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Customer Reviews for Thomas Nelson Dear Mr. Knightley

Thomas Nelson Dear Mr. Knightley

Growing up in foster care, imaginative Samantha's only friends were characters in books. But her real life takes an extraordinary turn when a mysterious "Mister Knightley" offers her a full journalism scholarship---on the condition that she write to him regularly. Will their long-distance friendship unlock her heart?
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37 out of 3897%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for Dear Mr. Knightley
Review 1 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

•°o•:*:•.Full of Heart.•:*:• o°•

Date:May 19, 2014
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Heather Guerrero, Homeschool Mom to 2Blessings
Location:CORONA, CA
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
This book is so unique. Setting – *sometime between 2010-2014. Samantha has lived in a group home and has the opportunity to move out as a young adult woman, or accept a grant to further her education, but she will have to continue in the group home.
She opts for the first choice, but the job doesn’t last long. She is forced to move back to the group home, and reapplies for the grant. Understandably the foundation is hesitant, and rather than give her the money outright, they require regular updates via penned correspondence to ensure she will not change her mind again. To ensure anonymity and no potential attachment, she is instructed to address the letters to Mr. George Knightly, who will in turn read them, but not respond.
She agrees to the terms, but finds great therapy in the letter writing and spills forth all sorts of personal information.
Rather than chapters in this book, there are dates. The date each letter is written. I really enjoyed it and read it cover to cover in one day.
Sam does a lot of growing in the course of the story. Her head is filled with literary quotes, which she randomly shares with people who usually do not know what she is talking about. That was fun, because if you enjoy classic literature like Jane Austen, you will appreciate those moments. I don’t usually read modern stories, so when she referenced PBSs Downton Abbey and Sherlock, well, I actually shouted, “Yes!” in delight. I was unsure of the *exact time setting until then.
The sub-story of Kyle, a messed up, angry teenager in the group home, was a strong and moving one. Getting to know him through Sam’s eyes and experiences with him was interesting.
I especially enjoyed the strong influence and love of Professor and Mrs. Muir. What they did for Sam moved me to tears (but, no spoilers).
I did not care for her first boyfriend, Josh. But the friendship she develops with Alex, a famous author was a treasure to see develop.
Yesterday in church, our pastor shared how “One wrong turn on the road can change your day, but one wrong turn in life can affect you for years. It is important to think ahead and consider the consequences.” Some of these characters did that, while others did not. There were many “consequences” throughout this book. Truly interesting.
This is Katherine Reay’s debut novel. I can’t wait to read what she comes up with next!
Things that are included: *Discussion Questions at the end. *Q&A with Author
I purchased this copy and opinions are my own.
© 2013
Heather Guerrero
Read: 5/18/2014
Reviewed: 5/19/2014
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Review 2 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Among My Favorites

Date:March 23, 2014
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Karen Collier
Location:KarenCollier.com
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Dear Mr. Knightley has found a place among my favorite books. I was swept away by the characters and the emotions, and simply had to keep reading to see what might happen next. So much for the errands I intended to get done that day....
As I'm writing this review several days after reading the book, the characters are still with me, vivid and alive like cherished friends. And I'm tempted to dive right back into the book and read it again. In fact, I already have read a few of my favorite scenes a second (and third) time. The emotional resonance of those scenes is truly powerful. I feel for the characters, their vulnerabilities and fears, and I want to see them find love, acceptance, and happiness. Sam desperately wants to experience "normal" and I want that for her too. It's what drives her to grow and change and to confront her fears.
The format of the book is unusual in that it consists almost entirely of the letters Sam writes to her benefactor, Mr. Knightley. Those letters are detailed accounts of the things that matter in her life, told in first person narrative format. At times, it was easy to get swept up in the action, description, and dialogue Sam records, and forget that I was reading a letter. And yet, the really great thing about the use of letters was getting to see Sam's perspective on events more or less as they were happening rather than her perspective looking back from the conclusion of the story. It gives a sense of immediacy, and allows the reader to see how her thinking changes as the story progresses.
The faith element in this story shows up in the subtle influences of Christian characters Sam encounters who love and accept her, and show her a reason for hope. Given her fascination for literature, I loved the role her reading of CS Lewis's The Voyage of the Dawn Treader played in her growth and development, as well as her changing understanding of Scrooge in Dickens's A Christmas Carol. Framing her newfound understanding within a context of literature really seemed to make sense for her character, and provided a glimpse into the Christian worldview without becoming preachy. I think this is a story that could be enjoyed by Christians and non-Christians alike.
This is a must-read debut novel, particularly if you're into Jane Austen or romance or literary novels or loveably flawed characters trying to find their place in the world. Please, do yourself a favor and give this book a try. And if you enjoy reading it as much as I did, you'll be on the lookout for Katherine Reay's next book, Lizzy and Jane, due out in October.
Thank you to publisher Thomas Nelson for providing a complimentary copy for review purposes, via NetGalley. This is my own honest review.
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Review 3 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5

