Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley

by Katherine Reay
Thomas Nelson Publishers

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.
“Dear Mr. Knightley is a stunning debut—a pure gem with humor and heart.” —Serena Chase,USA Today
Includes Reading Group Guide
Plus Bonus Material: Q &A with Katherine Reay and Sam’s Reading List

My Review:

I started this novel with the mindset that the the Austen references were just that: references. I wasn't expecting any characters from Austen's writing to show up, but I was a little confused as to how the title was going to play out in the course of the book. I loved the concept of this book, I really did. But I found it kinda creepy that a benefactor of offering to put a twenty-three through college, and all she has to do is write him letters. I know it wasn't meant to be weird, but it just didn't seem right. 

I will say that they way Reay presented the characters and her writing style was exemplary. The setting and situations were not to my liking, but the overall feel of the book was excellent. I really like the way Reay set up her debut novel, and comprised it entirely of Sam's letters to Mr. Knightley. I enjoyed how Sam developed as a person, from her humble beginnings, to the satisfying ending. A very enjoyable read once you get past the initial way things happen. 

This book was provided by the publisher through Litfuse Nest for free in exchange for an honest review. 

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