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Dear Mr. Knightley

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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.

317 pages, Paperback

First published November 5, 2013

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About the author

Katherine Reay

16 books2,767 followers
Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one full length non-fiction work.

Katherine holds a BA and MS from Northwestern University and is a wife, mother, rehabbing runner, former marketer, and avid chocolate consumer. She lives outside Chicago, IL.

You can meet her at www.katherinereay.com or on Facebook: KatherineReayBooks, Twitter: @katherine_reay or Instagram: @katherinereay.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,850 reviews
November 12, 2013
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 passages from your favorite authors---a fair share of them fairly obscure---at any given moment in time, and at the most inappropriate moments.

And to turn down a marriage proposal by QUOTING ELIZABETH BENNET?
“ ‘You’re the last man in the world whom I could ever be prevailed on to marry.’ ” I finished with a direct quote, just to drive the nail deep.
You, Samantha Moore, are a jerk.

Let me mention that I believe that the author did not mean for her main character to come off this way. I am 99.8% sure that Ms. Reay intended for her protagonist to come off as charmingly naive, happily innocent, blessedly virginal, a sweetly flawed character that we will all love. It didn't work.This book and the main character would have worked considerably better in a 19th-early 20th century setting, when we give our heroines more flexibility to be innocent, sheltered, and forgive them for their acts of stupidity, since really, women back then truly didn't know any better, thanks to their social status, lack of opportunities, and general lack of education. This ain't the 19th century, and Sam is just plain dumb. The fact that she gets into graduate school proves nothing but the fact that she has more book smart than common sense (well, not too much more, considering she almost flunked out of school eventually) and some friends in high places.

In a contemporary 21st century setting, Samantha Moore does not work quite so well. To put it frankly, she gets on my nerves with her overwhelming, incredible naiveté and lack of common sense, which is completely out of place with her role as a former foster child who was forced to live on the streets.

Summary: Samantha (Sam) Moore is a product of the foster care system and the product of a broken household. Unlike children who have come out of these difficult circumstances with more determination, more resolve, more backbone, Sam comes through it with about as much toughness and street smarts as a newborn kitten swathed in organically grown cotton (can we get a collective "awww!" for my completely-unnecessary-yet-adorable metaphor?).

If we are to believe it, Samantha has survived several tough foster families, she's been forced to practically raise her idiot of a mother, she's been abused by a mentally ill dad. Such things should toughen one up, right? But get this...when Sam graduates from the foster system and her lovely foster home, she has a mental breakdown and is filled with despair. DESPAIR. Because her new apartment is such a fucking hovel. Are you fucking kidding me? Sam is complaining about a crappy apartment when she supposedly lived for 2 months on the streets when she was 15? Way to be inconsistent.

Yeah, it's a crappy apartment, the size of a shoebox. Sam has to eat ramen for months. Um, welcome to the wonderful world of college and limited money. A lot of us have been there ourselves. The college years are well known for having absolutely no money and being forced to eat ramen and boxed Mac N' Cheese (the generic, not the blue box) for months, years on end. It's nothing new. Yet the overdramatic Sam has to blow up the situation to be larger than it is.
I figured this was how Nicholas Nickleby felt when he was forced to work at Squeer’s squalid Yorkshire School. That was a dark, horrific place, where Mr. Squeer beat life and hope from his students. And those few months beat the life from me too. Hope had died long before.
Did I say overdramatic? Yep. Samantha is enrolled in Northwestern University's Medill School for Journalism, but she doesn't belong there. She could actually be a professor herself, teaching a class on Making Mountains out of Molehills 401. Yes, 401, nor 101. Because Samantha's skills in being histrionic is at a graduate level, yo.

So Samantha receives a grant from the most wonderful, most generous person in the world. Her graduate school tuition will be paid for, when she eventually makes up her mind to attend the Medill School majoring in Graduate Journalism. And the key word is "eventually," because the damn girl changes her mind more frequently than Lady Gaga changes her outfits. That's to say, when she's NOT flunking out of school. Oh, RIGHT. Journalism. Sam's supposed to be actually taking classes there or something? Being focused on her studies? Whatever.

The only condition of the generous grant (and it eventually comes with cool shopping sprees, free computers, a plush house, flowers, you name it) is that Sam writes occasional letters to a mysterious benefactor, Mr. George Knightley. And man, does she write to him.

