Friday, November 15, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

This is a great novel. It's amazing for a debut effort.

Samantha Moore is an orphan who has been moved from one foster home to another. At twenty three, she lives at a home for orphans managed by Father John. Finishing her college courses she faces getting a job or two and her own apartment.

Then she is presented with an offer that will change her life forever. An unknown benefactor calling himself Mr. Knightley has offered her a grant to attend a prestigious journalism graduate program. His only requirement is that she write him regular letters to report her progress.

What a delightful story. As we read Sam's letters, we find out that she has been hiding behind characters in her favorite novels. She would frequently quote a line by Emma or Mr. Darcy rather than reveal her true feelings. And then she meets Alex Powell, best selling fiction author. Sam is terrified of revealing anything about her true self and her past. She has been terribly hurt in love before and does not want to make the same mistake again.

Reay has crafted an unique and well written novel. The writing of the letters works perfectly. We take part in the life of Sam totally through her eyes as she records her thoughts and experiences. I had reservations about how that would work but Reay pulls it off so well, I was captivated by the technique.

This is not a preachy novel. Sam must come to understand her belief in God but there is no mention of Jesus or salvation. I do like it when authors are able to tactfully present the Christian message in a novel. I found that to be the only area where this novel lacked being perfect.

Those who like the novels of Jane Austen or similar authors will love this one. But those who just enjoy a well written novel will love it too!

I am taking part in a book tour of this novel and you can read other reviews here.

Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long love affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. She has degrees in history and marketing and an MTS. Her works have been published in “Focus on the Family” and the “Upper Room.” This is her first novel. She and her family life in Seattle. You can find out more at

Thomas Nelson Publishers, 336 pages. Purchase a copy here.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through a publicity group for the purpose of this review.

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