I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Counting Stars by Kathleen Long
When Bernadette Murphy’s brother, Mark, dies unexpectedly, her world is rocked. Jenny, the wife he left behind, skips grieving and goes straight into survival mode. That is, until she shows up at Bernie’s door in tears, holding a battered canvas journal in which Mark—once obsessed with adventure—had listed larger-than-life travel destinations.
Before losing her brother, life had been great for Bernie—a new career and a nice romance—even though she wavers on her boyfriend’s proposal and wears her diamond engagement ring on a cord around her neck instead of on her finger. But inspired by Mark’s unique bucket list, Bernie puts her mom, her dog, her best friend’s angsty teenager, and Jenny into a borrowed RV and sets off on a cross-country road trip, sharing quirky adventures and unexpected turns along the way.
But Bernie can’t run forever. Will she find a way to let go of the past, heal her losses, and open herself to life’s new possibilities?
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Counting Stars is a slow burner. It gets better the further you read, when the emotions of the characters have had time to build. Primarily set during a road trip with an octogenarian, her mid-life daughter and daughter-in-law, and her daughter’s best friend’s seventeen-year-old daughter (oh and a dog); this story at first glance seems to be a comedy movie set to page. The premise of fulfilling a dead man’s bucket list raised the story from the trite stereotype and made for an interesting angle. A little too much time was spent on visual description, but when the emotions began to build, the story found its footing. From there it crescendoed to a richly nuanced tale of heartbreak, loss and love. Bernie as the main character was, perhaps, the weakest link until almost the very end, but the strong supporting cast bolstered her. That being said, Counting Stars was above average and I did really enjoy the read.
Favorite Lines - “The surface of the bay had broken into countless ripples, and each captured the light of the hazy moon and tossed a reflection across the water. Endless ripples. Possibilities. Invisible from one perspective, limitless from another.”
Biggest cliché – “One man hurt me emotionally, so all men are bad.”
Have you read Counting Stars, or added it to your TBR?