Customer Reviews for

Dear Mr. Knightley

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Where do I start with this book? It was beautiful. I loved every

Where do I start with this book? It was beautiful. I loved every page and I only wish there was more of it. This is the kind of book that I love reading. It is a book of self discovery, friendship, and true love. I loved the characters. All of them. Sam is an intriguing...
Where do I start with this book? It was beautiful. I loved every page and I only wish there was more of it. This is the kind of book that I love reading. It is a book of self discovery, friendship, and true love. I loved the characters. All of them. Sam is an intriguing heroine that you can't help but adore.

This was an emotional read for me. I know it won't be for everyone. I just have a huge soft spot for foster kids and their unique trials. I did a lot of (not so) subtle eye swiping while reading.

This is a beautiful debut. If you are looking for a fresh new voice in literature, one that will make you laugh, cry, and leave you with a smile on your face, then give Dear Mr. Knightley a try.

Content: clean

posted by book4children on February 21, 2014

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Modern daddy long legs

This is a good book, although at times the narrative gets kind of stodgy and too convoluted. It is a pretty close copy of the book Daddy Long Legs. I knew that about halfway through the book. Not an original story, but I enjoyed it.

posted by Bijou1313 on January 13, 2014

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  • Posted November 4, 2013

    I am a big Jane Austen fan so when I saw the title of this book

    I am a big Jane Austen fan so when I saw the title of this book I immediately snatched it up. Imagine my surprise when I started reading and realized this was not a Jane Austen knock-off. Was I disappointed? Not in the least! In fact I think I have just added a book to my top ten list for the year.




    This is Katherine Reay's debut novel but it does not read like one. The depth of emotion that this story evokes is overwhelming at times. Through the character of Samantha Moore we are taken into the world of the foster care system. Some of it good and nurturing but a lot of it broken and damaging. 




    A simple classification of this tale would be to characterize it as a love story. As with most love stories it is complex. It involves the love of a man for a woman but it also involves adults that love a child even when that child is an adult herself.




    If you enjoy deeply emotional and beautifully written literature I can almost guarantee that you will love this piece of work. Let me leave you with a couple of my favorite quotes from the book:




    "The day we forget the horror, Sam, we will repeat it. Never forget your past. It will make you less human, less than human."
    "I've heard all sorts of things about a kiss (melting, fireworks, music), but no one ever told me it's a conversation: asking, accepting, deciding, inviting, giving . . . questions posed and answered.I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Katherine's letter-writing approach is fresh, a form rarely see


    Katherine's letter-writing approach is fresh, a form rarely seen in Christian fiction. Any initial reservations I might have had quickly disappeared as I began to get caught up in the action and fast-paced dialogue of Sam's letters to Mr. Knightley. What at first seems to be a light, Austen-based romance surprisingly goes far deeper and turns out to be so much more.

    Katherine is very knowledgeable on foster care system and classic novels; her love for classical fiction shines through every page. It is my understanding that this story is a modern version of Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs, which I've never read. Neither have I read the Austen classics from which these characters frequently quote, but that in no way lessened my understanding and enjoyment of this novel.

    Sam is a delightfully human heroine - fun, quirky, smart, warm, loving, flawed and broken all at the same time. As a child who had known abuse and neglect, she used literature almost as a defense mechanism, erecting walls around herself to keep from getting hurt, only to discover that "no matter how many characters I hide behind, how much work I bury myself beneath, my past still pushes me every day and haunts me every night." She seemed to find a sanctuary in the letters she was required to write, and Mr. Knightley became a glorified diary as she began to pour her heart out to her unknown benefactor.

    Sam and Alex are complex characters and there's a great supporting cast. I loved Sam's rapport with the young teen Kyle and how they helped each other open up about the abuse they had experienced. And I wish I could pull Professor Muir and his wife off the pages and into my own life. One of my favorite takeaways from this story is the Professor's admonition to Sam concerning her background: "It's your past - your story to share. But never let something so unworthy define you."

    While the spiritual element is subtle, grace is a major theme from beginning to end. When Sam questions Father John at Grace House about the grant, he tells her, "Consider it grace - a gift unwarranted and undeserved." Sam felt so real that I was walking along beside her as she gradually matured both emotionally and spiritually. Her words give voice to the grace she received: "How can I not believe that there is a God who exists and loves, when the people before me are infused with that love and pour it out daily? I still can't grasp that it's for me, but what if it is?"

    Storylines are tied up pretty neatly at the conclusion, but that flowed nicely with the theme of grace and I loved it. I especially enjoyed the last section which was written outside the letter format.

    Rarely do I finish a novel and wish I had time to start again at the beginning, but I think a second reading would reveal so many things that I missed the first time. Dear Mr. Knightley should easily appeal to fans of the classics, but I don't hesitate to recommend it to all readers.

