Karen White’s newest novel A Long Time Gone is sure to capture her reader’s hearts as it did mine. It is an emotional and moving novel of family, love, and long buried secrets. This novel of Karen’s proves once again why she is one of my favorite authors. Her ability to craft a story with characters that burrow into your heart and a plot that keeps you flipping the pages ever faster is incredible. She is an amazing storyteller with the talent to portray a story beautifully.
The novel revolves around three generations of the Walker women: Adelaide in the 1920′s, Carol Lynne in the 1960′s,and Vivien in 2013 – all with their own stories. The story begins with Vivien returning home feeling lost at this point in her life and struggling with a drug addiction to pills due to her ex-husband and the stigma of being said to be an unfit mother to her stepdaughter hanging over her head. Vivien though has always felt a bit lost because of her own mother never being there for her. She’s hoping that coming home to her grandmother Bootsie will heal her soul but what she finds is that her beloved grandmother has passed away and she wasn’t even there. On top of that she finds that her mother has Alzheimers and her memories are quickly flitting away.
One of the most disturbing things that happen when Vivien arrives home is the discovery of a body that has been buried for a very long time on the Walker property. Who can it be? Is this person related to the Walkers? As Vivien begins to delve into the mystery of who this person was she begins to learn things about her family and in particular her own mother that leave her looking at her life and her relationships in a whole different light. When her stepdaughter Chloe shows up on her doorstep Vivien knows that she doesn’t want to have to give her up again but also knows her hateful ex-husband will never let her have Chloe. Amid all of the chaos slowly but surely Vivien is beginning to learn that she is stronger than she thought she was and in discovering who she is again she is also learning to love herself and her home again.
I listened to the audiobook of A Long Time Gone and it is fantastic. It is narrated by Susan Bennett as the voice of Vivien, Jennifer Ikeda as Adelaide, and Pilar Witherspoon as Carol Lynne. The audio is seventeen hours long and it flew by so quickly with the alternating stories and the way that the narrators so expertly brought these women and their stories alive. I thought they did an amazing job and I loved the voices of all of them and would most definitely listen to them again.
A Long Time Gone is perfect for those who love women’s fiction, mother/daughter relationships, and family sagas. Highly, highly recommended!