The Plot: Let's put aside the preposterousness of the Daddy-Long-Legs premise, and focus on what else that makes this story so utterly incredible, so completely foolish. I will not spoil the major events in the book, but a great deal of the plot is completely contrived. It fills me with incredulity. Reading fiction is one thing, but I need to believe that what transpires in the book is possible. This book and the events within are so completely outlandish that it beggars any amount of enjoyment due to the complete lack of credibility within. It feels very much like fiction, like a sheltered person's rendition of "tough street life." For example, our sheltered Samantha has to have the worst luck ever, because she gets beaten up by thugs and held up at gunpoint within a short amount of time. Sam befriends a tough black kid who speaks in roughened ebonics by challenging him to a run! And she succeeds in winning the tough foster kid over with her pretense at having street cred! Please.
It struck me that racing him might earn me some respect.
“And stop discriminating. You think because you’re a boy or because you’re black that you can beat me? You can’t.” I poked my finger into his chest.
CAN WE GET SOMEONE TO PLAY "GANGSTA'S PARADISE," PLEASE? It seems fitting, for the moment.

The Letters: Are frankly, unbelievable. I don't have trouble believing that you can confide in someone you've never met. I have internet friends myself, and they listen better than a lot of the people I know in real life. The problem with this book is that Sam's confidences in her letters are too much, too soon. It takes trust to confide so much in someone. Trust needs to be reciprocated. Communication needs to be two-way. "Mr. Knightley" rarely, rarely ever responds. When he does, it is in the form of a short, succinct letter that does not invite such revelations of secrets, such exposure of the soul. Yet Sam trusts him from the very beginning. She tells him all her secrets, in pages, and pages, and pages, RIGHT FROM THE START.

It is a long book, and 97% of it is composed of letters from Sam to Mr. Knightley. That is a lot of words, it is a lot of secrets, it is a lot of personal details to share with someone she does not know. Sam rarely holds back on her private life, letting Mr. Knightley know about her kisses, about her first date, about her lack of sexual experience. It is too much, I cannot believe she would be so up front about everything, considering her reticence to other people in her life, considering how little she knows of him, considering that Mr. Knightley almost never responds.

The Main Characters: Given the fact that this book is completely centered around Sam's experiences, and is narrated by Sam through her letters, I have to say that Sam completely destroys any enjoyment I could have had from the book. She grates on my nerves. Sam is a Mary Sue of the first class order. Sam is tall, 5'10. Stunning, but she doesn't know it. She is a "long drink of water," but of course, she doesn't believe it. She looks like Anne Hathaway, but she can't see it. A famous author falls for her, out of nowhere.

Sam has this terrifically annoying tendency to compare herself to literary heroines. Sam supposedly lives in books, which I can understand. What I cannot understand is her compulsion to compare herself to every downtrodden character in classic romance novels. Fanny Price. Anne Elliot. Charlotte Lucas. I hate that. I hate it when characters compare themselves to book characters.

Did Elizabeth Bennet say "I feel so much like Juliet?" Fucking no. Elizabeth Bennet would never stoop so low. Oh, right. Samantha compares herself to Elizabeth Bennet too. Please, girl, you could never compare.

Sam also has this annoying tendency to incessantly quote passages from novels at the most inconvenient moments. Actually, all her tendencies are rather stupid, but this one is particularly aggravating.

Her professor is about to flunk her? Let's spout a line from Darcy to stave him off!
“I see no passion in your writing. Only technique. It’s good, but it’s empty.”
“‘I certainly have not the talent which some people possess...,’ but I am working hard.”
Her love life is in jeopardy! Surely a quote from Pride and Prejudice will help!
“‘I beg your pardon. Excuse my interference. It was kindly meant.’” I cringed.
“Caroline Bingley? Really?” Alex paused.
The author seems to think the more quotes she includes from literary works, the more likable Samantha will become. It actually works the opposite.

For someone supposedly so lacking in confidence, Sam is completely full of hot air and filled with pretentiousness. She is a passive-aggressive friend, she looks down upon others, her friends as "Lydias" meaning all looks and no brains, or "Emmas" meaning so wealthy, street-smart, and full of confidence---but that's a bad thing, compared to the innocent, smart-but-sheltered, virtuously poor, holier-than-thou perfect fucking Sam.

Sam makes fun of a friend's marriage proposal when she confides in her because it doesn't live up to her ideas of romance.
“That’s it?” I sat back. “You’re worse than Austen. You might as well say that his sentiments had ‘undergone so material a change’ or that ‘his affections and wishes’ were unchanged.”
Hannah flushed red. “Don’t...compare my proposal from my real fiancé to one of your books. This is my life and I’m inviting you into it. Don’t belittle it by quoting fiction.”
“‘I wish you all imaginable happiness,’ Hannah.” I was mad, and I threw that out just to spite her.
“Forget it, Sam. I don’t know who you’re quoting, but I can tell you are. I thought you’d enjoy my story and I wanted to share it with you, but you aren’t even here. I don’t know why I bother.
What. A. Bitch.

