Dear Mr. Knightley

  • by Katherine Reay
  • Narrated by Hillary Huber
  • 9 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Samantha Moore is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore. But life for the 23-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction.
An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor calling himself Mr. Knightley offers to put Sam through Northwestern University's prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress. As Sam's dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it's straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

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What the Critics Say

"This delightful debut novel about how one young woman learns to become the person she was meant to be will resonate with fans of New Adult fiction and with readers who enjoy Jane Austen spin-offs." (Library Journal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Loved this book! So real.

This book made me feel, it made me relate, it made me laugh and cry. I want to see how the characters are even though the book is over.

There were spots that made me feel my own issues that I know I need to work on and it made me think.

I can't wait to listen to it again!
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- Shay

Insipid

Samatha Moore, a young adult who enjoys running and reading Jane Austin, and other Victorian-type novels, is the protagonist of this epistolary novel. Nearly 100% of the story is a collection of her letters to a G. Knightly, her anonymous benefactor who pays for her to attend a master's program in journalism; a discipline she doesn't really want to engage in but gives it a whirl at the insistence of a previous mentor, Father John. Through Sam's letters to Mr. Knightly we learn about her past and current life.

Although the overall reviews are good, and I can agree the story is well written and the narration is fine, my affirmation stops there. Sam is an insipid, self-absorbed, continuous whiner. I don't discount the tragedy of her early life. Nor do I discount the reasons for her escape into books. I don't even discount that she is clueless about things most people are familiar with. What I discount is that someone as intelligent as she is could be in her early twenties and have gained absolutely no insight on anything. In short, I was bored.

In fairness to the author, I did have to ask myself was I bored because it was so one-sided? Was I bored because the action was so slow? Was I bored because the tone, whining, prevented my trust of the protagonist's story-telling? Was I bored because so much of the story telling contained the purple prose of Victorian authors and characters, all of which were obscure plot devices and at times not even on point? Someone who is unfamiliar with the allusions will be even more bored with them, although they don't particularly detract from understanding what's going on. Quite frankly, I was as annoyed with them as Sam's friends were.

Except for Sam, the other characters were well developed. Their dialogue and lives were realistic. Their reactions to Sam were normal. I liked all of them better than I did Sam, which was unfortunate since the only point of view the reader gets is hers.

Although I figured out the ending toward the middle of the book, I kept reading in hope of more, particularly given the outstanding reviews.

Samatha Moore is not a bad person. In some ways she is a victim of her childhood, like many are. A person doesn't even have to have had identical experiences to, perhaps, identify with her. I simply didn't like her. Sometimes that happens in a book. My not liking her has nothing to do with the fact that it is a well-written novel that is well read by the narrator. Others may love Sam, and that is true to life. Try the novel or not, but understand that it is a one-sided tale.
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- Holly Helscher

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-17-2015
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio