Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley Blog Tour

Welcome to the blog tour for Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay!

Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others-namely her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story-by giving that story to a complete stranger.
Growing up orphaned and alone, Sam found her best friends in the works of Austen, Dickens, and the Brontë sisters. The problem is that she now relates to others more comfortably as Elizabeth Bennet and Jane Eyre than as herself.

Sometimes we lose ourselves in the things we care about most.
But life for this twenty-three-year-old is about to get stranger than fiction, when an anonymous benefactor (calling himself "Mr. Knightley") offers to put Sam through the 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 program and peers force her to confront her past, she finds safety in her increasingly personal letters to Mr. Knightley. And when Sam meets eligible, best-selling novelist Alex Powell, those letters unfold a story of love and literature that feels as if it's pulled from her favorite books. But when secrets come to light, Sam is --- once again --- made painfully aware of how easily trust can be broken.

Reay's debut novel follows one young woman's journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

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Meet 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 as a marketer for Proctor & Gamble and Sears before returning to school to earn her MTS. Her works have been published in "Focus on the Family" and the "Upper Room." Katherine currently lives with her husband and three children in Seattle. "Dear Mr. Knightley" is her first novel.

Learn more about Katherine at:


Sam has been trying to escape her past for a while. After being shunted from foster home to foster home, Sam ended up in a safe house where she could finally move forward. While her after college career didn't turn out quite as planned, Sam has managed to be given an amazing opportunity. A mysterious benefactor has offered her the chance to go to a prestigious journalism graduate program. Everything will be paid for, and Sam only has to write about her progress to the anonymous donor known only as "Mr. Knightley." While Sam pours her heart into her letters, in the real world she has a much more difficult time. Afraid to let people get too close, Sam relies on her favorite book characters and quotes to get her through the day. All that begins to change when she meets her favorite current writer Alex Powell. Their friendship helps them both as they work through past and current issues. As Sam begins to come out of her shell, she realizes that her past can be a hindrance or a help to her. Sam will have to learn to let people in, even if it means getting hurt in the process.

This book is written strictly as a series of letters to Mr. Knightley (plus a wrap-up chapter at the end). I was afraid this format might get a bit old, but it managed to stay interesting throughout. It actually ended up forcing the author to keep things tighter as far as the story goes to keep the letters manageable (and believable). I loved that many of the main characters were flawed. While they were good at heart, they had great weaknesses as well. Those were the things that ended up making them so interesting and real though. I feel like a lot of us are at least a little like Sam. Books provide a beautiful escape from an ugly reality sometimes. Sam managed to take this a little too far though, but this was all really a defense mechanism for her. It was Sam's way of protecting herself, and while it did it's job it also kept her from experiencing some of the more beautiful parts of life.

As you watch Sam progress from her imaginary world into a more realized actual life, you see her experience joy and pain. Her friendship with Alex Powell is particularly interesting to watch. These two people had such different lives, and yet they share some things in common. The ending had a bit of a twist, but I kind of expected it really? It was the only way the story made sense to me. That didn't matter though. I absolutely loved this book. It was so easy to love these characters even as you got annoyed with some of their actions. They felt like real people. This is a book I'll keep to read over and over. It was fun, smart, and thoroughly entertaining. I know loads of people will fill like they know Sam (or maybe are Sam a little bit). Wonderful book!

Book provided for review. 

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