Friday, February 14, 2014

(Valentine's Day) Book Report: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

It's Jane Austen meets...Anne of Green Gables...and Dear Diary...and the Velveteen Rabbit...and...

It's raw and intimate

It's poignant and redemptive

It even has a bit of a Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants feel. While the sisters of the sisterhood must shed the magic of a pair of pants in order to step into their real uniqueness, Samantha Moore must shed her protective obsession with Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare in order to bloom into the real Sam.

If you've ever called yourself a bibliophile, bookworm, or LitPrincess--you haven't met your match until you've met Samantha Moore.

If you love period films and stories, you'll love Reay's romantic debut where "Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others--namely, her favorite characters literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story--by giving that story to a complete stranger."

Namely--Mr. Knightley. 

Life for twenty-three-year-old orphan Sam gets stranger than fiction when an anonymous benefactor underwrites her full ride through Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. No strings attached--except for one thing. She must write frequent letters to the donor detailing her progress. As her writing to Mr. Knightley grows increasingly real and confessional, Sam mines the depths of her dark past while struggling to be the real Sam with her friends and the eligible novelist Alex Powell she runs into in the halls of NU. As she delves deeper into the pages of her real life, can Sam step out of the pages of her novels without their protective personas to hide behind? Can she step out as Samantha Moore?

FAITH THEME: The fatherless find a home in Christ. Orphans find hope, love, and forgiveness when they can release the ugly past long enough to grasp a future in Christ.

I read this book in one sitting. That is very unusual for me. Reay does an outstanding job of bearing Sam's soul and her struggle. I laughed. I cried. I smiled, and I rooted for Alex Powell to survive beyond the Austen-esque tragic love lost vs. love found. I rooted for him to stand up strong when it looked like it was all slipping away. And I celebrated as Samantha Moore finds her real role on the stage of her life.

Leave a comment for a chance to win a free copy!

Reader Questions:
What's your favorite period film?
Who's your favorite period character?
How do you become the real you?
Happy Valentine's Day!!! :)

Blog post by Anne Love-
Writer of Historical Romance inspired by her family roots. 
Nurse Practitioner by day. 
Wife, mother, writer by night. 
Coffee drinker--any time.
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  1. I have read good things about this book. :) I love the movie Pride and Prejudice, of course. But would it be silly of me to say my favorite is the Princess Bride? I wouldn't even know what period that would be considered in. LOL.

    1. No, I LOVE Princess Bride, a family all time fav!! "Hello, my name is...." "Inconceivable!" "Stop rhyming." Fun, fun, fun. :)

  2. Anne, Thank you for such a lovely review. I am delighted you enjoyed the book! Thrilled really :)

    And as for Princess Bride -- It's incomparable and eminently quotable. I think that is MY favorite movie from which to quote! Great choice.

    1. You are welcome Katherine. Yes, PB very quotable!

  3. Gone With the Wind is my favorite period film with Scarlett, of course, being my favorite period character. I've heard lots of good things about Dear Mr. Knightley and would love a chance to win it. Thanks!

    1. Hi Gail, thanks for stopping by. I'm sure you'd love this one!

  4. My new favorite period film is North and South! I had assumed it was Civil War themed, but was happy to discover it's about the north and south of England. It's one of the few period films where I love both the actor and actress in the role. And it has the best kiss ever :)

    Looking forward to reading Dear Mr. Knightley! So many great reviews about it! Put me in for the drawing please!

    colorvibrant at gmail dot com

    1. You are in for the drawing for sure Heidi. N&S very fav here! You aren't the first to think it was Civil War.

  5. North and South is a good one! I rented it from Netflix a few years back when I was a member.
    I really enjoy the Sensibility version with Emma Thompson, and Persuasion is also great. Not sure which version of that I saw...

    Dear Mr. Knightley sounds great!

  6. Thanks for your great review, Anne!!

    Unusual storyline, sounds like a wonderful book!! I love the faith theme, and would love to read "Dear Mr. Knightley"!!

    I love novels set during the Civil War, and World War II. How do you become the real you? For me - it happened by renewing my relationship with God, and allowing him to direct my paths.


  7. I think I've only ever seen one period film, A Christmas Carol with Patrick Stewart, so I guess that would make it my favorite by process of elimination, right? I think my favorite character in said film is his nephew, Fred.
    How do I become the real me? Frankly, I'm still working on that one. I'm learning to find my identity in Jesus and His love instead of in myself and my works, though it's a fight some days. It's so much easier to keep the mask in place and hold everyone at a distance. Being me makes me more vulnerable and my instinct is to protect myself. I'll get there eventually, with God's help. :)
    Belated Happy Valentine's Day!

    1. Oops! I believe I was supposed to leave my email! bookluver1492 [at] gmail [dot] com

    2. Given your answer Sarah, I think that you will really love this book for the internal journey the heroine takes. But you might want to watch or read some Bronte or Austen to get all the references. The story will still be good if you don't catch all of them, but it might be even better if you do.


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