About the Book
Count your nights by stars, not shadows. Count your life with smiles, not tears.
1961. After a longtime resident at Nashville’s historic Maxwell House Hotel suffers a debilitating stroke, Audrey Whitfield is tasked with cleaning out the reclusive woman’s room. There, she discovers an elaborate scrapbook filled with memorabilia from the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Love notes on the backs of unmailed postcards inside capture Audrey’s imagination with hints of a forbidden romance . . . and troubling revelations about the disappearance of young women at the exposition. Audrey enlists the help of a handsome hotel guest as she tracks down clues and information about the mysterious “Peaches” and her regrets over one fateful day, nearly sixty-five years earlier.
1897. Outspoken and forward-thinking Priscilla Nichols isn’t willing to settle for just any man. She’s still holding out hope for love when she meets Luca Moretti on the eve of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition. Charmed by the Italian immigrant’s boldness, Priscilla spends time exploring the wonderous sights of the expo with Luca―until a darkness overshadows the monthslong event. Haunted by a terrible truth, Priscilla and Luca are sent down separate paths as the night’s stars fade into dawn.
In My Opinion
While I’ve lived in Nashville for over 20 years now, I did not grow up in the area, so much of the history is lost to me. But thanks to books like Count the Nights by Stars by Michelle Shocklee, I get to experience it firsthand through fictional characters.
This book is dual time with both time periods in the past—the 1897 during Tennessee Centennial Exposition and 1961 (with some history to the Maxwell House Hotel). Both Priscilla’s (1897) and Audrey’s (1961) are fascinating, but Priscilla’s stuck with me more as she eschewed her lavish lifestyle and committed her time to helping women in the area.
Shocklee seamlessly weaves these two stories bringing everything together in a beautiful way. Life doesn’t always turn out as we’d like it to, but God does bring beauty from ashes.
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.