***Note: I was given a free copy in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.***The Vanishing of Katherine Sullivan by Christina Weaver
When Matthew Sullivan's elderly uncle is told he needs to clean his property or lose it, Matt begrudgingly begins to help the hoarder start organizing his home. As he cleans, he discovers references to a grandmother the family never discusses. His curiosity piqued, Matt asks his uncle what happened to her and receives stubborn silence.
Confused and curious, Matt begins to dig into his family's history. As he scrapes the surface he receives a phone call from an estranged family member who is running for President of the United States and is told to stop immediately. The call only galvanizes his need to discover what really happened to his grandmother, Katherine Sullivan.
Matt's investigation leads him to a small town in West Virginia, deep in the mighty Allegheny mountains, where he begins to uncover the terrifying truth of what really happened on that fateful day in 1948.
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Matt Sullivan received a shock when his Uncle Lucas was placed in a hospital with heart problems. At the same time, Matt was handed a letter stating his uncle’s property had to be cleaned up in two weeks or else. As a by-product of the Great Depression, Uncle Lucas horded everything. Matt faced down his uncle and got clearance to begin cleaning up the home under one condition. He was not to touch the dining room or den. Matt agreed and with the help of his brother Samuel and nephew Stephen, they began to tackle the disaster.
Curious, Matt went into the dining room to find out what was so important to his Uncle Lucas. In there, he found old newspapers with names underlined and circled. He also came across a box of old letters from his grandmother and grandfather. After making a point to his nephew and sister about their hoarding tendencies, Matt decided to venture into the attic of his home, which used to belong to his parents, now deceased. Up there, he found all of his father’s treasures. In looking around, he found a notebook with the same names his uncle had been so interested in. He also came across an old family Bible that smelled of smoke. Inside, he found the names of his grandparents and their children. His grandfather, Samuel, had the year of his death recorded, but nothing for his grandmother. Realizing he knew nothing about his family, Matt decided to dig into his family’s past and find out what happened to his grandmother Katherine. With absolutely no help or encouragement from his Uncle Lucas or Uncle Henry, who was running for President of the United States, he set out to find the truth.
Following clues, he ended up in a small town in West Virginia, where he found nothing but hostility and closed mouths. His only help was the feisty librarian and school teacher, Selma Greeley. Only a death bed confession gave him any insight into the plight of his grandmother. Determined to follow it through to the end, Matt faces terrible trials and dead ends to bring closure for his uncles and himself.
Christina wrote a truly touching story about a young woman who lived in the hills of West Virginia and married a city man to escape her family. Matt’s search for her is long and intense and shows great devotion to family and a history he had no idea even existed. This story is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at once. I’m not even sure I can begin to convey how much this book touched me. She shared a beautiful picture of the life of this amazing woman and a small town who did nothing but belittle her and her family. She did an amazing job weaving the search Matt was doing in present times with glimpses of the past.