Given the premise of this novel, I expected much more from it than just an enjoyable, quick read. And it IS highly readable--Haigh is a good storyteller and her pacing is fast (short episodes, crisp sentences). And yes, you do keep turning the pages, even though the novel begins a bit slowly with Birdie, the least engaging of the three Kimble wives (maybe partly because you never get to see Kimble with her or relating to her, except a snippet long after they're divorced).
However, I wished for more than just a story--I like novels that make you think, and in which you really identify with or come to love the characters, novels which have detail and some complexity to them. This one has little of any of the above, in my opinion. I know some readers felt the three Mrs. Kimbles were really well-developed, but I felt just the opposite. All of them seemed a bit like stick caricatures to me--there just wasn't enough there. Dinah, the last wife, is perhaps better drawn, simply because more pages and time are spent on her, and therefore I felt I knew her a little better than the other two--but not as well as I'd have liked to.
Ken Kimble--the selfish, opportunistic and supposedly chameleon husband who we see solely through his three wives' eyes--was a real disappointment (and not only to his wives, but to me as well!). I was married for a number of years to a man who, while not a criminal 'con' man like Kimble, is definitely someone who changes a great deal in relation to whoever he's with. However, my ex is highly complex and very interesting, and Kimble is neither. Haigh loses a chance to help us understand this kind of personality, I felt, as Kimble is presented so one-dimensionally, so simplistically, really. And I don't buy it that the wives couldn't have given us at least some of this information, that they didn't know him themselves, so thus we readers don't know him either.
In the years I was married to him, I spent a great deal of time trying to understand my narcissistic, chameleon husband--and I do feel I came to understand him maybe better than he understood himself (I made it a point to learn about his family, asked many questions about his background, for heaven's sake, read his old childhood diaries, made it a point to meet his old friends and girlfriends). Maybe Kimble's young wife, Birdie, wouldn't have done these sorts of things, but certainly smart, savvy Joan could have (why she was ever attracted to him for very long didn't wash for me--and we never do see how Ken copes with her dying, which must have been pretty interesting...). And Dinah, who did know deep down that her husband had some pretty big flaws, also was capable, I think, of presenting us with a more complex picture of this man, especially since she was married to him for many years.
The ending of the novel jives with the rest of it--it will make those of you who like a basically entertaining read happy. Well, I didn't mind the ending, as I'd long before realized I wasn't reading a novel that I found in the least bit thought-provoking, and so just took it for the satisfying ending that it was.
I can see why this novel appeals to many readers--it's a good, light 'mainstream' novel; it's just that I'd longed for a little more meat, a little more substance. If you're just looking for a quick summer read, though, you no doubt will love this book as much as many others have.