Like Samantha in Katherine Reay's debut novel Dear Mr. Knightley, I am madly in love with Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare--the classics. I can't quote them as well as Sam, by any means, but I found it to be very charming when she did... though her best friend found it annoying. Out of the blue, Sam meets a man who can do the same (well-known and super cute writer Alex Powell). Honestly, I doubt there's a straight man in this world who could quote classic novelists... but it made for a cute story, nonetheless.
Samantha is a foster kid who has been passed from family to family and finally ends up with a mysterious benefactor who calls himself Mr. Knightley. If you're a Jane Austen fan, you'll know that Mr. Knightley is one of the most attractive and swoon-worthy of Austen's heroes. Also like me, Samantha loves writing. Her "Mr. Knightley" offers to put her through college to major in journalism if she'll write letters to her mysterious donor, detailing her progress.
Because of Mr. Knightley's anonymity, Sam’s letters become more like diary entries. One of the "rules" is that he won't write her back. She feels safe, almost as if he isn't really an actual person. She sometimes wonders if he even reads the letters. Sam ends up confessing things to him that she has never told anyone. In real life, Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, and old secrets are drawn to light. As Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.
The premise of this book is the importance of discovering who you are... embracing who you were meant to be. I really enjoyed Dear Mr. Knightley and definitely recommend you put it on your summer reading list!
Special thanks to the wonderful people at Booksneeze for providing me this book to review!