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Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay | Book Review by Loraine Nunley #BookReview @lorainenunley

Synopsis of the book:

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.

My review:

This was a page turner for me but in an unusual way. I felt strangely drawn to Sam even though she was young and came across as flighty. Except she wasn’t flighty, she was wounded by life and had immersed herself in literature to escape the pain.

Honestly, I bounced back and forth in my feelings about Sam. Just when I wanted to walk away from her silliness of quoting Jane Austen, something would be revealed about her that pulled me back in. What a roller coaster!

This story is written almost entirely in the letters from Sam to the mysterious Mr. Knightly. I found that interesting and entertaining.

I haven’t read any Jane Austen books so the many quotes that Sam lives her life by went over my head, but I did get the gist of what she felt. A true Austen fan would probably get even more enjoyment out of the story.

What I enjoyed most about this book:

That Sam’s character was so complex. I was drawn to her growing process.

What I didn’t like about this book:

I found Sam to be irritating at times and most of her literary quotes went over my head.

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes, particularly if you’ve read and loved Jane Austen’s works. This was a new to me author and I plan to read more of her stories.

Where can I learn more about this author and their books?

Katherine Reay, author website

-Loraine Nunley


6 thoughts on “Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

  1. I LOVED this book. Jane Austen is my favorite author, and I felt like Katherine Reay perfectly captured the spirit of “Emma” in this retelling. It was just wonderful! I can see, though, that you might need to be an Austin fan to truly love this story.

  2. I felt the same way as you because I haven’t read any Austen, either. Judging by the reactions of those around her, though, I could usually tell when Sam was using her coping mechanisms. This book gave me such unexpected feelings, especially near the end, and now I kind of love it.

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