Daddy Long Legs-ish

Date:March 7, 2014
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Bess
Location:USA
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Imagine it: you come from nothing but pain & poverty {a string of failed foster placements & abuse} – your future is bleak, as is your present – when out of the blue you receive word that someone wants to sponsor you through journalism grad school with the only stipulation being that you have to write this person {who wishes to remain anonymous, by the way} letters; he won’t be writing back, so it’ll be a one way correspondence of sorts. Not a bad deal. If you’ve ever read the classic Daddy Long Legs, it’s probably come to mind by now. This story, Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay, is very Daddy Long Legs-ish, but modern with its own unique twists & turns, too. I think that slightly ruined it for me, however, because I am such a fan of the original story that my hopes were quite high for this retelling.
I found that it starts out rather slow, & took me quite a lot of letters {the story is presented in the form of letters Samantha Moore writes to her mysterious benefactor who wants simply to be called “Mr. Knightley” after Jane Austen’s literary leading man} to get into the story line. However, I stuck with it & eventually got into the reading. There’s a satisfying, albeit predictable, conclusion at the end when you get to read what you knew was coming all along {that is, if you're familiar with Daddy Long Legs}. Overall, I give Dear Mr. Knightley 3 & a 1/2 postage stamps out of 5!
*I received this book from the publisher for free (through the BookSneeze program) in exchange for my honest review.
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Review 4 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

My Dear Mr. Knightley...

Date:March 1, 2014
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Jessica Laurie
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
"Dear Mr. Knightley,
I thought about you last night and stayed up reading Emma. I adore her, though she's out of my reach. Can you imagine such confidence and assurance of your own significance? Do you know anyone who would dare declare that he or she "cannot really change for the better"? I'd like to believe that--even for a moment."
Lizzy Bennet. Jane Eyre. Edmond Dantes. All fictional characters, but all real, constant friends to a girl who grew up in the foster care system after being taken away from her neglectful and abusive parents. Now grown up, Samantha Moore still has trouble connecting in relationships. Why trust the real world when the perfect companions are readily available in her beloved books? When all seems lost, Sam is given the opportunity to gain her Master's degree in journalism (though literature was her first choice, of course), but there's one catch. She must keep her anonymous benefactor informed with how her studies are progressing through letter-writing. So Sam reveals not only the details of her studies but her life to the silent but dependable person whom she only knows as as her Dear Mr. Knightley.
Except for the last chapter, Dear Mr. Knightley, Katherine Reay's debut novel, is comprised entirely of Sam's letters to Mr. Knightley. This format took a little time to get used to and the story began a bit slow, but a third of the way in I was captivated, halfway through I was completely invested, and by the end, I loved the characters and Sam's story dearly. Though written in first person, all of the characters--Ashley, Kyle, Alex, Father John, Professor Muir and Mrs. Muir--and the situations come across achingly raw and authentic. I only felt a bit jarred at the end when I had to get used to seeing the world in third person, outside of Sam's intensely personal perspective. I suppose that's how our main character felt when she was forced to look up from her novels, encounter the real world, and discover herself as well.
Like Sam did with her first copy of Pride and Prejudice, I want to read this book until the covers wear thin and I'm forced to buy another copy. Heart-breakinglyly honest, brilliantly hopeful, and sweetly romantic, I believe Jane Austen would approve.
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Review 5 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Engaging Coming-of-Age Novel

Date:February 22, 2014
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Monica H
Location:Atlanta
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay is a coming-of-age novel about a college graduate, Samantha, who has spent many years trying to forget and mask her past by hiding behind the characters of her favorite Austen novels. It’s not a particularly effective coping mechanism, as it isolates her socially and prevents her from realizing her own potential.
I struggled to get into this book, through no fault of the book or the author. As I started to read, the subject gave me flashbacks to Tom Wolfe’s I am Charlotte Simmons and Curtis Sittenfeld’s Prep. I disliked both those books immensely, finding the protagonists to be whiny, overly naïve and self-defeating. Both novels stuck with me for all the wrong reasons.
I persevered and I’m glad I did. I found myself engaged with Samantha’s journey towards self-discovery and cheering her on. She knew she had faults but she did not wallow in them (for the most part). She worked hard to better her situation, though naturally at times fell victim to her own self-doubt. Does she succeed in the end? You’ll have to read the book yourself to find out.
The “Dear Mr. Knightley” title refers to the anonymous benefactor who pays for Samantha’s graduate education with the stipulation that she must provide updates via regular written correspondence. As you might expect, the letters become almost a diary and provide both self-reflection and catharsis for Samantha. One of the themes in the book centers on who Mr. Knightley is – and I will say the reveal at the end of the novel is surprising.
Overall I found Dear Mr. Knightley to be a well-crafted novel with relatable characters and a believable plot. Unlike the other two novels I mentioned above, I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others.
Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book through BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.
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Review 6 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Plenty of depth

Date:February 21, 2014
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Heidi
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
I'm going to gush a little here- I *loved* this book. So, so good. I have to admit I judged the book by its cover and thought it would be chick-lit fluffy, but it was deep and compelling and emotional. All in good ways, though. Several times I found a tear creeping out the corner of my eye, but it wasn't because I was sad, it's because I was so touched.
I didn't instantly connect with the main character Sam. As more of her personality and background was revealed, I became more invested in the story. The voice of the novel is very personal since it reads almost like a journal, but the author did a great job of being able to portray both the thoughts of Sam and the scenes and interactions with others. While the book is based on the classic Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, the grittiness of the foster care system and hardships Sam endured made things more real and less fairy-tale.
I enjoyed the relationship between Sam and Alex. Their friendship then romance developed and deepened slowly which worked well for the pacing. The relationships she developed with other characters were just as satisfying to read about. The part I liked best was that she was introduced as such a flawed person, but as she became aware of her shortcomings and unhealthy coping mechanisms, she focused on the difficult task of changing and improving. It was refreshing and interesting to watch her character progression, as well as others in the book.
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Review 7 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Very Good Read

Date:February 12, 2014
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AJH
Location:CA
Age:25-34
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I love any book that is going to possibly be about Austen. So this was a definite must have for a fan. And it really was a delightful book to read. The way it is written is so different from any book I've ever read so that was really something I liked and it kept my attention as well. I could sort of see what would already happen early on, but I loved it and still wanted to read it. Definitely recommend and especially for an Austen fan.
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Review 8 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Close to 4 stars. Very interested in the next one.