Sam is self-centered. Wishy-washy. She can't make a decision to save her life.

She is clueless about everything---at 23.

She cuts herself with lobster pliers at a restaurant---at 23.

She doesn't know how to shave her legs---at 23.

She doesn't know how to pluck her eyebrows---at 23.

She's hardly been kissed---at 23.

She thinks a rhinoplasty is a type of rhinoceros---at 23.

She doesn't know what Jimmy Choo is. And by the end, she doesn't really grow up.


The answer is: "Fuck, no."

God help us all. When she graduates, I'm 100% confident that Samantha Moore is going to be a writer at Fox News.
Profile Image for C.B. Cook.
Author 6 books198 followers
March 13, 2017
I absolutely ADORED THIS BOOK!!! I went into it with doubt because I don't like romance books 99.99% of the time. I hate ooey gooey yuckiness. BUT THIS BOOK. It was part of the 0.01% that I actually like and it's probably the only romance book you'll ever see me rate five stars.

I love it so much I'm skipping the lists and just ranting, okay?

The Good
Sam, oh my gravy, Sam. I absolutely ADORED her. She has such a painful past, and she hides in her books, and it's so sad AND I JUST WANNA HUG HER.

The drama was so sweet. Sam was stepping out during the whole story, totally out of her comfort zone. I loved the parallels between her and Ashley in spite of their completely different pasts. And her interactions with Johnson were really nice, too.


I hated the people I was supposed to hate and loved all the other wonderful squishy characters. *hugs them all* There are also some really great messages in this book about sex before marriage and Christian, without hitting you over the head.

And I LOOOOOOVED all of the Jane Austen references. They were just so amazing. I haven't even read half the books they were referring to, but I still laughed.

The Bad
I'm really struggling with this part, at least. Sam opened up too well to Mr. Knightley in the beginning - she's so into hiding, but she opens right up with Mr. Knightley. For all she knows, he could be selling her secrets to the highest bidder...

Other than that, she remembers conversations word-for-word, and the transition from letter to real life, while inevitable, is a little jarring and awkward.


The Ugly
There's some kissing. Josh wants Sam to let him sleep over or to sleep over at his house, and he's obsessed with looks. There are a lot of hints about other sexual sins, in negative ways.

Every single girl on Planet Earth (and other planets, too) should read this book. It was so awesome, and while I think it's technically adult, it's so much better than most YA books, especially romance-wise. AND PLOT WISE. *hugs Alex*
Profile Image for Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽.
1,880 reviews22.7k followers
June 18, 2017
A bit of a weakish 4 stars, but this modern-day version of Daddy-Long-Legs, a young adult book written about 100 years ago, was an enjoyable, quick read and I was in the right mood for it.

The basic plotline is similar to Daddy-Long-Legs, though not identical: 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 other 19th century literature, and more often than not uses quotes from these books when she's talking with other people, or adopts a particular personality from one of these books to deal with a stressful situation.


An unknown benefactor, who wishes to remain anonymous (he goes by the pseudonym of "Mr. Knightley," knowing of Sam's love for Jane Austen), offers to pay her way through graduate school in journalism, provided that Sam writes him monthly letters telling him about school and her life. The book consists almost entirely of her letters to "Mr. Knightley."

Sam pushes back on the journalism part: she loves English fiction and would much prefer to pursue that further in graduate school, not journalism. But Father John, who is in charge of the group home, is convinced that Sam needs something different, and he also has convinced Mr. Knightley that this is right for Sam. "I've watched you grow, I've watched you succeed, and I've watched you retreat. I want the best for you, and with every fiber of my being, I am convinced that 'the best' is not more fiction, but finding your way around in the real world and its people."

This is kind of the theme of Dear Mr. Knightly, and in this aspect Sam is quite different from Judy in Daddy-Long-Legs. Judy is much funnier and irrepressible. Sam uses her books to hide from life, and has trouble relating to other people. She's a far more damaged soul. This distancing of herself comes out in her writing as well, and a perceptive professor threatens to drop her from the journalism program if she can't improve her writing: "I see no passion in your writing. Only technique. It's good, but it's empty." Sam's story is a process of her learning--in her writing, and in her love life and relationships with others--to really open herself up.

Not everything about this book works. It has a religious theme that surfaces fairly frequently, though not so much that it annoyed me or took over the story. But it will help if you like Christian fiction. Sam's relationship with a 14 year old boy who is also in the group home evolves too easily. Also, there are a couple of scenes toward the end where Sam and the guy she loves are both channeling Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett, and I'm sorry, but that was just too much.