    This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2013

    When I read that  Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay   was avai

    When I read that  Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay   was available on Booksneeze, I absolutely had to read it. Instantly.  Advertised as a modern Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, with a heroine who hides her true self behind Jane Austen quotes, what wasn’t to like? Almost every girl loves Jane Austen, while Daddy-Long-Legs is just about my favourite novel ever. I reread it, following the development and adventures of the heroine Judy Abbott, every few years, along with Dodie Smith’s  I Capture the Castle.

    However, my high hopes initially disappointed me. The setting: Chicago, around a young people’s residential unit for children who had missed out on fostering, was recognizable as Judy Abbott’s  orphanage but the context was too modern for me. Sam, our heroine, had far more issues than Judy and I didn’t identify with her.  Still, I ploughed on and found myself becoming absorbed by the story. The plot and equivalent characters with Daddy-Long-Legs were fairly easily identifiable and I enjoyed seeing how Sam, with determination, persistence and loving encouragement, began to turn her life around. Her predilection for speaking in romantic literary quotations, chiefly from Austen and Bronte, was quirky and fun. I found myself trying to place the quotes before the characters were able to do so.

    As the story progressed, I became anxious.  Sam’s letters to her anonymous benefactor (Mr. Knightley) parallel Judy’s letters to her college sponsor.  As I read, I wondered if Sam’s story would have the same equivalent charming, happy ending. Judy falls in love with a wealthy, successful man before she discovers he is, in fact, her anonymous benefactor.  Sam develops a close relationship with Alex, a highly successful writer. Yet she also has a steady boyfriend with a good job and lavish lifestyle. Both relationships have ups and downs which she shares with ‘Mr Knightley’.  More importantly, Sam works through her issues, overcoming past hurts and damaging experiences. The story might draw on an older novel, but would this modern retelling end in a similar fashion?

    Well, I won’t spoil it. Suffice to say that the ending is suitably happy. Sam achieves success: in her career, in her relationships, and in becoming a whole, healed, happy person. And, as Jane Eyre would say: “Reader, I married him.” What more could the reader of romantic fiction want?

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    This particular book had a lot of potential to disappoint me as

    This particular book had a lot of potential to disappoint me as a reader. I saw the book cover as a sneak peak for Thomas Nelson's October newsletter and when I saw the title I knew I wanted to read this book. When I read the short description of the book, it had even more potential. And I have to say that this release was very timely with the beginning of <em>Emma Approved</em>
    , the new online series that started at the beginning of October from the makers of <em>The Lizzie Bennet Diaries</em>
    . Thankfully, Katherine Reay's debut novel did not disappoint. In fact, <em>Dear Mr. Knightley</em>
    exceeded my expectations.

    Samantha Moore (Sam) has had a hard life. Raised in the foster care system, she has had some good experiences but many more that weren't so good. It seems that anytime things start to go right for Sam, her hopes and dreams slip through her fingers and are shattered. When she was young she learned to escape into her beloved books. She often even answers others with quotes from those books. When an anonymous benefactor offers to pay for Sam to go to graduate school to get a degree in journalism, she is hesitant at first to accept the offer. When she does accept, there is one condition that is placed on her. She must write her benefactor, who calls himself Mr. Knightley, and share her progress. While in school, Sam meets Alex Powell, a successful author of action mysteries. Sam is drawn to Alex and enjoys his company. Their shared love of literature helps her feel safe but will Sam ever be able to step out from behind her beloved literary characters and find her own voice, live her own life?

    While all but the last chapter of the book is comprised of the letters Sam writes to her Mr. Knightley, Reay does an amazing job of combining classic literary works, more contemporary novels and pop culture throughout her novel. As Sam finds more comfort in writing Mr. Knightley, she begins to open up more and discover things about herself that hurt but help her grow. While I figured out the identity of the benefactor fairly early, it didn't detract from the story.

    <em>Dear Mr. Knightley</em>
    gets five out of five stars from me.


    ****Thomas Nelson Publishing and Booksneeze provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. I was not compensated in any way for either a negative or a positive review.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 7, 2014

    Enchanting

    Wonderful read; couldn't put it down til the last page

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  • Posted December 5, 2014

    Highly Recommended - particularly for Jane Austin fans

    This is a modern day story of a girl in foster care who retreated into books to help her cope. The book is a series of letters written to an unknown person named Mr. Knightley as a condition of receiving funds to go to college. The growth of the main character is a joy to watch.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2014

    I always pick up one of these kinds of books with equal parts an

    I always pick up one of these kinds of books with equal parts anticipation and trepidation. I knew by the time I finished the 4th letter that I loved this book -- no matter what the twists and turns of the plot would be.
    This is not a retelling of an Austen story or borrowing Austen characters; it is not a prequel or a sequel. It is inspired by Austen and a love of reading. It is a completely Austen story of a heroine who is on a voyage of self-discovery and grows in discernment in a close circle of family and friends. Sam's story is told entirely through the series of letters she writes to her benefactor -- Mr George Knightley.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2014

    I Also Recommend:

    Wonderful story about life

    A beautiful story filled with love, compassion, hurt, struggle, choices and our ability to keep going, to make it. To help others when we are able and to learn and receive help when we need it. In spite of pride or fear. This story is really a great read...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2014

    Loved this book!

