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Dear Mr. Knightley
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Dear Mr. Knightley

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3.95 of 5 stars 3.95  ·  rating details  ·  2,971 ratings  ·  717 reviews
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 tr
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Paperback, 317 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Thomas Nelson
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Community Reviews

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Khanh (Clowns, Nightmares, and Bunnies)
This book is an alternative retelling of Daddy Long Legs, with an absolutely absurd Mary Sue heroine who can be described at best as "hopelessly, unbelievably innocent," and at worst "infuriatingly, incomprehensibly stupid."

Whose head is invariably stuck in one of the following three places:

- Up her ass
- In the clouds
- In a 19th century romance novel


It is one thing to love the classics, it is another to live your life around it. It is still another when you are a pretentious little twat quoting
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Deborah Markus
Just...no.

The premise of this book is good: a sensitive, intelligent girl who was abused by her parents and betrayed by child protection services finds shelter in books and hides her real self behind literary characters.

That idea is fine. The execution is an epic fail.

Dear Mr. Knightley is also based on Daddy Longlegs, the 1912 novel by Jean Webster. If you haven't read that, I highly recommend it. It's aged so well that my 16-year-old son, who sports a Mohawk, teaches LEGO engineering classes,
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Sarah
Age Appropriate For: 16 and up for some subject matter
Best for Ages: 16 and up

It is nice to have a bunch of friends on Goodreads who also review books. I can see what they are reading and what they say about a book before I review it. I got Dear Mr. Knightley because I saw so many positive reviews coming across my Goodreads feed. I was not disappointed.

When I read about the book, I truly expected a cute romance with a lot of Jane Austen quotes. What I got was so much better. In fact, it was so a
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Maria
Samantha Moore has spent her later years in the foster care system, changing several foster houses. She has no parents and no true identity because, to avoid more pain, she has always hidden behind her favourite characters in literature. Over the years she has even started to quote them in her personal speeches trying to protect herself from the real world. Everything starts to change when an anonymous benefactor, a Mr. Knightley, offers her his help. He gives her a scholarship to attend a prest ...more
Tadiana
Yes. I was bad and read this library book until 2 am and ignored my buddy reads of other books (rationalizing that I was ahead of most other readers). But this modern-day version of a young adult book written about 100 years ago, Daddy-Long-Legs, was an enjoyable, quick read and I was in the mood for it.

The basic plotline is similar to Daddy-Long-Legs: Samantha, or Sam, is an orphan and a bookworm who has been raised mostly in a group home and foster homes. Sam lives for Jane Austen books and ot
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Layla
I will try to make this as short as possible: I enjoy May / December relationships! It's a thing, and maybe it's a messed-up thing, but it's a go-to trope for me. (I blame it on yeaaaarrrs of reading Snape / Hermione fanfiction, you all.) That said, I think they're really hard to do well, especially when it's an older man and a younger woman. But anyway, this is part of the appeal - how will the author avoid having this relationship be creepy and paternalistic? how will they deal with the power ...more
Kate (Too Read or Not Too Read)
Oh, my goodness! Where do I begin with this book? This has to be on the short list of favorites for the year. I have not read a book that is so emotionally gripping as Dear Mr. Knightley, in a long time. This was a fantastic debut novel. I'm looking forward to reading more by Katherine Reay.

Sam is not a girl who has had an easy life. She had a very rough life, she was a part of the foster system for a time, and had very few champions in her life. Despite all of that, she has pushed forward and w
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Bailey
I sorry, I just can't. I hate not finishing, I've dnf'd exactly 2 other books, so it really does make me sad to give up. But unfortunately Samantha is just a girl I don't care to listen to anymore. (And I say girl because even though she is 23 she acts like a child) She regularly attacks people who genuinely care for her. She is beyond socially inept and barely even tries to relate to anyone else around her. I'm sure she goes through growth as a character but I don't feel like watching it.

Not ev
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Beth
Dear Mr. Knightley seems to be the type of book that gives potential readers pause - it's in letter format, that is, letters from the main character, Samantha, to her benefactor "Mr. Knightley," as updates about her academic life in graduate school.

