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  • Writer's pictureAnnee Jones

Review of: Count the Night by Stars by Michelle Shocklee

Former Christy Award finalist Shocklee (Under the Tulip Tree) presents another riveting historical romance centered at the famed Maxwell House Hotel in Nashville. The year is 1961 and Audrey Whitfield, daughter of the hotel’s manager, has returned home from college to help care for her disabled brother and grief-stricken father after her mother’s passing. When one of the Maxwell’s longtime elderly residents, Priscilla Nichols, falls ill and is moved to a nursing home, Audrey is tasked with sorting the private woman’s things. She discovers a scrapbook containing memorabilia from the Tennessee Centennial Exposition of 1897. Within the scrapbook are a series of love letters describing events that took place on the first of the night exposition including the disappearance of a young immigrant woman. The narrative shifts between Audrey’s viewpoint as she enlists the help of handsome newcomer Jason Sumner to find out what really happened that night, to Priscilla’s perspective in 1897 as she meets and falls in love with the wrong man. The work is a spellbinding study of the horrors of discrimination and prejudice that lead to such evils as human trafficking, and the bravery of those who dare to make a difference. A timely and expertly crafted tale that will surely garner much attention. [March]

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