Dear Mr. Knightley  -     By: Katherine Reay
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Dear Mr. Knightley

Thomas Nelson / 2013 / Paperback

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Product Description

Growing up in foster care, imaginative Samantha's only friends were characters in books. But her real life takes an extraordinary turn when a mysterious "Mister Knightley" offers her a full journalism scholarship---on the condition that she write to him regularly. Will their long-distance friendship unlock her heart?

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 336
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 2013
Dimensions: 8.38 X 5.50 (inches)
ISBN: 140168968X
ISBN-13: 9781401689681
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

“Katherine Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley kept me up until 2:00 a.m.; I simply couldn't put it down." —Eloisa James, New York Times best-selling author of Once Upon a Tower

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.

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.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, 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.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a stunning debut—a pure gem with humor and heart.” —Serena Chase, USA Today

Includes Reading Group Guide

Plus Bonus Material: Q & A with Katherine Reay and Sam’s Reading List

Author Bio

Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries, and her favorite authors also include C. S. Lewis, Madeline L’Engle, Charles Dickens, J.R.R. Tolkien, John Piper, Timothy Keller, and the Bronte sisters. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, Katherine worked as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Katherine is an avid runner and a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. Her works have been published in Focus on the Family and the Upper Room. After living all over the world (including London), she currently lives with her husband and three children (with a great sense of permanency) in Seattle. Dear Mr. Knightley is her first novel.

Product Reviews

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  1. Massachusetts
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Dear Mr. Knightly
    January 20, 2015
    Collette
    Massachusetts
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I loved this book. At first I liked the format because the chapters were short. Then I was there in the story and could feel what Sam felt and be where she was. I was sorry to leave and know I will read this and visit again.
  2. Pittsburgh, PA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Great Book!
    December 27, 2014
    nhlceta1566
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I read this book because the CBD website highlighted this author and I was in need of a good book to read on vacation. I am SO glad I took the chance. This book is so fun to read, moves quickly, is a nice kind of funny, and I really loved the plot and characters. I LOVE that the author weaves the God into the story, but not in a way that is unnatural or would prevent a non-Christian to feel preached to.
  3. California
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    •°o•:*:•.Full of Heart.•:*:• o°•
    May 19, 2014
    Blue Jeans & Teacups
    California
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    This book is so unique. Setting - *sometime between 2010-2014. Samantha has lived in a group home and has the opportunity to move out as a young adult woman, or accept a grant to further her education, but she will have to continue in the group home.

    She opts for the first choice, but the job doesn't last long. She is forced to move back to the group home, and reapplies for the grant. Understandably the foundation is hesitant, and rather than give her the money outright, they require regular updates via penned correspondence to ensure she will not change her mind again. To ensure anonymity and no potential attachment, she is instructed to address the letters to Mr. George Knightly, who will in turn read them, but not respond.

    She agrees to the terms, but finds great therapy in the letter writing and spills forth all sorts of personal information.

    Rather than chapters in this book, there are dates. The date each letter is written. I really enjoyed it and read it cover to cover in one day.

    Sam does a lot of growing in the course of the story. Her head is filled with literary quotes, which she randomly shares with people who usually do not know what she is talking about. That was fun, because if you enjoy classic literature like Jane Austen, you will appreciate those moments. I don't usually read modern stories, so when she referenced PBSs Downton Abbey and Sherlock, well, I actually shouted, "Yes!" in delight. I was unsure of the *exact time setting until then.

    The sub-story of Kyle, a messed up, angry teenager in the group home, was a strong and moving one. Getting to know him through Sam's eyes and experiences with him was interesting.

    I especially enjoyed the strong influence and love of Professor and Mrs. Muir. What they did for Sam moved me to tears (but, no spoilers).

    I did not care for her first boyfriend, Josh. But the friendship she develops with Alex, a famous author was a treasure to see develop.

