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Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel Paperback – November 12, 2013

4.5 out of 5 stars 720 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'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 Starred Review

'Katherine Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley kept me up until 2:00 a.m.; I simply couldn't put it down.' --Eloisa James, New York Times best-selling author of Once Upon a Tower.

About the Author

Katherine Reay has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries. After earning degrees in history and marketing from Northwestern University, she worked in not-for-profit development before returning to school to pursue her MTS. Katherine lives with her husband and three children in Seattle, WA. Dear Mr. Knightley was her first novel. Twitter: @Katherine_Reay Facebook: katherinereaybooks
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson (November 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140168968X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401689681
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (720 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #190,602 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sometimes you are given a gift that everyone assures you will be delightful but you aren’t entirely sure the contents will be too your liking. The wrapping is appealing and the shape looks intriguing but you are still uncertain. You open it up and you are surprised by its unique richness and you wonder why you ever doubted! That was Katherine Reay’s debut novel for me. I loved the premise, the cover was beautifully fanciful but a book composed entirely of letters? To write such an epistolary novel and pull it off successfully is hard – and a debut novelist? I admit to a little skepticism but I’m thrilled to say Katherine pulled it off beautifully, and then some!

Dear Mr Knightley captivated me, heart and soul, from beginning to end. The characters are beguiling to a fault ~ Sam’s awkwardness, Kyle’s brokeness, Mrs Muir’s gentleness, Alex’s charm, the Professor’s protectiveness ~ each quickly wove their way into my heart. Katherine is a master of emotive prose, easily evoking my empathy, anger, passion, and eventually tears as Sam discovers that she is precious and worthy of love. There is a cleverness to Katherine’s writing that is deeply refreshing ~ wry humour, romantic tenderness, and heart shattering honesty pour from these pages, as do wonderful quotes from the classics that readers will delight in discovering. Simply put, I adored this story and am thrilled beyond measure that 2014 will bring me another dose of Katherine’s fabulous talent with Lizzy and Jane. Until then, I will comfort myself with additional readings of Dear Mr Knightley ~ yes, it is that good!
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Format: Paperback
Dear Mr. Knightly tells the picturesque story of a young woman named Samantha who is not only an orphan, but a girl who's made - nearly - one mistake too many. After attempting to make it on her own, she's forced to return to the safety of Grace House, the place she grew up in and try earning back the scholarship offered by a mysterious benefactor who is known to her only as "Mr. Knightley." When the man agrees to reinstate Sam's scholarship, the only stipulation he asks is that she write him letters detailing her progress. During her year of journaling through letters, Sam learns the meaning of independence, self-worth and maybe... even love.

Jane Austen has inspired thousands of contemporary pieces of candied fiction - both literary and cinematic. New author Katherine Reay uses the popularity of Austen-esque inspiration and crafts her story into a magnificently unique novel. One of 2013's debut authors, already Katherine has established herself as a name to keep an eye on. In `Mr. Knightley,' readers are swept up on an emotional journey of hope, healing and finding home. I have to be honest, when I was ready to read the book, in my typical reading habitual, I'd paged through the novel and read the author note prior to seriously reading it, and my opinion wasn't were I wanted it to be. This can be traced back to one thing - the style in which the book is written. Aside from an epilogue, the story is told, not just in the first person but entirely through letters, and it was a context that made me read with trepidation. Nonetheless I went through with reading and oh my, what a treat Dear Mr. Knightly was. These are the best kind of novels.

Ripping up the "rules" for a usual contemporary novel, Reay reinvented the familiarity of the genre.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
In 1912, Jean Webster wrote a charming book called Daddy Long Legs. Webster's book was about an orphan sent to college by a wealthy but anonymous benefactor. In return for her education, all she had to do was write letters chronicling her experiences at school. Told through Judy's letters, the book follows as Judy finds her footing and sense of self outside of the orphanage, makes friends and eventually falls in love. Sound familiar? Dear Mr. Knightley is Daddy Long Legs, set in 2014 with a little Jane Austen fanaticism thrown in. Nothing original about it. While Katherine Reay's version was well written, I was deeply disappointed that she couldn't produce something that wasn't blatantly lifted from an American classic. Skip this version and read the original -- it's eons better.
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The beginning of this book showed great promise, but like many books based on an interesting premise, it went from a many-starred opening to a barely-starred ending.

Any epistolary-style format runs into difficulties, but especially a one-sided correspondence. A single character has a great deal of weight to carry or the book becomes flat.

The characters never rang true for me. The heroine is a 24-year-old graduate student who had a horrific childhood and lived on the streets for a time. And yet, she is extremely naive and immature.

The hero doesn't seem like a man found in real life, but rather a construction devised by a woman. He is very sensitive, buys thoughtful gifts, and shares the heroine's knowledge of Jane Austen. He is even capable of quoting long passages of "Pride & Prejudice."

I share their love of Austen, but have never been able to get my husband to so much as look inside the cover of "P&P." "No car chases" he always says with a grin.

"Dear Mr. K." Tries to be many kinds of books in one: YA, Austen homage, contemporary Christian. As a result, it doesn't have a clear goal, and the constant shifting left me wishing to wander off and find another book to read.
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