Date:January 28, 2014
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JesuSaves
Location:Canada
Age:Under 18
Gender:female
Any avid Christian Fiction reader must have heard of Katherine Reay's ''Dear Mr. Knightley''. Since its release last year, this novel has received nothing but glowing praise and it was with great anticipation that I grabbed a copy of it. For me, it started out well, really well. I could tell by the author's rich, gorgeous voice that she was a seasoned writer; her introduction of the main character simply drew me in. We meet Samantha Moore, a soul secretly hurting and hiding behind personas (a creative quirk, I found. Kudos to Reay). I had a feeling healing would flow for the wounds of Samantha's past and that by the end of it all, hers would be a beautifully rendered story. But halfway through the book, I found myself frustrated. Especially at her. Words cannot express how enigmatic this character is and as much as I tried, I simply could not decipher Samantha. What I first thought to be vulnerability in her came across as frustrating naivety. At times, she seemed approachable and willing to reach out to others, then she would suddenly close up on herself and was not as nice as before. There were simply too many contradictions. I just couldn't connect.
Unfortunately, Samantha's relationships didn't help the situation because, honestly, except for Father John, Kyle and even Hannah, I felt like most of the secondary characters were really distant. Something about their affiliation with the heroine seemed forced. Just as I was about to lose hope, lo and behold, in walks the great Alex Powell. I was so sure he was the solution to it all! The more I kept hoping the more I realized he was running away from the heroine. There were sweet moments between the two but, mercy, I was wishing for more -- way more!
Long story short, I really didn't think I would end up liking '' Dear Mr. Knightley''. I say this with humble honesty and with no intention of coming across as rude or inconsiderate. In fact, few things thrill me more than encouraging authors -- especially Christian ones. I sincerely wanted to like it as much my fellow reader friends did. And thank you God! Something ended up saving the day, for me; I couldn't have possibly seen it coming.
The ending.
O my word. I was literally pacing, at loss for words, by the time I finished this story. The conclusion to ''Dear Mr. Knightley'' crowned it all SUPERBLY! Though the characters frustrated me, it suddenly dawned on me that the author weaved a fictional tale that starkly mirrored reality conceptually. Both Alex and Samantha are flawed but determined to make it right. Despite what they invest in trying to hide them, their weakness are openly exposed and Loss encounters Grace, the unforgivable becomes forgivable, surrender yields acceptance, which bring beautiful healing. Both individuals hang on to each other and to faith to rise from the ashes and lies of the past as love brings them close in a way that takes them both by surprise. '' Dear Mr. Knightley'' definitely isn't your average romance. In fact, if you are looking for the perfect, cute story, sorry, you might end up disappointed. To me, this one is for anyone looking for an imperfect picture of thriving love. It even made me want to give Austen a try. I've never been too interested in her books and I'm glad the repeated references to her work didn't hinder me from enjoying Reay's novel. Brilliant cover, brilliant concept. The next one, '' Lizzy and Jane'' cannot come soon enough.
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Review 9 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Great and inspiring!

Date:January 27, 2014
Customer Avatar
Alice
Location:http://readingwithalice.blogspot.com/2014/01/dear-
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
There are so many words to describe this book...
Wonderful, witty, fun, funny, lovely, sad, inspiring, heartwarming, heartrending, profound, thought-provoking, encouraging, sweet, emotional, tear-jerking (and by tear-jerking, I mean, like this is the first book that's ever made me CRY- not just tear up), beautiful- and so many more.
Dear Mr. Knightley is a book that has events and characters that so many people in our day and age can relate too; Samantha Moore is hurt; she has no self-confidence, she's nerdy, and kind of avoided. But she's smart, can read people really well when she tries, and doesn't know just how brave she can be. She just wants to be loved and not thought of as a total wacko- what she doesn't know is to Whom she needs to turn for that Love- and that she may have herself in the wrong position, mentally. (Until amazing characters like Mr. and Mrs. Muir show up to encourage and lend a helping hand and leave us all in a puddle of aren't-they-adorable-fangirling-antics.) There are so many things in this book that the bookish of our society can not only relate to, there's so much they need here. This book could really work in someone's life who has gone through any of the things Sam relates to Mr. Knightley in this story.
Btw- when I read the synopsis I was totally expecting the same plot as Daddy-Long-Legs -while it was similar in many ways, I was beyond surprised and pleased at the differences.
There is someone and something for everyone in this story.
This is really random- but I SO enjoyed ALL the references to coffee, Starbucks, and lattes in this story. As I said- there is something here for everyone. ;)
Thank you, so much, Reay, for this story. <3
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Review 10 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

I ended up really loving this book!

