You Believers by Jane Bradley

Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Unbridled Books
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 405
Source: eGalley provided by publisher through NetGalley

The Short Version:
A young woman goes missing and the impact that event has on multiple people is exquisitely told.

Why I Read It:
As I said in my last Weekend Update, my friend Eleanor is quoted on the Unbridled Books page for this book and any time she is that enthusiastic about a book, I know I need to read it.

The Book:
When Katy Connor, a 30 year old bartender fails to come home, it’s an event that sets off a ripple effect on many people. This book follows the stories of some of them.

Billy is Katy’s fiancé who knows that Katy was involved with someone else and initially fears she’s run off with another man.

Livy is Katy’s mother and has left her husband at home to stay in town until she finds her daughter.

Shelby Waters is originally from the same small backwater town in Tennessee that Livy’s mom came from and though they’ve both left it far behind it has shaped both of these women into what they are today. Shelby’s older sister went missing years ago and now Shelby has a career built around finding missing people and helping their families deal with the uncertainties and ultimate loss or joy that the end of the search may provide.

Jesse and Mike are the two men who carjacked Katy.

Molly Flynn is being watched.

These characters and others are profoundly touched in both positive and negative ways by the events surrounding the disappearance of Katy. Their stories weave together as the search for Katy proceeds.

My Thoughts:
This was truly an amazing book. It’s not a simple missing person investigation type of crime story. The publisher describes it perfectly as “Part Southern gothic, part crime, part haunting suspense story”.

I found myself totally wrapped up in the stories of all the characters. The people who love Katy battle the despair and hope that swirl back and forth as the search goes on. Shelby, who describes herself as a finder is in many ways in search of herself as much as the people she searches for. Her history with her sister’s disappearance and the career she’s built give her the ability to be both compassionate and tough with the families of the missing.

The shared past that she and Livy have of that small town gives them an extra element of common ground as the weeks go on.

The paths that Jesse and Mike take after Katy disappears provide as much tension and suspense as the search for Katy does.

Despite the occasional brutal and horrifying moments as this story plays out, it is a beautifully written story of hope, despair, fear, strength, sadness and joy. I have a hard time thinking of a major emotion that wasn’t touched on at some point in my reading of this book. The writing is full of moments that made me just pause to absorb an image, emotion or feeling as I read and the characters will stay with me for a long time.

Although there are parts of this that are difficult to read there is much more that is beautiful and hopeful. I highly recommend this wonderful book.

Rating 5/5