Friday, November 1, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley

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Dear Mr. Knightley
Katherine Reay
Thomas Nelson

Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.
Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.
After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.
As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters

When I first heard of this book several months ago, my reaction was something along the lines of “abcjelwhfehrbsv itslikeDaddy-Long-LegsandJaneAustenandohmygoodnessIneedtoreadthisbook!!!!” Yeah….I’ve been waiting anxiously for this book to come out. I may or may not have been a little overexcited. Even my sister, a self-labeled “book snob”- especially of contemporary fiction- was anxious to pick up Dear Mr. Knightley.

When I first started, I was a tiny bit disappointed; though I liked the story, the main character, Samantha, wasn’t a Christian at the beginning, and so though there was nothing grossly inappropriate in it (nothing beyond what you might find in a PG rated movie), there were still a few things that popped up that I didn’t care for. But then as the story went on, it got better and I completely fell in love with it (I might as well admit I pretty much fell in love with Alex Powell, too. ;). Though I liked Samantha and her realistic struggles, she didn't quite capture my heart the way the secondary characters did.  I ended up loving the secondary characters. I loved the professor and his wife, Ashley, and Kyle. The ending almost made me cry. And I adored the quotations from -literally- all of my favorite books. I especially loved the redemption themes near the end, and Samantha's thoughts on Eustace and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Over all, Dear Mr. Knightley was rather brilliant and once I got past the slow (for me) beginning, I enjoyed (almost) every moment of it.

Objectionable content: Because Samantha grew up in foster care, there are some mentions made of physical abuse. Samantha kisses her boyfriend and almost goes further but decides  not to. There are a few words that are not terrible, but I prefer not to use in my conversation.

Rating: 9


I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

3 comments:

  1. Sounds interesting, and I'm glad you liked it! I actually just requested this one to review from Booksneeze this morning (I got my account reactivated and was pleasantly surprised to find that they still had review copies available!).

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  2. Oh. My. Goodness! Hayden, I'm thrilled you liked this book so well. It's one of the BEST I've read in 2013 and I'm thrilled that Katherine will be stopping by my blog next week. :)

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