A intriguing debut!
Katherine Reay's debut novel is the story of Samantha (Sam) Moore, which is told in letters written to Mr. Knightley, the anonymous benefactor who granted Sam a full scholarship to graduate school. His only stipulation? That she write him a weekly letter, as if she were addressing a diary, and mail them to him. His promise to her was that he would never write back to her or seek her out.
Sam, who loves to write and who needs a confidante, begins to write to Mr. Knightley. As she writes, the reader is drawn into Sam's world getting to know her on an intimate level, learning why she closed her heart to those whose only goal was to love her.
As a way to protect her heart, Sam hides behind the characters in her books. She fears that if she is real and reveals her true feelings she'll be completely rejected and that her heart will shatter. I am sure that each of us felt like this at one time or another.
I enjoyed getting to know Sam as I read her letters which contained everything from everyday life to real, heart-wrenching events. I enjoyed watching her grow from hiding behind her favorite book characters to being open with the people she came in contact with. You may think that it would be awkward to read a book that is composed entirely by letters, it wasn't that way for me, after the first few pages I had become so immersed in Sam's story that the letters faded into the background as she poured her heart onto the paper.
I enjoyed meeting other characters, too. I wondered who Mr. Knightley was and wondered which character he could possibly be. I enjoyed meeting Father John, Hannah, Kyle, Alex Powell, the Muirs and watching her friendships slowly blossom with some of her classmates. I even grew to love her seemingly harsh journalism professor, who saw Sam's potential and pushed her further than she thought she could go.
I laughed and cried with Sam as she struggled and fought to find her voice in her writing, and as she works through her hurts of the past to become the women that Father John, her journalism professor, and the others knew she could become.
When this book came up for review, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, because honestly, I wasn't sure I'd like it. I also was intrigued by the blurb so I took a chance, now I am glad that I decided to request Dear Mr. Knightley, I would have missed a great book if I hadn't.
About the Book:
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.
Growing up orphaned and alone, Sam found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. The problem is that she now relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.
Sometimes we lose ourselves in the things we care about most.
But life for this twenty-three-year-old is about to get stranger than fiction, when an anonymous benefactor (calling himself “Mr. Knightley”) offers to put Sam through the 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 program and peers force her to confront her past, she finds safety in her increasingly personal letters to Mr. Knightley. And when Sam meets eligible, best-selling novelist Alex Powell, those letters unfold a story of love and literature that feels as if it’s pulled from her favorite books. But when secrets come to light, Sam is – once again – made painfully aware of how easily trust can be broken.
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.
Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Her works have been published in "Focus on the Family" and the "Upper Room." Katherine currently lives with her husband and three children in Seattle. "Dear Mr. Knightley" is her first novel.
Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
- Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace)
But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.
Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!
Blessings,Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.