Dear Mr. Knightley
Dear Mr. Knightley is a contemporary epistolary novel with a delightful dash of Jane Austen.
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.
This one has been on my to-read pile for a while. The title references a Jane Austen novel, so immediately it has that going for it. Apparently, it’s a re-telling of an older book called Daddy Long Legs, which I haven’t read, but is on our YA Fiction Bookclub list of books to read this year, so it will be interesting reading that after having already read this one.
This was nothing like a Jane Austen novel, but the characters reference Austen’s works and other pieces of classic literature. Having myself read most of the books referenced in this book, I enjoyed that aspect of the characters and their references.
I loved the format of this book — a series of letters written from Sam to her unknown benefactor, Mr. Knightly. I guessed at what was supposed to be the big plot twist pretty early on, but I still loved seeing it play out. Also, some other things about the novel were pleasantly surprising, and I teared up more than once while reading this one. I started reading this late at night, thinking I would just read a couple of chapters and go to bed, but ended up staying up for 4 hours to finish it. I just had to get to the end!
This book brought out all the feels. It was a warm-fuzzy kind of book and I loved it!
Would I recommend this to fellow book lovers? Yes! Especially if you’re a fan of classic literature!
Would I recommend this to my teen daughter? Absolutely.
5 of 5 stars