Book Review

Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

“‘It’s your past — your story to share. But remember: it doesn’t define you.’ His words hung above us. ‘Never let something so unworthy define you.'”
Dear Mr. Knightley Cover
From the Publisher:

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.

Samantha Moore survived years of darkness in the foster care system by hiding behind her favorite characters in literature, even adopting their very words. Her fictional friends give her an identity, albeit a borrowed one. But most importantly, they protect her from revealing her true self and encountering more pain.

After college, Samantha receives an extraordinary opportunity. The anonymous “Mr. Knightley” offers her a full scholarship to earn her graduate degree at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism. The sole condition is that Sam write to Mr. Knightley regularly to keep him apprised of her progress.

As Sam’s true identity begins to reveal itself through her letters, her heart begins to soften to those around her—a damaged teenager and fellow inhabitant of Grace House, her classmates at Medill, and, most powerfully, successful novelist Alex Powell. But just as Sam finally begins to trust, she learns that Alex has secrets of his own—secrets that, for better or for worse, make it impossible for Sam to hide behind either her characters or her letters.”  

My Review:

I read this book almost two years ago and didn’t completely connect with it while reading it.

In the beginning, I wasn’t a fan of how the book was written in letter form, but then it began to grow on me and it seemed much more interesting that way – especially when the character of Mr. Knightley is revealed.

Then, a few days ago, I could not get the story off of my mind (I honestly have no idea why). It kept bugging me and my eyes kept wandering to it’s place on my shelf.

I left my homework..

Uh-oh. I know.

Then cracked it open and started reading it.

I was up late that night trying to finish it,

Right away, I lost myself in the story and connected with the characters so well. I think that when I read it the first time, I didn’t have anything in common with the characters. However, in the past couple years, a lot has changed.

There is so much that I can relate to with Samantha Moore:

  1. The stress of college and succeeding in classes.
  2. Escaping in stories to soothe the pain that life brings.
  3. Wearing the masks of literary characters.
  4. …And then some…

I also loved the other characters – especially Alex! 😉

How could I not – he’s an author! An author! Nothing could be more attractive in a man than one who knows how to write.

My life is complete! =D

Now just give me a second to rave about the literary references.

Oh the literary references!!!

They make this story an English major’s paradise!

If you have read my reviews of Julie Klassen’s books you will know for a fact that I go crazy when Julie throws in one literary reference. How do you think I feel when there is one in every single chapter?!

They make my head spin. They make my heart flutter. The grass seems greener, the sky seems bluer, and everything feels right in the world.

Don’t laugh. I’m serious.

There’s even a reading list of Sam’s favorite titles.

A reading list!

Can’t you see why this is paradise?!

Oh and hey Katherine Reay, if you are reading this I just wanted to tell you that your reading list made me cry.

At the end you say, “Please never let Sam know her letters were published. She may have a psychotic break like poor Miss Havisham from Great Expectations…”

How on earth could that make you cry? You may be asking. I played the part of Miss Havisham in my senior play (best part ever!) and I have been suffering with sever nostalgia. That made me crack. I miss it so much!!!

So, if a reading list can make me (who never cries) break down, this book is most definitely worth your time!

If you’re a fan of literary references, men who can write, and a beautiful raw story, read this book. Then tell me how you liked it!

If you have already read this book, what was your favorite thing about it?

Let me know down in the comments!


★ ★ ★ ★

Dear Mr. Knightley is raw, real, and emotionally gripping! I would definitely read it again.

It’s also very clean – nothing to worry about in here. 🙂

Book Trailer:
Emma Approved:

If you love the story of Jane Austen’s Emma and Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, you should watch this Youtube series! It’s one of my favorites! I believe Samantha Moore would love it.

Find Dear Mr. Knightley on:



Barnes and Noble

Thomas Nelson Publishers

Connect with Katherine Reay:

Katherine’s Website

Katherine’s Facebook Page

Katherine’s Goodreads

Other Books by Katherine Reay:

Lizzy and Jane

The Brontë Plot (Released November 3rd, 2015)

*Reviewer’s copy. All opinions are my own.  *

*Photo borrowed from Goodreads.*


8 thoughts on “Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

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