Review: A Long Time Gone by Karen White

A Long Time Gone by Karen White 
Penguin Group (USA), June 2014

Description (from the author’s website)

“We Walker women were born screaming into this world, the beginning of a lifelong quest to find what would quiet us. But whatever drove us away was never stronger than the pull of what brought us back….”

When Vivien Walker left her home in the Mississippi Delta, she swore never to go back, as generations of the women in her family had. But in the spring, nine years to the day since she’d left, that’s exactly what happens—Vivien returns, fleeing from a broken marriage and her lost dreams for children.

What she hopes to find is solace with “Bootsie,” her dear grandmother who raised her, a Walker woman with a knack for making everything all right. But instead she finds that her grandmother has died and that her estranged mother is drifting further away from her memories. Now Vivien is forced into the unexpected role of caretaker, challenging her personal quest to find the girl she herself once was.

But for Vivien things change in ways she cannot imagine when a violent storm reveals the remains of a long-dead woman buried near the Walker home, not far from the cypress swamp that is soon to give up its ghosts. Vivien knows there is now only one way to rediscover herself—by uncovering the secrets of her family and breaking the cycle of loss that has haunted her them for generations.

My Review (3 Stars: Liked it!)

A Long Time Gone by Karen White combines the stories of three Walker women from Indian Mound, Mississippi: Vivien Walker Moise (starting, April 2013), Carol Lynne Walker Moise (starting, August 5, 1962) and Adelaide Walker Bodine (starting, June 1920) into one story about their resilience and strength.

The first half of the novel starts out at a slow pace, but picks up very well during the second half.

Vivien returns home because, after her divorce, she has nowhere else to go.  She is dependent on anxiety drugs to get through her days.  While trying to find the identity of the buried women that was found near her home, she comes to terms with her past and gains some control over her life.

Carol Lynn has dementia.  She was a drug addict, living in a commune, but later returned home.  She had left her children to be raised by their grandmother.  Part of Carol Lynn’s story is told in her diary and gives insight into her feelings about her children.

Adelaide’s story provides most of the mystery/action.  She married a bootlegger and had a wild girlfriend.

I enjoyed many of the characters in A Long Time Gone, especially Chloe, Vivien’s twelve year old step-daughter.  Chloe, in many ways, had been abandoned by her natural parents.

I enjoyed the small home town feeling imparted about Indian Mound and the descriptions of life in the Mississippi Delta.  Each Walker women, in different ways, had a strong pull toward home.

Note: I don’t think Indian Mound is an actual town.  Here is a link for more information about: Indian Mounds of Mississippi.

I would like to thank the publisher, Penguin Group (USA), for providing me with this book, free of charge, for review. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book  free from the publisher, Penguin Group (USA).  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

10 thoughts on “Review: A Long Time Gone by Karen White”

    1. Yes – There are three time periods. Vivian’s story is the present. Carol Lynn’s past is mostly told through her diary entries. In the the present she has dementia. Adelaide’s story is in the past.

  1. This sounds like a book I might enjoy, but like Diane, a character named Bootsie might be too much for me 😉

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