Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley By Katherine Reay Book Review

17657649// Dear Mr. Knightley //

By Katherine Reay

{Review By Bethany}

Title: Dear Mr. Knightley
Author: Katherine Reay
Source: Litfuse Publicity Group Review Copy
from the Publisher
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 140168968X
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Bethany's Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
// Book Synopsis //
"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."

// Bethany's Book Review //

Dear Mr. Knightley is a unique debut novel, filled with heart and literary delight, making it a novel I'm glad not to have missed out on! When I first heard about this novel, I found it utterly fascinating to discover that someone finally wrote a book about a girl who is in love with books; as I can totally relate to such a character, being a totally book nut myself. :) To be able to read a well-developed story and have bits and pieces of favorite classics throughout, it was just the icing on the cake; and I would eagerly read more from this new author.

At first when I realized that this is a novel written completely in letter form, I was hesitant about feeling as if I'd really get to know the character. In my mind letters are always sweet and to the point, a majority of them not being long enough to really give details needed in such a lengthy novel. So I naturally feared that there wouldn't be enough time in the letters to get personal or feel as if I knew the character. But I was totally wrong, as this book displays excellently the details of main character Samantha's life, as well as give detailed insight to her inmost thoughts and deepest fears, creating a friend to be treasured.

One of the things I liked about this book, aside from the uniqueness of a modern girl writing to an anonymous gentleman under the name of "Mr. George Knightley"; was how well developed Sam is throughout the story. Early on we realize that Sam had a tough childhood and was basically "orphaned" long before her parent's actually died due to drug overdose and the like, which filled their lives for as far back as Samantha can remember. She's been on her own, and has to survive in this dark world; no thanks to her contestant fears that overwhelm her telling her she isn't good enough. As she learns to adapt and is blessed with the hospitality of a Christian family, Sam's life turns around for the better as she goes to school to pursue a writing career. Through the heart-felt letters which she writes to Mr. Knightley, her anonymous benefactor who is paying for her schooling in exchange for letters from her on how schooling and life is going; we get to really know Sam and rejoice in her accomplishments and feel sad with her when life doesn't go as planned. This book is filled with heart and emotion and I doubt that Samantha Moore is a character which I'll soon forget.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. It was completely unlike anything I've ever read and I loved the literary concept of all the wonderful classic quotes that were sprinkled throughout the book. Oh, and of course we shan't forget the splendid ending! Bravo!
The only con to this book was when Samantha was in a dating relationship with a young man. Several times she contemplates "spending the night" at his apartment, and though she never does follow through, the thought is there and she battles the pressure of this man to give in. Since she did not know Christ at this time, even though she doesn't end up spend the night, it was more of a coincidence that she didn't stay rather than her choice due to moral standards. While this wasn't a big deal since it was a small aspect of the book, I didn't really care for it. But aside from this, I loved Dear Mr. Knightley and would insist that any classic fiction lover should read this book, as it's a rare gem!
NOTE:: I received a free copy of Dear Mr. Knightley through Litfuse publicity from the publisher, to read and review. I was not paid in any way to review this book; and all thoughts expressed in my review are honest and completely unbiased. I was not required to give a good review if I didn't like the book.
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Dear Mr. Knightley Katherine Reay

1 comment:

  1. I have seen this book before, (catalogues, online, etc.) and was pretty interested, but not entirely sold. Now I'm definitely sure that I want to read it with my sister. We can't wait! Thanks so much for posting!


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