Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley

October 29, 2014 Whitney Review 0 Comments

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.

Book Review: Dear Mr. KnightleyDear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Published by Thomas Nelson on November 12, 2013
Genres: General Fiction
Source: Netgalley

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.

Fond of:

I liked that Dear Mr. Knighley used aspects of Jane Austen as I am always a sucker for that.  Also, while it was almost a flutter I thought the incorporation of Eunice’s time as a dragon in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader was nice.  I also liked reading the story in letter format, being written as if Samantha was speaking to the reader.

Not Fond of:

Even though I enjoyed the format, it did seem a little 90s era teeny-bob, which was a bit of a downfall for me.  I also got a little annoyed with her squealing  over romantic issues and had me thinking, does Mr. Knightley actually care about this drivel or do I for that matter?  The Alex/Samantha relationship felt stilted, with Alex coming off as the rebound guy after her horrible break-up with Josh.  It was a coupling you wanted to happen, but when it was revealed that Alex was kind of a dud too I felt the build up to the crescendo was all for naught.

Final Thoughts:

Mr. Knightley felt like fanfic and had to put it down several times.  For me, Samantha was an annoying baby sister who I wanted to stay out of my room.

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