51obymFecuL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Reviewed by Amanda Schafer

Vivien comes from a very long history of women who leave. They walk away from their families as if it’s their destiny. Vivien was no different, only she left before there were children to be hurt by her decision. Three generations before her had left their children for someone else to raise, leaving the children to wonder why they were left and what caused their mother to leave them. Vivien’s mother, Carol Lynne, left years before and Vivien’s grandmother, Bootsie, was left to raise the children. But Carol Lynne would come back…then leave again…then come back…then leave. Vivien just couldn’t stand it, so she too left and didn’t come back for 15 years. What she found when she returned was not at all what she expected: the remains of a body found under the cypress tree in the back yard after a storm had uprooted it. Who was this? And why was she buried in their backyard? Vivien also didn’t expect to find that Carol Lynne had left one last time for good, only this time, she didn’t leave physically but mentally. Bootsie had also passed away while Vivien was gone, so now she had nobody at the house that really knew her.

Except Tripp. Tripp was the one thing Vivien thought she’d left far behind her when she left town years before. Tripp, however, was still here and just as all-knowing about her as always. With one look he could see her very soul and know what she was thinking, being able to help her work through her problems without ever saying a word.

When Chloe, Vivien’s ex-step-daughter, shows up at the nearby airport, things take another turn for Vivien. Being forced to finally deal with her own personal issues also draws her into dealing with the multi-generational issue that needs to be answered once and for all. Through the process, Vivien realizes she has to “stop chasing the ghosts of the past because she’ll never catch them.”

Karen White weaves a wonderful tale of four generations of women who have secrets, secrets, and more secrets! The story was a bit difficult to follow in the first couple of chapters simply due to odd word choice, but once I got past that point, I was hooked. Be prepared to read for a while as A Long Time Gone is quite lengthy but it really couldn’t have been done any other way and done justice to the characters and the story. White shows us all how to let go of the past and make the most of what we have right in front of us.

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Amanda lives in Missouri with her engineering husband, two sons, and one daughter. In between homeschooling and keeping up with church activities she loves to read Christian Fiction, Women’s Fiction, and any Chick-Lit. She never goes anywhere without a book to read!

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.