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Book of the Week #42 "Dear Mr. Knightley"


*The blog tour for A Castle in the Sky continues over on Fictionally. Go over and say hi to Grace! She's a nice person and her blog is quite charming. :)*

by Katherine Reay

Samantha Moore came to live at Grace House after being tossed from one abusive foster home to another. Throughout most of her life, Samantha has hidden behind books, using them to escape her painful childhood. Her favorites are the classics, and she often quotes them when she can't think of anything else to say in conversation. She's now an adult and has a degree in English. After getting a job at the library, she moved out of Grace House and into her own apartment, but things didn't work out. So now, as the book begins, she finds herself back where she spent her teenage years, and back in college to get her master's degree. An anonymous donor agrees to sponsor Samantha's degree on two conditions; that she major in journalism at the tough graduate program at Medill in Chicago, and that she writes letters to the donor about her daily life. In order for the letters to feel more real, the donor requests that she addresses them to "Mr. Knightley." Soon, Samantha finds herself opening more to Mr. Knightley than to any other person she's ever known. And for the first time in her life, she puts in the effort to make friends with some of her classmates. When one of her friends, whom she thinks of as an "Emma," invites her to sit in on her creative writing class and listen to author Alex Powell, whom Samantha adores, she leaps at the chance. After the lecture, Samantha and Alex bump into one another and go out for coffee together. From then on, the two develop a sort of friendship, though Samantha secretly wishes it could be more.

I enjoyed this book, though it did make me sad. The descriptions of Samantha's childhood were heartbreaking, and I skimmed over a lot of it because it was just so sad. But I really enjoyed the parts that detailed Samantha's relationship with Alex, and her friendship with Ashley. And I can very much relate to Samantha's desire to immerse herself in books in order to escape reality. Even though I never went through the things she did, it's still nice as an avid reader to get lost in a good book on a bad day. I really felt for Sam when she struggled in one of her journalism classes. I remember having an awful teacher in school (though her intentions weren't as good as Dr. Johnson's) and so I know that it isn't easy. But Samantha really persevered and accomplished a lot in this book. And I'm glad that she finally found a place where she belonged, something that she had been searching for her whole life.

As I said before, I like the relationship between Samantha and Alex. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but I will say that it's one of the best parts of the book. I like it when romances start out as friendships; they tend to be the best ones.

Dear Mr. Knightley is a good book. It's very heartbreaking in certain places because Samantha has been through so very much, but there are a lot of good things that happen, too. It's an inspiring story of a woman overcoming great adversary and going onto live a much better life.


I give this book a 4 out of 5.

7 comments

  1. I really liked this book. It reminded me of the book Daddy Long Legs. Have you ever read that one? There is something alluring about a person falling in love with their benefactor. Glad you liked it :)

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    1. I haven't read Daddy Long Legs yet, but it's on my list! Everyone keeps telling me to I need to read it. I'm definitely looking forward to it. :)

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    2. You should definitely read Daddy Long Legs!! :)

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  2. The Guardian Duke by Jamie Carie is a bit like these two also. Where two people exchange letters etc. It is the first in a trilogy :)

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    1. Awesome! Thank you for suggesting it, Julie!

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  3. As much as I LOVE Daddy Long Legs, I was thrilled when I heard this one was getting published! It's so very wonderful, isn't it? I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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    1. I am so looking forward to reading Daddy Long Legs ASAP! And yes, Dear Mr. Knightley was a lovely read. Very poignant and a lovely happy ending! :)

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