“Dear Mr. Knightly” is more than just the surface romance I expected. It was a very serious story with a heroine my heart craved to learn more about, to dig within her person and plumb her depths. This is certainly one of those books with so many layers and human emotional tangles that it could be read several times over.
More women’s fiction that romance, there is still a generous dose of love story hidden within Samantha’s telling. I loved her and Alex together on the page. She truly personifies every little girl’s dream of prince charming and happily ever after, without all the cliché responses that I expected in a book based around a Jane Austen quoting heroine.
Even among all the layers that make the book worth going back for another read, I thought at times there were way too many twists hidden in the dialogue. I was often caught off guard by the subtleties and undercurrents and while there is nothing wrong with that, I thought it happened too often for my ability to catch the intricaties and not just be confused.
Overall, I thought it a lovely story, one I would read again. There is a great deal of hope given to the single reader, waiting for her Prince Charming. If it could happen for Sam, there is a deeper faith that anything could happen here in real life…
This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to the publishers for my copy to review.
More about the novel...
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.