Count the Night by Stars by Michele Shocklee
“Count your night by stars, not shadows; count your life with smiles, not tears.” – Italian proverb
Count the Nights by Stars is an immensely captivating historical fiction work infused with nuggets of Christian faith that not only entertains with a suspenseful story but challenges and encourages people to live a life without regret and make the world a better place. To actually “see” people. Audrey and Priscilla, while good of heart, never imagine they would push the norms of their day to stand up for those “who are beneath the pain. Beneath the sin. To see them as God sees them: a beautiful creation, with plans and purposes only he knows.” These two young women, while separated by generations, find their lives intertwined by a series of events and discoveries that change their lives and the lives of many others.
Michelle Shocklee transports her readers to two bygone eras at the famed Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville, TN; the close of the 1800’s during the extravagant Tennessee Centennial Exposition and the civil rights movement of 1960s. The knitting back and forth of two distinctly different tales with a common thread storyline that is surprising chapter after chapter, reveals the skill she has as storyteller. Her beautifully detailed descriptions norms and scenes of each era, especially the Centennial Exposition, reveal her passion for history and made the Count the Nights by Stars a wonderful read. I could stop right now and give this five stars but then I would be forgetting the part of the experience that really touched me.
While I was intellectually impressed with this book I was most surprised by how moved I was emotionally as I followed the events that shaped Audrey and Priscilla. From gut-churning and heart-wrenching to the thrill of a new attraction or a deep abiding sacrificial love, Count the Nights by Stars had me feeling all of it (which would not have been bad had the waterworks not started while I was reading in a waiting room). This book truly encapsulates the roller coast of highs and lows, good and bad that life dishes out, with the caveat that “we cannot live in regrets. Choices were made that cannot be unmade.” While we would all like to understand many of the “whys” of the struggles and hurts in our lives we are “simply asked to trust in the One who does” to see us through. Count the Nights by Stars is a literary example of that faith, providing a much needed dose of inspiration and encouragement that you definitely don’t want to miss.
Tanya’s love for books has been a lifelong passion that she likes sharing with others. Reading is also the thing that relaxes her after a day of juggling the many responsibilities that come with being being wife to an amazing man, mother to four great kids spread around the world, business manager, and farm hand on their place in southwest Missouri; home to Akaushi cattle and a menagerie of pygmy goats, horses, chickens, dogs and cats.