Personally, I love stories written in this style, which I fell in love with in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, so while this didn't put me off at all, perhaps the somewhat unrealistic idea that Samantha would write letters to this u
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Rel
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 nov ...more
Alice
There are so many words to describe this book...
Wonderful, witty, fun, funny, lovely, sad, inspiring, heartwarming, heartrending, profound, thought-provoking, encouraging, sweet, emotional, tear-jerking (and by tear-jerking, I mean, like this is the first book that's ever made me CRY- not just tear up), beautiful- and so many more.
Dear Mr. Knightley is a book that has events and characters that so many people in our day and age can relate too; Samantha Moore is hurt; she has no self-confidence,
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Paula Vince
This is one of those epistolary novels which is written almost entirely in letters.

Orphan and former street kid, Samantha Moore has had a history of getting shuffled around from one foster home to the next. She gets an offer to attend a journalism course, all expenses paid. The one condition is that she has to write letters of progress to her anonymous benefactor, who calls himself Mr Knightley.

I was expecting a light read, but there's a good depth to this story. I understand why some readers ma
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Jennifer Fromke
If you are an Austen fan, this book is a rare treat.
Plus, it's a "remake" of one of my favorite stories from my childhood - Daddy Long Legs.
An orphan brought up through the system in contemporary Chicago, writes letters to a mysterious benefactor. I love the epistolary novel and this book keeps the pages turning - what will our heroine say next? The characterization is deep and well done. Even though I knew the story and how it would end, getting there gave me goosebumps. And upon reading the
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Amanda
I. LOVED. THIS. BOOK. period.

I loved the adoption of the older children and the adults. until just recently I didn't know adult adoption was possible and I love that this book detailed the lies that these children believe.

I hope one day I'm brave enough and able to do foster care.

Also, I was having a "You've Got Mail" moment at the end when we find out who Mr Knightley was - "I wanted it to be you!" I know she felt betrayed initially, but I loved it that it was who it was.
Lynne Stringer
I've been debating whether to give this book five stars or four, but I think four is a better place to settle.
I don't always like books that mostly feature letters. This format inevitably leads to more 'telling' than 'showing' and that can make the read tedious. Dear Mr Knightley suffered from this, particularly at that start. It took a few chapters before I could engage in it. Sam was also a frustrating protagonist, particularly at the start. However, I liked her and understood the way she hid
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Stuti (Turmeric isn't your friend. It will fly your ship
DNF at pg 102

What this book could have, I'll never know. But what it is, at this point, is certainly disappointing. I don't expect writing from an introvert's POV could be easy, but then please don't expect me to enjoy it either.

Sam's character lacks charisma or any kind of endearing qualities that are a requisite to pull a story of such banality through. Her voice isn't interesting nor does it establish a firm foundation for her story. Other times, I think the author is trying just too hard.

I
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Jamie
“All the furnishings are comfortable with a hint of bold. Exactly how I want to be.”

Apparently I have a thing for letters. Two of my all-time favorites (Dracula and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society) are both written in letters and/or journals. So you can imagine my delight in having the opportunity to read the fabulous debut by Katherine Reay, written in that very same way. Dear Mr. Knightley is hands down one of my favorite books I’ve read this year. I’d give it 6 stars if I could.

I
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Juju (Tales of Whimsy.com)
I adored this book. I loved every single second of reading it. It has drama, tension, mystery, pain, humor, hurt, healing, growth, friendship, faith, fancy, and love. It's delightful even while tackling some pretty serious realities. It's charming. It's a book for bookies. Serena Chase is right, it's a gem.
Katherine Reay
Aug 26, 2014 Katherine Reay rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)
Finally rated it... fully enjoyed it :)
Sarah
ABSOLUTELY DELIGHTFUL.

This book was recommended by a friend, and I will forever be grateful to her for it. And I will also always listen when she tells me I'd love a book, for I LOVED Dear Mr. Knightley.
Reasons:
-Epistolary Novel. I am a sucker for stories told solely through letters (Speaking of which The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is another great epistolary book.)
-Jane Austen References. EVERYWHERE. At first I thought Dear Mr. Knightley might be a retelling of Emma (That's
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Elizabeth
I know there are only so many plots in the world, etc etc, and I have actually read quite a few modern retellings of classics, but really, if you're in the mood, just read the original Daddy Long-Legs.

