The Fragrant Ones by A.R. Kimber – Book Review

by A.R. Kimber
Genres: Christian, Historical, Literary Fiction
Format: Kindle, Paperback

Alt="the fragrant ones"The Fragrant Ones by A.R. Kimber


“…what she has done will also be told, in memory of her…” The words of Jesus on the first page of a book entitled The Fragrant Ones, combined with some scrawled letters, are the only clues Jennifer has to unlock the meaning of her mother’s last wishes. Meanwhile, her hope of having a life with Jeb–a tortured artist who is dying of AIDS and the only man she has ever loved–is fading quickly as the disease consumes his body. Her search for answers compels her to finally read the book her mother left behind–a tale of love, lust, betrayal and redemption, set in Palestine at the time of Christ. In doing so, she realizes that the sad chapters of her own life are in fact coming together, like a divinely crafted story, overflowing with the hope her mother longed for her to have. This is a story that does not shrink from depicting the effects of sexual brokenness as well as the deep and often desperate yearning for love, significance and spiritual identity which pulses in every human heart. At the same time, the seeds of hope, healing and forgiveness are sprinkled throughout the narrative, which moves steadily toward a redemptive end. Told as a tale-within-a-tale, this is a story that will move and inspire the reader; this is fiction that feeds faith.


The Fragrant Ones by A.R. Kimber is a beautiful tale of redemption told in two parallel narratives. First, we have Jennifer, it’s the 1980’s, and she lives on the New Jersey shore. Jennifer is in love with Jeb, an avant-garde artist who is dying of AIDS. Jennifer’s mother has passed away and her last wishes were for Jennifer to find hope and meaning in a novel entitled “The Fragrant Ones.” Seeking more to her life, Jennifer decides to read the book: a biblical tale about  Reumah, a Jewish prostitute living in Palestine during the time of Christ. Reumah’s story of brokenness, betrayal and redemption serves to inspire and bring hope to Jennifer’s own life.

Author A.R. Kimber takes readers on a journey they won’t soon forget. In the 80’s, casual sex and dysfunction abound. Jennifer, seeking meaning to her own life, wrestles with many issues. In alternating chapters we read about each of these women, their struggles and ultimate salvation and redemption.

This book is truly inspirational. It depicts the transformative power of God’s love.  A.R. Kimber has taken a biblical account of one woman and filled in the details brilliantly. Reumah’s story correlates with Jennifer’s modern day search for love and identity. Ultimately, both women find their search fulfilled in the person of Christ.

The characters are beautifully depicted and fully developed. I felt many emotions toward these woman and felt like I was a part of their lives as I read on getting to know them. A.R. Kimber paints an insightful portrait of their lives with her words. The descriptive writing is majestic and vivid as the settings and people are conjured up from the author’s imagination. This is one of the best books I have read in a long while.

The Fragrant Ones is a real page turner. I couldn’t put it down and felt a deep connection to the characters. The storyline, written from two alternating accounts, is full and complete, lacking nothing. The author weaves the two stories together magnificently. The conclusion is satisfying and left me wanting more. Chick Lit Cafe highly recommends The Fragrant Ones to all avid readers. This book will inspire and bring hope to women and men alike. I’m looking forward to reading more by this talented author, A.R. Kimber.

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