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.
If you don't understand the reference in the title of this book, it may not be the one for you... however, if you are a fan of Jane Austin at all then you will probably enjoy it.
I wasn't sure how I was going to like the style at the beginning because it's written as a series of letters to Sam's anonymous benefactor, but it actually works really well with the story.
Sam gets one last chance to make something of herself, but she can't seem to find normal. Instead she resorts to hiding behind quotations from all her favorite literature characters. As she begins to find her way in the real world she realizes that by trying to protect herself from hurt she's only managed to become more alone. But coming out of that shell also means risking; hurt, rejection, and causing pain for others. Perhaps she's more like her favorite heroine than she ever imagined.
One other thing, about a quarter of the way into the story I could feel a major plot twist coming. I ended up being right even though I managed to keep myself from peeking. In a way it was fun to be on the outside of the story and know what was coming. It's kind of like how you watch a movie and then there's a plot twist you never saw coming and then you can never watch the movie the same way again.
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.
I received this book from LitFuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.