Book Review: Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay

Dear Mr Knightley CoverBook: Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay

Published November 2013 by Nelson, Thomas, Inc

Source/Format: own the e-book

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction/Chick Lit/Christian/Inspirational

What It’s About: 

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.

Sam 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 twenty-three-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.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, 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.

What I Thought:

If I could use one phrase to describe Dear Mr Knightley, it would be this:

I don’t care.

I really don’t.  I don’t care enough about Sam or Merrill or Alex or the letters to actually care.  And I definitely don’t care enough about what happened to actually dislike the book.

I disliked Sam so much!  I understand why she clung to books but at the same time, I felt like she hid behind them.  As much as I understand why she had so many walls up, it was irritating, because the only thing I feel like I know about her is that she’s judgmental and sees people as a character in one of her books.  She doesn’t seem to care about relating or interacting with anyone around her, and she came across as feeling like she’s better than everyone around her because she quotes Jane Austen all the time.  And I love Jane Austen, but even this was too much.  She really wanted her life to be a Jane Austen novel.

I would say that it falls into the Christian lit/Inspirational category.  I felt like it was there, but Reay was trying too hard to make it not seem like it was.  And I was definitely surprised by it, because it came out of nowhere…but I also feel like I shouldn’t have been surprised because she’s an orphan who has this mysterious benefactor.  I don’t think it would have made a difference in how I feel about the book, but keep that in mind if you decide to pick up this book.


2 stars.  I don’t care enough to like Dear Mr Knightley, and I felt like it was really bland with no personality.

4 thoughts on “Book Review: Dear Mr Knightley by Katherine Reay

  1. I started this book once, but I was in such a book funk at the time that I couldn’t get into it and I just skipped ahead to the end to find out what happened. I did the same thing to The Husbands Secret that same weekend.

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