I read a long time gone while waiting for Go Set A Watchman to come out. It was good enough that even after Go Set A Watchman was delivered to my house, I continued to read and finish a long time gone before I began Go Set A Watchman!
A long time gone by Karen White is one of those stories that I love...set in the South about generations of women. In this story it is about four generations of the Walker women who were born and raised in the same old house and bed in the Mississippi Delta. And the women all have histories of leaving their home there and their children. But something brings them all back.
Vivien had been gone for nine years when she returned to the old yellow house where her grandmother Bootsie lived. When it felt like all was falling apart-her marriage had ended and she wasn't allowed to have contact with her step-daughter-Vivien knew that she need to go back to see her grandmother. Sadly, when she arrived she found that Bootsie had died and that Vivien's estranged mother, Carol Lynne, was living there, along with Vivien's brother, Tommy, who had remained there through the years. Tommy was caring for their mother who was suffering from early Alzheimer's disease.
After Vivien arrived, there was a storm and lightening hit an old tree in the yard. And where the tree had been, a very old female skeleton was found. Vivien began to seek out the stories of her female ancestors through old diaries, newspapers and an old neighbor. She slowly discovers lots of family secrets, including murder, love and betrayals. And, eventually, learns about herself.
[A note of caution: I do have to add that each chapter is told by one of three of the Walker women. However, the story is about four Walker women. That confused me for a long while into the story. I thought one of the narrators was Bootsie, but it wasn't.]