joan, recovering from a devastating mastectomy, Plimpton is particularly poignant, making Joan’s vulnerability to the master manipulator understandable and forgivable. As third wife Dinah, born with a disfiguring birthmark, Plimpton is first grateful, later shocked, as Kimble’s duplicity is revealed. Plimpton’s performance is top-notch. Her tones are round and soothing, her diction is first-rate, and her attitude as each woman is flawless.”


  • Winner of the 2004 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Courtney | 2/11/2014

    " okay beach read... about 50 pages too long "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Meagan | 2/5/2014

    " Good, quick entertaining read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Kelly | 1/21/2014

    " I put off reading this book for quite awhile thinking it would be a light, fluffy novel about three women marrying the same man. However I was surprised to find a book with great character development. The three women have different stories to tell, all rather depressing, but compelling to read. The story of Charlie Kimble really kept me moving through the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lisa | 1/21/2014

    " I thought this would be a simple character study of married life but it's much more than that. Just the right amount of creepiness to set the story on edge. "

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