Date:January 21, 2014
Let me preface this review by saying that I didn't initially like this book. In fact, after reading the first 50 pages, I was ready to DNF it (in other words, not finish it). It wasn't that the book was badly written—it wasn't. It's just that I really had a hard time connecting with the main character. Weird, right? Since the main character is a bookish nerd ... just like yours truly! But I'm clueless when it comes to Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters, and I've never read Jane Eyre or Pride and Prejudice. Sam (the main character) loves her some bookish quotes, and I just wasn't getting it. So I started scouring other reviews to see if anyone else agreed with me. Much to my surprise, I realized that 99% of the reviews were positive. And ALL of my blogger friends who have similar reading tastes to me LOVED it. Like, seriously gushed over it. So what's a girl to do? A few people mentioned that things really picked up around page 100, so I skipped ahead. (Yes ... I nearly died. I'm a "read every page" kind of a gal.)
And. I. Loved. It!
Katherine Reay is an extremely talented author! She took a simple romance story and gave it a twist by telling almost the entire story through a series of one-sided letters. By the end, I was wondering, "How in the world did she do that?" Once I connected with Sam, I literally could not put the book down. Even though the majority of the letters are from Sam, they really do tell a complete story.
The friendships that develop throughout this book are just beautiful. This is more than a romance. It's a great story! Sam learns from and grows because of her relationships with people ... actual people, not just books. And it's a beautiful thing.
Dear Mr. Knightley certainly taught me about giving a book a second chance! (And to top it all off, she's inspired me to give some of those old classics a second chance too!) I'm so glad I finished this book! (And don't worry ... I went back and read the pages I skipped over!) Katherine Reay has a bright future ahead, and I'm anxiously awaiting her next book! [4 stars]
I received a free copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my fair and honest review.
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Review 11 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Already My Favorite for the Whole Year

Date:January 14, 2014
Customer Avatar
Anonymous
Location:Columbus, GA
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
It won’t surprise me one bit if December 31st rolls around and I can still say "Dear Mr. Knightley" is my favorite book of 2014. This story is just that good.
Author Katherine Reay has combined elements of Jane Austen’s works with one of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s to create a truly unique contemporary story. To make it even more interesting, the story is told in letters, letters that travel mostly in one direction—from Samantha Moore to her mysterious benefactor, known to her as Mr. George Knightley.
Samantha is a young woman overcoming a traumatic childhood. In order to cope with situations out of her control, Samantha has learned to hide in books and even goes so far as to take on the personality traits of her favorite characters as she needs them, often going so far as to use even their words as her own.
Samantha longs to study literature in college, but is offered a full scholarship from an unknown person on two conditions. First, she must study journalism instead of literature. Second, she must send updates of her progress in letter form on a regular basis. Samantha struggles with her decision, but finally agrees to her benefactor’s terms. Her letters become a journal of sorts, even though Mr. Knightley is reading them. Through the exercise and her experiences and with the help of new people entering her life, Samantha begins to discover who she really is—and how to show this self to others without fear.
"Dear Mr. Knightley" is Reay’s first novel, but I will be watching for more. Thomas Nelson Publishers sent me a complimentary eCopy of this one for my review. I recommend this book.
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Review 12 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Fun Book

Date:January 4, 2014
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Jennie Nelson
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
After Anna Karenina, I was looking for something a bit lighter, a lot shorter, and fun. Dear Mr. Knightley is all these things. Samantha Moore is obsessed with Jane Austen and easily retreats behind Austen’s characters when real life gets too hard or too close. Her regular written correspondence with the mysterious Mr. Knightley provides a place for her to bare her soul without fear of rejection. This book is packed full of literary references as Sam tries to walk forward. I appreciated the way the author, Katherine Reay, was able to articulate interior thoughts and motives in a relatable and realistic way. This book also carries a redemptive quality. It was an easy read without being fluff. This is an enjoyable story to bring on a fun vacation, a long plane ride or if you need a break from Anna Karenina.
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Review 13 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

This Debut Novel Does Jane Austen Justice! :)

Date:December 27, 2013
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CharityUAusten
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
When Katherine contacted me asking if I’d be interested in writing an endorsement for Dear Mr. Knightley, I was ecstatic to say the least – and not just because I was writing my first endorsement, but also because finally, a book was coming that would incorporate Jane Austen and not be horrid (like the zombie and sea monster spinoffs – haven’t read them but they sound awful). An early copy arrived in my mailbox this spring, and I quickly made time to delve into it. And I was not disappointed. Katherine managed to perfectly incorporate strains of Jane Austen and Jane Eyre into Dear Mr. Knightley while keeping the story moving at a good rate. I’ve read books before that are rather annoying, when put into letter form. This story is in epistle form and it only enhances the delightful story within! I was so caught up in this one. It’s easy to read, easy to love, and most decidedly a book that I highly recommend to all Jane Austen fans. It’s worth buying, y’all!
**The author sent me a free copy of this book in addition to the advance manuscript, but I didn’t have to review it positively. I wasn’t paid for my review.**
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Review 14 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Amazing Debut That Will Sure To Leave You Changed!

