A Long Time Gone
By Karen White
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 6/3/2014
My Rating: 4 Stars
“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.
Karen White’s A LONG TIME GONE, a poignant multi-generational novel—takes readers back to the southern Walker home roots, in the Mississippi Delta. Dark family secrets surface, with three generations of Walker women, all fighting their own demons, and past in this poignant mother-daughter family saga.
“But whatever drove them away was never stronger than the pull of what brought them back.”
It's been nine years since Vivien Walker Moise moved to California without looking back. Unfortunately, due to a failed marriage, divorce, and a miscarriage, she finds herself back at home—where she swore she would never return. Where else does she have to go?
She now is depending on pills to get her through the day and night. She longs to see her grandmother, and misses her step-daughter, Chloe—realizing she is fighting a losing battle trying to get her away from her biological dad.
Vivien is shocked when she finds her beloved grandmother Bootsie, who raised her, has died and her estranged mother is suffering from early stages of Alzheimer's. Now she has to assume the role of caretaker (just what she wants, right)?
After a storm, a body is discovered, Vivien’s goal is to solve the mystery of the past and uncover the secrets which have haunted these woman. In the meantime, Vivien begins to discover more about herself, and what is important to her.
Flash backs from the 1920s, to 2013 in diary entries, and recounts from older close friend, Mathilda, this contemporary historical novel uncovers dark family secrets which were taken to the grave—racial tension, prohibition, addiction, bigotry, KKK, abandonment, betrayal, and murder.
Vivien knows she has to give up the pills if she stands a chance at getting to spend time with Chloe. (The relationship between these two were quite funny and endearing). Can Vivian find her way in this small town which grounds her, working on the land and her garden, will she find romance with an old flame, conquer her addiction, and be able to renew a mother daughter relationship with her step-daughter? Can she and her mother find their way back to one another before it is too late?
A moving story of forgiveness and redemption. Readers who enjoy southern fiction and a multi-generational family saga, will appreciate.
I listened to the audio version and narrators Pilar Witherspoon, Jennifer Ikeda, and Susan Bennett, did a good job--voices blending with the time.