Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

 I am enthralled with this new author Katherine Reay. She writes with such empathy and such delicacy. Here is someone who does not insult the reader by rehashing so much of the storyline you wonder where the story actually is. She captures just the right way to make you laugh out loud, or to make you cry. When was the last time I cried when reading a work of fiction?  Ummmm. 1902? Oh, I've cried while writing my own stuff, but that's because I deeply felt what I was writing about. I cried in this book because I had such deep empathy for the antagonist, Samantha Moore.

I love the fact she wanted to be a journalist. I've lived that life, and I understand it. Obviously, Reay has taken a few courses in journalism. But, I'm not sure she's taken Master's courses in it. Some of that didn't ring true, but there are all sorts of colleges and all sorts of approaches. Everything else rang completely true and believable. So much so that I found myself constantly thinking about the characters as real people and real situations. That rarely happens with me. Character development is crucial for a really good novel, and critical for good story. Reay nails the character development as well as the growth of the main character. Little by little you see her blossom, and you can almost hear Jane Austin cheering from the sidelines.

Reay also has a unique way of telling her story through letters. Reminds me of Lady Susan. I love this because there is no head jumping, no threads hanging, no flash backs Praise the Lord! Great story telling.

Great book. Go buy it. You will be very pleased.

5 of 5 stars
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.


Katherine Reay said...

Gina, Thank you for such a thoughtful and lovely review. I am delighted you enjoyed the story. Thanks! KBR

Gina Burgess said...

Katherine, you are so welcome. Thank you for stopping by ;)

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