9780451240460

A LONG TIME GONE

Karen White

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.

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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 them for generations.

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Hardcover

Price: $25.95

ISBN: 9780451240460

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About Karen White

Karen White is the New York Times bestselling author of After the Rain, The Time Between, Folly Beach, Falling Home, and such Tradd Street novels as Return to Tradd Street, The Strangers on Montagu Street and The Girl on Legare Street. She grew up in London but now lives with her husband and two children near Atlanta, Georgia.

Praise

“[A] dedicated artist…Karen White’s talent is ripe for the taking.”The Huffington Post

“White’s dizzying carousel of a plot keeps those pages turning, so much so that the book can—and should be—finished in one afternoon, interrupted only by a glass of sweet iced tea.”Oprah.com

“White…weaves together themes of Southern culture, the powerful bond of family, and the courage to rebuild in the face of destruction to create an incredibly moving story her dedicated fans are sure to embrace.”Moultrie News

Discussion Questions

“Home means so many different things. . . . It’s where your people

are.” The author creates such a dynamic sense of place for the

reader through sensory details and evocative objects such as the

heirloom black bed, the watermark from the flood, and the lost

diary. What things or memories evoke “home” for you?

Does Vivien get the closure she needs with her mother once she

returns home? How do Bootsie’s death, Carol Lynne’s dementia,

and Vivien’s reliance on prescription drugs complicate things?

What is the effect of Carol Lynne’s dementia on those around

her? As a reader, what was it like to encounter Carol Lynne only

through her diary?

In one of her diary entries, Carol Lynne notes, “There’s something

in the ways of mothers and daughters, I think, that makes us

see all the bad parts of ourselves.” Do you think this is true? How

does this apply to the Walker women? Does each woman grow emotionally

from this realization?

“Because it was something I’d been born with, a poison in the

blood I’d inherited from my mother and she from hers and way on

back before anybody alive could still remember.” When they left

home, what ghosts was each Walker woman chasing? What made

each woman return?

Carol Lynne’s diary also reveals the following sentiment: “[Bootsie]

just smiled and told me to wait until I become a mother, and

then I will understand that my real destiny will be decided by those

not yet born.” What does Bootsie mean by this? How do children

shape the futures of the Walker women?

Did you suspect the identity of the body earlier in the novel? How

does this “ghost” affect the lives of the Walker women?

How does the author use objects or heirlooms such as the watch

and ring to unite the characters’ stories across multiple generations?

Is there an heirloom you’ve inherited that is loaded with meaning

or inspires curiosity about the past?

Did you have any trouble shifting between time lines, which run

from the 1920s to the present day? Which era or woman’s story was

your favorite?