Date:December 26, 2013
Customer Avatar
Lala
Age:18-24
Gender:female
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Wow when I saw the book description of this book my first thought is this sounds like a fun book with a good plot. Not to deep but deep enough to stir something in me to change some kind of previous thought/action/idea! However I was not prepared for the big something that Sam's story stirs in me!
This book is so passionate, heart-breaking, and deep all at the same! I cried, I got angry, I laughed, I felt conviction, and I felt my heart open. There were many occasions that my heart broke, but also many more powerful times my heart rejoiced in the power of trust and surrender!
Throughout all of this novel I felt the challenge Katherine gives. I would say this book inspires, but really it challenges you! It seems almost through the underlying of the letters Katherine is asking: "Will you be your own character? Will you choose to surrender even though it can hurt? Will you choose to trust even though your fearful?" I heard those questions and felt that challenge in such a convicting way. I'm that kind of girl like Sam (not quite so extreme though) who will hide her problems behind a book. I can give someone more insight to a characters heart in a novel rather then my own because it feels easier that way. However Katherine answers and shows that no it's not easier because our Creator wants to write our story that glorifies Him rather then hide behind fear.
Overall, I give this novel a 4.5 out of 5 stars only because I felt near the later part of the book I missed a connection with Sam in some situations that I had felt previously. Beside that through, "Dear Mr. Knightley" is definitely a must read, but be prepared to have some tissues on the side because you might need them.
"Through it, I found a new character. Me." - Sam
*Thank you Litfuse and Tommy Nelson for this amazing novel! I received this book for free in exchange for a honest review! All thoughts are my own and I was not required to give a positive review!*
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Review 15 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

My New Favorite

Date:December 20, 2013
Customer Avatar
Samantha Coville
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Sam Moore has always hid behind her classic fiction characters, namely Lizzy Bennett, but now she has a chance to escape the orphanage and attend a prestigious journalism school. The only rule is that she has to write letters to the anonymous donor, detailing her successes and failures. Can she continue to mask herself with quotes and alternate names or will she be forced to step into the light? And what will happen when her literary hero, the mysterious Alex Powell, steps into her life and straight into her heart?
I’m so glad I agreed to review this book because it has suddenly become one of my favorite. There’s no edge of your seat action, no espionage thriller or anything like that. But it far outshines books that do have those things. The realistically flawed characters are easy to become attached to and I suddenly found myself hooked and dying to see how it all played out for Sam, Alex and Kyle. And while there’s romance, it never goes over the top and it stays within healthy boundaries.
I could see the big twist coming from a mile away but the book was so amazing that I didn’t really care and kept reading just as eagerly as I had started. Sam is so relatable that I could myself in her. It helps that we share a name and a love for classics, but we also have faults and failures that make her triumphs seem so obtainable to me. It’s a fiction self help if such a thing is possible.
And look at that cover. I stared at it for a good five minutes, transfixed by it’s stunning simplicity and beauty. Kudos to the designer! And kudos to Katherine for writing such a wonderful tale and writing it in easy to follow letters from Sam to Knightley. I wish I could have someone to write to like that! Five heroines out of five!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Review 16 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Not a Cliche Romance

Date:December 17, 2013
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Casey
Location:Oregon
Quality: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Value: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
“Dear Mr. Knightly” is more than just the surface romance I expected. It was a very serious story with a heroine my heart craved to learn more about, to dig within her person and plumb her depths. This is certainly one of those books with so many layers and human emotional tangles that it could be read several times over.
More women’s fiction that romance, there is still a generous dose of love story hidden within Samantha’s telling. I loved her and Alex together on the page. She truly personifies every little girl’s dream of prince charming and happily ever after, without all the cliché responses that I expected in a book based around a Jane Austen quoting heroine.
Even among all the layers that make the book worth going back for another read, I thought at times there were way too many twists hidden in the dialogue. I was often caught off guard by the subtleties and undercurrents and while there is nothing wrong with that, I thought it happened too often for my ability to catch the intricaties and not just be confused.
Overall, I thought it a lovely story, one I would read again. There is a great deal of hope given to the single reader, waiting for her Prince Charming. If it could happen for Sam, there is a deeper faith that anything could happen here in real life…
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
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Review 17 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5

