Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley

October 7, 2015


 Dear Mr. Knightley
Katherine Reay
336 pages
Kindle edition

From the Publisher: 
Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others―namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story―by giving that story to a complete stranger.

Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

I first saw this book on Money Saving Mom’s blog.  Crystal has blogged about a couple of the books by Reay and how much she enjoys them, but she suggested if you are going to read just one – read this one, so I did.

And I am SO glad I did.

I could not put this book down. I was worried when I began the story that the one way correspondence  might be a little strange to read, but it wasn’t.  I really enjoyed the story despite the fact that the story was a bit predictable. The story line was funny, and challenging at the same time.  There were deeper subjects brought up in this book without being overly graphic or r-rated for me.  I read a LOT of regency romance and I try to stick to pretty clean books.  But sometimes that means I read a lot of books that are full of fluff. (I hope that makes sense? Sometimes a no-brainer fluff book is just what I need)

I wan’t expecting this book to be as deep as it was – to bring up issues that it did.  Sam’s past and life really made me think about how I look at people and what I have.  I thought the Austen quotes were so cleaver – and so much of why I loved this book!

I also loved that Sam was a runner.  Really, really loved that part.  I can’t tell you how many parts had me nodding my head, or laughing out loud, and really relating to Sam.

“You can always talk more deeply when running because it feels safe.  You can’t look directly at the person next to you.  And you can’t hide much in so few clothes and so much sweat.” p. 232

This book has a bit of Christian fiction mixed in, just a tad, and nothing that  preachy or that is overwhelming.

After reading some reviews on Goodreads, I am also looking forward to reading Daddy Long Legs, by Jean Webster which this book is loosely based after too.

The book is clean, but also touches on deeper issues, wasn’t a no-brainer, had clever references to  Jane Austen and talked about running.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t add anything else to make this book better!  If you like any of these things you should give this book a try.  I can’t wait to read some of Reay’s other books.

​Final Score:

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