    I am a huge fan of the romance classics and this book did not disappoint! I couldn't put it down and will read it again and again. Looking forward to the next novel by this amazing author! I have already preordered. I love this novel !!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    Bawk gym

    Open tupe bug

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2014

    Loved this book

    Great characters hard to put down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2014

    Excellent!

    A wonderful novel - highly recommend. Well written, thought-provoking.

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  • Posted April 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    When the real world becomes too much, or if the real world start

    When the real world becomes too much, or if the real world starts taking things that you love away from you what do you do? Fight
    against it? Go with the flow? Or would you retreat and hid in a shell? Sometimes it helps when you’re down to have someone there to
    talk to. To be able to release some of the tension that builds up from too much stress. For some there just isn’t anybody to talk to, like
    Samantha Moore in the book “Dear. Mr. Knightley” who didn’t have anybody to talk to. No family, hardly any friends, except her fictional
    characters from her favorite Jane Austin, Charles Dickens books. To Samantha, Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse and Fitzwilliam
     Darcy (or Mr. Darcy) they were her heroes. These characters that have faced tough times in a tough world always had something to
    say, some type of advice that became the voice for Samantha. But it gets kind of boring when the conversation is one sided. 

    So when an opportunity of a life-time comes along to go to one of the greatest Journalism colleges with Full Tuition all paid for with one
    perk: write letters to the anonymous benefactor who calls himself “Mr. Knightley” about Samantha’s progress. To be honest, Samantha
    was quite skeptical about writing letters to a complete stranger plus she is to never receive letters back. At the start, Samantha almost
    doesn’t go through with it. But once she found that writing to someone, voicing her days and progresses in school, actually helps her
     release her tension about school and about life as well seems to bring her out of her shell and be able to face the real world with her
    OWN voice. Not Elizabeth Bennett’s voice or Mr. Darcy’s voice speaking for her, for this time she’s speaking from her own experience,
    her own voice and Samantha has found that her voice has something special to say to those around her. Only question is, is the world
    ready to hear Samantha’s voice? 

    A wonderful story about a young woman who all her life lived through tragedy found comfort in her books and stayed hidden for so long
    she forgot how it feels and mean to live in the real world until an unknown benefactor helps her find her voice through actual letters.
    Not email, not instant text messages, not even Facebook was what she needed. The actual form of writing letters, mailing them day
    after day is what helped Samantha come out of her shell. When I was little, my hero at that time was my big brother, Rich. He was
    always ready for whatever the world tossed at him and always curious of what the world could offer him. He was super excited that his
    little sister was just as curious as he was, so what does a big brother to do? Send advice, give encouragement and since he lives in
    another state, letters is how we stayed connected. And we still do to this day. A little Postcard, or a quick letter here or there and that’s
    how we helped each other get through the hardships that life brought us. If you find that someone who could help you, or haven’t
    seen/talked to for a while, write a letter to them. You never know, they (or even you) might be living like Samantha Moore, hiding in their
    shell. You never know.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2014

    Couldn't put it down.

    I stayed up way too late because I just had to know what happened next. Yes, I even cried a little in places, but the ending just made me happy.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Great Read

    This book delivered a whole lot more than I had expected from reviews. It was thought provoking and its insight were great. Add to it all that it was cute and had fun spots as well and it was a well rounded read.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    very enjoyable loved the different style

    I couldn't stop reading it I really enjoyed it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2014

    Always a good read. I would recommend this for raining days readings

    I knew who Mr. Knightley was doing to be, but I had to keep reading to make sure. Loved the book

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    Loved this book!

    This was a lovely, enchanting read. It made me want to sit on my comfy couch with a hot chocolate and an apple pie and be transported. I specially loved all the references to some of my favorite books in the world.

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  • Posted March 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Delightful!

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Don't want to give any of the story away....just read it and watch what happens.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    This book is different from anything I¿ve ever read. It¿s in let

    This book is different from anything I’ve ever read. It’s in letter form and is funny, sad, and poignant. It’s interesting watching Sam grow as a person. Even though I did guess the ending, it was still the best book I’ve read in a long time.

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