Good book, but has some flaws

Date:December 6, 2013
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alisa
Location:Utah
Age:35-44
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
4 out of 5
4 out of 5
I haven’t read much of Jane Austen, and I have tried to read Pride and Prejudice numerous times, but can’t get through it. This book, Dear. Mr. Knightley, is a play on Pride and Prejudice, and though I’m sure it can’t compare to the original, was very enjoyable. Call me a prude, but what I liked most about this book was the virtue of the main character. So many love stories seem to require skin and sex and it’s totally not necessary. This book was clean and that was my favorite part.
As far as an overall story and believable, not so much. I did enjoy the “quotes” from other books and there are definitely scenes that are tender. The premise that Mr. Knightley would take on a foundation grant and then fall in love with the receiver seemed a bit too much, but at the same time, it could happen.
Another thing I especially enjoyed was seeing (although this is somewhat unbelievable) about the main character pouring her heart and life and every action in these letters to a stranger. Yet, sometimes we are more open with strangers than with our family members I know. Despite some far-reaching stretches, Dear. Mr Knightley, was a fun read, light, but with some “make-you-think” moments. Would recommend, even if you aren’t totally familiar with Pride and Prejudice.
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Review 18 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5

Not What I Expected

Date:December 4, 2013
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Anonymous
Location:Inyokern, CA
Age:55-65
Gender:female
Quality: 
3 out of 5
3 out of 5
Value: 
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
1 out of 5
1 out of 5
While well-penned, the story was nearly impossible to follow. I was not impressed with Sam's story, but compliment her tenacity under obsessive pressure to perform. Kyle's adoption was the highlight of the entire book. His struggles were dramatic and tragic, but victorious. Cara was also a keeper with her boldness, but sad to see how little hope she retained. Alex's identity was a known commodity from the first; as was Sam and Alex. The concept of the story was intriguing, while the book was not.
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Review 19 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Unusual and highly entertaining romance

Date:December 4, 2013
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Carole Jarvis
Location:Jonesboro, Georgia
Age:Over 65
Gender:female
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.
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Review 20 for Dear Mr. Knightley
Overall Rating: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5

A intriguing debut!

Date:December 3, 2013
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Tammi
Location:maine
Age:45-54
Gender:female
Quality: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Value: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Meets Expectations: 
5 out of 5
5 out of 5
Katherine Reay's debut novel is the story of Samantha (Sam) Moore, which is told in letters written to Mr. Knightley, the anonymous benefactor who granted Sam a full scholarship to graduate school. His only stipulation? That she write him a weekly letter, as if she were addressing a diary, and mail them to him. His promise to her was that he would never write back to her or seek her out.
Sam, who loves to write and who needs a confidante, begins to write to Mr. Knightley. As she writes, the reader is drawn into Sam's world getting to know her on an intimate level, learning why she closed her heart to those whose only goal was to love her.
As a way to protect her heart, Sam hides behind the characters in her books. She fears that if she is real and reveals her true feelings she'll be completely rejected and that her heart will shatter. I am sure that each of us felt like this at one time or another.
I enjoyed getting to know Sam as I read her letters which contained everything from everyday life to real, heart-wrenching events. I enjoyed watching her grow from hiding behind her favorite book characters to being open with the people she came in contact with. You may think that it would be awkward to read a book that is composed entirely by letters, it wasn't that way for me, after the first few pages I had become so immersed in Sam's story that the letters faded into the background as she poured her heart onto the paper.
I enjoyed meeting other characters, too. I wondered who Mr. Knightley was and wondered which character he could possibly be. I enjoyed meeting Father John, Hannah, Kyle, Alex Powell, the Muirs and watching her friendships slowly blossom with some of her classmates. I even grew to love her seemingly harsh journalism professor, who saw Sam's potential and pushed her further than she thought she could go.
I laughed and cried with Sam as she struggled and fought to find her voice in her writing, and as she works through her hurts of the past to become the women that Father John, her journalism professor, and the others knew she could become.
When this book came up for review, I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, because honestly, I wasn't sure I'd like it. I also was intrigued by the blurb so I took a chance, now I am glad that I decided to request Dear Mr. Knightley, I would have missed a great book if I hadn't.
**Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
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