Wednesday, June 4, 2014

A Long Time Gone by Karen White

A Long Time Gone.  Karen White. New American Library: Penguin Group (USA). June 2014. 432 pp.  ISBN#: 9780451240460.

“I think that it doesn’t matter how or why, but not having a mama is like being born without a heart.”  Three generations of women whose mothers were “absent” from the lives of their daughters; but don’t judge harshly for there is more than meets the eye in the story of Adelaide Walker Bodine (1920’s), Carol Lynne Walker Moise (1960’s) and Vivien Walker Moise (2013).  Their stories begin with Vivien returning to Indian Mount, Mississippi after being left a drug addict and hopelessly lost young woman whose husband enabled her addiction and then threw her out as an unfit wife and stepmother to his daughter Chloe.  As Vivien was lost before she ever met him because of her own loss of her mother for many years, she’s got zilch self-confidence.  Her life will change however upon her return to her “home.” 

Carol Lynne is now suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and Vivien wrestles between her anger at her and gradual realization she needs to help what cannot be healed, and perhaps even forgive for reasons she has yet to discover!

Adelaide and Sarah are best friends as children, always accompanied by a young African-American girl, Mathilda, whose job was to chaperon them, hardly a suitable job for the wild Sarah who drags Adelaide into “situations” guaranteed to bring more than trouble. 

Tripp (an old friend) and Tommy (Viven’s brother) gradually adjust to Vivien’s ways, again forced into dramatic change with the arrival of Chloe, Vivien’s stepdaughter.  It’s a new life and Vivien has to battle her resentments and addiction now she has a second chance to give to Chloe what she feels she never got, a chance at redemption and perhaps romance.

Add to the mix the mystery and secrets behind a skeleton discovered next to their home after a lightning bolt struck down a tree that unearthed the stark white bones on dark dirt that haunted them all.  The discovery behind those bones is earth-shattering indeed.

Karen White has done it again, crafting a haunting tale with spunky, dysfunctional characters who must endure unimaginable trials to mature and get over their stubborn, attitude-laden thinking and acting.  Intense, riveting, and mysterious contemporary fiction – finely told – a best seller!

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