    Yesterday in church, our pastor shared how "One wrong turn on the road can change your day, but one wrong turn in life can affect you for years. It is important to think ahead and consider the consequences." Some of these characters did that, while others did not. There were many "consequences" throughout this book. Truly interesting.

    This is Katherine Reay's debut novel. I can't wait to read what she comes up with next!

    Things that are included: *Discussion Questions at the end. *Q&A with Author

    I purchased this copy and opinions are my own.

    © 2013

    Heather Guerrero

    Read: 5/18/2014

    Reviewed: 5/19/2014
  4. KarenCollier.com
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Among My Favorites
    March 23, 2014
    Karen Collier
    KarenCollier.com
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Dear Mr. Knightley has found a place among my favorite books. I was swept away by the characters and the emotions, and simply had to keep reading to see what might happen next. So much for the errands I intended to get done that day....

    As I'm writing this review several days after reading the book, the characters are still with me, vivid and alive like cherished friends. And I'm tempted to dive right back into the book and read it again. In fact, I already have read a few of my favorite scenes a second (and third) time. The emotional resonance of those scenes is truly powerful. I feel for the characters, their vulnerabilities and fears, and I want to see them find love, acceptance, and happiness. Sam desperately wants to experience "normal" and I want that for her too. It's what drives her to grow and change and to confront her fears.

    The format of the book is unusual in that it consists almost entirely of the letters Sam writes to her benefactor, Mr. Knightley. Those letters are detailed accounts of the things that matter in her life, told in first person narrative format. At times, it was easy to get swept up in the action, description, and dialogue Sam records, and forget that I was reading a letter. And yet, the really great thing about the use of letters was getting to see Sam's perspective on events more or less as they were happening rather than her perspective looking back from the conclusion of the story. It gives a sense of immediacy, and allows the reader to see how her thinking changes as the story progresses.

    The faith element in this story shows up in the subtle influences of Christian characters Sam encounters who love and accept her, and show her a reason for hope. Given her fascination for literature, I loved the role her reading of CS Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader played in her growth and development, as well as her changing understanding of Scrooge in Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Framing her newfound understanding within a context of literature really seemed to make sense for her character, and provided a glimpse into the Christian worldview without becoming preachy. I think this is a story that could be enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike.

    This is a must-read debut novel, particularly if you're into Jane Austen or romance or literary novels or loveably flawed characters trying to find their place in the world. Please, do yourself a favor and give this book a try. And if you enjoy reading it as much as I did, you'll be on the lookout for Katherine Reay's next book, Lizzy and Jane, due out in October.

    Thank you to publisher Thomas Nelson for providing a complimentary copy for review purposes, via NetGalley. This is my own honest review.
  5. USA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Daddy Long Legs-ish
    March 7, 2014
    Bess
    USA
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: female
    Quality: 4
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 4
    Imagine it: you come from nothing but pain & poverty {a string of failed foster placements & abuse} - your future is bleak, as is your present - when out of the blue you receive word that someone wants to sponsor you through journalism grad school with the only stipulation being that you have to write this person {who wishes to remain anonymous, by the way} letters; he won't be writing back, so it'll be a one way correspondence of sorts. Not a bad deal. If you've ever read the classic Daddy Long Legs, it's probably come to mind by now. This story, Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, is very Daddy Long Legs-ish, but modern with its own unique twists & turns, too. I think that slightly ruined it for me, however, because I am such a fan of the original story that my hopes were quite high for this retelling.

    I found that it starts out rather slow, & took me quite a lot of letters {the story is presented in the form of letters Samantha Moore writes to her mysterious benefactor who wants simply to be called "Mr. Knightley" after Jane Austen's literary leading man} to get into the story line. However, I stuck with it & eventually got into the reading. There's a satisfying, albeit predictable, conclusion at the end when you get to read what you knew was coming all along {that is, if you're familiar with Daddy Long Legs}. Overall, I give Dear Mr. Knightley 3 & a 1/2 postage stamps out of 5!

    *I received this book from the publisher for free (through the BookSneeze program) in exchange for my honest review.
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