Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightly

Book Review

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is a collection of letters from a young woman, Samantha Moore, to her benefactor who goes by the literary name of Mr. Knightley. It is an unusual format to use in a fictional account but Reay does it skillfully, giving the reader an intimate look into the life of Samantha. We are privileged to know the pieces in her new wardrobe, the description of her gorgeous apartment and her most private thoughts. We know about her biggest fears and her desire to change enough to be able to form friendships. We also get a detailed look into the lives of other people who are part of Sam’s life. I think that the style of the book gives the reader a sense of having an almost voyeuristic peek into the life of this young woman.

Anyone who enjoys Jane Austen will love this book. Sam is a graduate student at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Her previous undergraduate work in classical literature is a big part of who Sam is. There are numerous literary references to Sam’s favorite books and she can quote or paraphrase Shakespeare, Austen and Dickens. I thought that it was fascinating to be able to watch the metamorphosis of Sam, from a bright girl who held people at a distance, to a polished, well-educated young woman that had numerous people who cared for her.

The ending was a surprise. The pertinent question through the entire story was, “Who is Mr. Knightley?” I had an idea who he was but I was not at all sure. This is a fascinating story done in an unusual way. It made me feel like I was part of the grad school experience again and I definitely enjoyed that. Also, in years past I lived in Chicago and it was fun to read about the restaurants – some I was familiar with, some I was not – and riding the “L” and the Metra. This is a great book for many reasons. I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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.

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.

Learn more about Katherine at: http://katherinereay.com/

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) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

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.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

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!

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