Hailing from the deep South, I was pleased to kick off my summer reading with a book like Karen’s. It brought back wonderful memories of my childhood home and longing for a picnic under a large oak tree. Upon entering the world Karen White depicts in her latest novel, A Long Time Gone, you are transformed to the southern Mississippi town of Indian Mound. It’s a fantastic summer beach read that feels like a mystery or thriller, leaving you unable to put it down and hoping the story never ends. White remains culturally and historically accurate as she does in her other novels, but her southern charm and class explicitly shine through this time around.
A Long Time Gone is the story of Vivien, the youngest in a long line of strong women who always seem to find their way home to rural Mississippi, despite their best efforts to leave the town in their dust. Vivien desperately wants to disappear into the sunset and avoid any and all family drama. Her belief that escaping will solve all her problems couldn’t be less true. While trying to discover the secret behind the human remains recently found on the property of the family plantation home, you are thrust into the private life of the residents of rural Indian Mound, MS. Any reader will enjoy piecing together the puzzle that unfolds. I often found myself walking while reading, barely able to pull myself away from the book, and I never do that!
Surrounded by the burdens of secrets, abandonment, escapism, and familial love, the reader is shifted back and forth in time, gaining insight into the deepest thoughts of three generations of women: Adelaide, Carol Lynne, and Vivien. If you’ve never read a book in one day, you’ll quickly feel like this one you can’t put down. It leaves you wanting to solve the mystery within every chapter and every page. Thankfully, I was only left wondering, “When’s the movie coming out?”.