Karen White's June release, A Long Time Gone — about a woman who returns home only to become tangled up in a murder-mystery, earned a rare Gold rating from RT reviewer Debbie Haupt, a rating that typically indicates that a book has earned a spot on that reviewers keeper shelf. So we decided to ask the author which books she keeps coming back to. Below are five of the books Karen White just can't do without.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
I still have stiff thumbs from holding this book open while I pushed my two children on swings at the park. All day. To the point that they were asking to go home because it was getting dark and they were hungry. It transported me to a different place and time, to a different world where I knew these characters like family, and felt their hurts as if they were my own. Beautiful writing, mesmerizing characters, a blazing romance, and a page-turning plot makes this book #1 on my keeper shelf.
Lord of the Far Island by Victoria Holt
For any reader who’s ever wondered where I get the inspiration for the gothic nods in my books, you can blame it on Ms. Holt. I’ve read (and own) all of Victoria Holt’s novels, but this was my first. I was in 7th grade and had just moved to London and had walked into a bookstore where her books were displayed on a single shelf. I bought it because of the title alone, and after the first page became a lifelong fan of gothic romances. The atmosphere, the brimming sexual tension, the mystery, and the dark brooding hero never loses its appeal.
Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
This book is why I became a writer. It was either that or become Scarlet O’Hara. An epic romance involving an alpha hero and a flawed heroine, told over the span of an epic historical period would have clinched my love for this book — but add beautiful clothing (hoop skirts!), three husbands, and a woman who will steal, cheat, and kill so that she and her kin will never go hungry again sealed the deal.
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
This is a book I was forced to read for my book club for which I’m eternally grateful (and what a great reminder of why book clubs are so great!). It’s the story of a family in crisis as told by the family dog. Yes, the family dog. I was skeptical at first, too, but after reading the first pages I was completely sucked in. I’ve never laughed or cried so much in the same book. And the ending is one of the best endings EVER in literary fiction.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
Another of my book club’s selections that I was dubious about at first. But — oh, my! What a wonderful, wonderful book. It has the historical sweep of Nazi occupied Guernsey Island during WWII to satiate the history lover in me, the humor, drama, exquisitely drawn characters, and a beautiful love story to keep a reader up way into the wee hours — not wanting it to end, but not able to put it down, either.
Which books have earned a spot on your keeper shelf? You can pick up a copy of A Long Time Gone, available now in print and digitally. For more mainstream reads visit our Everything Mainstream page.