Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Blog Tour & Review | Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr. Knightley 
by Katherine Reay
Christian Fiction / Contemporary
Available November 2013
Thomas Nelson
336 pages



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.


My Thoughts
This review was due in November. My apologies to the author, publisher, and publicist for the delay in posting.

Let me preface this review by saying that I didn't initially like this book. In fact, after reading the first 50 pages, I was ready to DNF it (in other words, not finish it). It wasn't that the book was badly written—it wasn't. It's just that I really had a hard time connecting with the main character. Weird, right? Since the main character is a bookish nerd ... just like yours truly! But I'm clueless when it comes to Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters, and I've never read Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. Sam (the main character) loves her some bookish quotes, and I just wasn't getting it. So I started scouring other reviews to see if anyone else agreed with me. Much to my surprise, I realized that 99% of the reviews were positive. And ALL of my blogger friends who have similar reading tastes to me LOVED it. Like, seriously gushed over it. So what's a girl to do? A few people mentioned that things really picked up around page 100, so I skipped ahead. (Yes ... I nearly died. I'm a "read every page" kind of a gal.)

And. I. Loved. It!

Katherine Reay is an extremely talented author! She took a simple romance story and gave it a twist by telling almost the entire story through a series of one-sided letters. By the end, I was wondering, "How in the world did she do that?" Once I connected with Sam, I literally could not put the book down. Even though the majority of the letters are from Sam, they really do tell a complete story.

The friendships that develop throughout this book are just beautiful. This is more than a romance. It's a great story! Sam learns from and grows because of her relationships with people ... actual people, not just books. And it's a beautiful thing.

Dear Mr. Knightley certainly taught me about giving a book a second chance! (And to top it all off, she's inspired me to give some of those old classics a second chance too!) I'm so glad I finished this book! (And don't worry ... I went back and read the pages I skipped over!) Katherine Reay has a bright future ahead, and I'm anxiously awaiting her next book! [4 stars]

I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.

About the Author
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.

Katherine Reay Online
Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter

4 comments:

  1. I'm so glad to hear that u liked the book. The plot sounds interesting to me, so thanks for adding another title to my ever growing TBR pile. I'm also proud that u stuck w/ it because after 50 pages I definitely would have made it a DNF.

    ReplyDelete
  2. So funny! Because I had a similar reaction, except that I probably connected a little sooner and didn't skip pages. This book made my "best of 2013" list and I still don't see how she did it with the simple letter-writing format!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I havent read this one yet, it sounds interesting!
    Im a new twitter and bloglovin follower!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love these comments and I thank you SO MUCH for sticking the with story. My construct was the problem -- but it felt right so I never wavered. How do you get a young woman to open up quickly, and write deeply personal letters, when everything within her refuses to do just that?

    Thank you for the lovely review and for your perseverance -- Promise, the next book only has one letter… and a short note :)

    ReplyDelete

I love comments! Thanks for letting me know what you think!

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