The heroine and set-up don't really translate well to a modern setting, the main character and the male leads (of course there are two - must be a triangle!) are paper-thin and very obvious. Really, the original was very paternalistic in a creepy way, only partly excusable from the remove of almos
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Iola
Samantha Moore grew up in a variety of foster homes before arriving at Grace House when she was fifteen. Some of the foster homes were good, but most were not and she coped by retreating into a world of classic fiction, from Jane Austen to Dickens to Shakespeare. Whenever she can’t think of something to say, she retreats into fiction (a device which could become tedious but never quite does, thankfully).

She’s now twenty-three, a college graduate who has been let go from her first job because sh
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Rissi
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 ...more
Christina Dudley
(First, to business: thank you to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for my ARC.)

For a book with a pink, froufrou cover (which I am not knocking--I love it), this book packs a powerful emotional punch.

Samantha Moore has grown up in the foster care system, keeping people at arm's length, hiding in books, and spouting her favorite characters' lines and borrowing their personas as circumstances dictate. But now, having lost her first real job at Ernst & Young for failing to connect with others, she fi
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Melissa
Saw the twist from the beginning but who cares?

Lovely. What a fun read esp. if you know your classics but it would probably be just as great if you don't. Not your typical romance or heroine, so if you're one of those that wants something different, this is a wonderful choice.
Laine (librarianscanreadtoo)
Laine (librarianscanreadtoo.blogspot.com) Review:

When the real world becomes too much, or if the real world starts taking things that you love away from you what do you do? Fight against it? Go with the flow? Or would you retreat and hid in a shell? Sometimes it helps when you’re down to have someone there to talk to. To be able to release some of the tension that builds up from too much stress. For some there just isn’t anybody to talk to, like Samantha Moore in the book “Dear. Mr. Knightley” w
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Meredith (Austenesque Reviews)
When Samantha Moore was twenty-two and a recent graduate from Roosevelt College she was offered a full-expense-paid grant and scholarship to earn her master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Samantha declined this generous offer because she didn’t want to continue living at Grace House, a foster organization which she has called home for the last seven years. Instead Samantha opted for the career path and tried to earn her own way in the world. Ten months later f ...more
Katie Watkins
I've read a couple of books that were strictly in letter format and this is one of my favorites. Sam Moore is an orphan and is moving on to grad school. She is being sponsored and is required to write letters to a "Mr. Knightley." Sam is a writer and her letters are very detailed and wordy, yet so much information is gained from there. Feelings, conversations, relationships, events from her life (both past and current), and more. You see, Sam had a very hard life. She was in and out of foster ca ...more
Amy
Three stars though I'm tempted to give it four for exceeded expectation. As a bookworm, I truly enjoyed this novel and stayed up way to late finishing it. I found the plot addicting, the character - if not relatable - at least interesting, and the writing pretty decent. I did not even mind how closely the story mirrored Daddy-Long-Legs. After all, that is one of my favorite books and I don't mind reliving some of the better moments. Most importantly, the Christian portion of this book did not th ...more
Hannah
Argh!! You, my friends, have done this...with all your rave reviews of this book...
I bought it on impulse while leaving work tonight. I cracked the cover once home and thought I'd read a few paragraphs to see what it was like.
Four hours later I finally got around to that evening shower. Yes, I read it all in one sitting!! I who have to be up at 6 in the morning to get to my other job by 7! I never put it down after I first started. I am finally tumbling into bed at 2 am with my head full of Sam
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Katherine Reay has lived all across the country and Europe and has just moved with her family to Chicago. She is a writer, wife, mom, runner, and, most randomly, a tae kwon do black belt. Her debut novel, "Dear Mr. Knightley," is a contemporary story with a dash of Jane Austen and other nineteenth century writers thrown in for the fun of it. Her second novel, Lizzy & Jane, just released and is ...more
More about Katherine Reay...
Lizzy and Jane The Brontë Plot

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“And, Mr. Knightley, forget my theory about Icarus. If you don't sail high, with the risk of crashing and burning, do you really live? Can you love? I doubt it. I'm ready to fly. Love, Sam” 15 likes
“I’ve heard all sorts of things about a kiss (melting, fireworks, music), but no one ever told me it’s a conversation: asking, accepting, deciding, inviting, giving . . . Questions posed and answered.” 15 likes
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