#BookReview: Counting Stars by Kathleen Long

Counting StarsReviewer: Annie

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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?


Kathleen Long delivers a very touching story about the resilience of the human spirit.

Ever since Mark was young, he wrote in a journal about “adventures” he wanted to take to visit the various landmarks of large sculptures. Now that he has passed away at the age of 52, his wife comes across a journal that he had since childhood. He filled the pages with landmarks of large sculptures that he wanted to see, like the “Largest Ball of Twine”. When his wife brings the journal to his sister, Bernie, she realizes that he wrote in this journal well beyond his childhood years. She also notes that he has put little squares in the corner of each page, as if this was his “Bucket List”.

Bernie comes up with this grand plan to complete the bucket list for her brother. She wants to travel across the United States to visit each landmark. Her neighbor Sophie’s brother, Hank has an RV that he is willing to let her use to take this trip. I have to say that when Hank was teaching her to drive and maneuver the RV, I was laughing out loud.

She enlists the entire family, including her Best Friend to take the trip with her. While they are all very apprehensive about the trip, they all board the RV (except her best friend, Diane…who sends along her 17 year old daughter in her place) and take off on a trip that would change their lives and hearts forever.

This adventure takes you through all of your emotions, from laughter to tears.

Each person on this RV is made better by this trip. They each deal with their troubles, including grief on this road trip. The healing is a beautiful thing. This is truly the journey of a lifetime.

I was thoroughly engulfed in this story. I believe you will be, too.

5 Stars

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