On the other hand, I thought that the author did a good job of showing the damage that can be done to kids in the foster care system, and how Sam grew and changed, and in that way this story struck me as more realistic than Daddy-Long-Legs. One last thing--major spoiler here so don't peek unless you've already read this book or Daddy-Long-Legs, or have absolutely no intention of reading them ever--

A fun YA read, especially if you're a Jane Austen fan.
Author 5 books587 followers
May 23, 2015

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, and composes electronic dance music, read it and laughed his head off. It's just that good.

Daddy Longlegs is the story of an orphan who's given a scholarship to college. The only condition is, she has to write letters regularly to her benefactor, whom she regularly yells at in print for never writing back to her. The story is terrific and the ending makes you want to hug the whole world. It's my new favorite book ever, and I only read it because another reviewer mentioned that Dear Mr. Knightley is based on it.

So I'm grateful to Dear for introducing me to that older, terrific story. But this book still bites.

Daddy may not have been particularly realistic in its premise, but the reader doesn't care. The narrator wins you over immediately, and not in some mushy-gushy way – she's sharp as a tack.

Transporting that premise to the present day feels weird. The narrator, Sam Moore, is designed to annoy – oh, sorry, I mean she has lessons to learn and lots of growing to do!

Whatever. She's irritating.

Plus Dear is trying to be a combination of magic-wonderfulness and gritty realism, and it fails on both counts.

So what's a reader left with?



Well, the author comes up with some refreshingly new and original character types! Like a kindly old priest who never loses his temper and is very helpful! And a kindly old couple who have everything they could ever want except children of their own to love! And a seemingly tough high school coach with a heart of gold! And a black teenager who uses the word "ain't" a lot!

Okay, no.

Well...how about a narrator who's in her twenties and has apparently never even heard of sex, and wouldn't be the slightest bit interested in it if she had? That sounds awesome, right?

Yeah, it really isn't. It turns out that any direct, lewd, crude description of sex couldn't possibly be as creepy as the tiptoeing around it this book does. Put it to you this way: Sam is such a freakin' delicate little flower of a thing, she can't even bring herself to say the phrase "sports bra" when describing exactly what attire she needs to go running. As in, it's important to the plot that she's suddenly shopping for top-to-toe coverage for an impulse ten-mile run she's about to take. She can mention needing "shoes." "Shorts," fine. And then there's just, you know, "everything else" she needs.

Really? For heaven's sake, somebody tell this author it's okay to talk about sports bras. Like, in front of your grandma and everything. Even if they're there to support "the girls."

Some people have pointed out that this is a Christian novel. Weirdly, I would have felt better if it had been more so. If Sam were a character being pulled one way by secular "anything goes" ideas and another by the Christians trying to show her the way to real happiness, that would at least have made sense. As it is, Sam has only a vague idea of what she believes so far as religion goes; but she's kissed for the first time in her twenties, and apparently that's the farthest she ever feels like going.

No. Just no. You can have a character who has trust issues too damaging to allow her to feel safe being intimate with someone. You can have a character with strong ideas about sex being Marriage Only territory, and then put her in a setting where physical attraction and moral ideals have to duke it out. But to have a woman in her twenties just kind of floating around thinking, "Wow, kissing is kind of fun! That guy's kind of cute! Wait...he wants what now? Me to 'spend the night'? Well...I guess maybe...if that's what he wants...but no, I think that's sort of supposed to be not something I should do..."


Add some lousy scene-setting and a lot of atrocious dialogue, and you've got yourself a crowd-pleaser! If that crowd is people who've never read a good book before and don't know what one's supposed to be like!

Also: what is up with that last chapter being in the third-person, when the rest of the book is first-person narrative via letters? Is this supposed to be the novelist character telling things? Why? Why? Why would it be in third-person? Does that mean he's just making stuff up now? Did the whole ending never even happen?

That would be fine with me. The ending of Daddy Longlegs works. Borrowing it for a contemporary novel is creepy with a side of stalker.

I'm so done with this book. Thank heaven.

Save yourself. Read Daddy Longlegs. Read real Austen novels. Do NOT read Dear Mr. Knightley.
Profile Image for *TANYA*.
1,002 reviews289 followers
March 9, 2017
Adorable book!! I just needed more, I wanted more of their story. I'm being selfish, of course. Cute, and lovely.
Profile Image for Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨.
1,076 reviews631 followers
June 2, 2020

Is getting lost in books really such a bad thing? I think that's the central question of this book. When have you retreated too far into the world of fiction? As an avid reader, I was intrigued by those questions as well as the main character Sam's quest to separate herself from the stories she grew up with.


Sam: The main character Sam was a very likable and relatable character. I think anyone who loves books have felt the things that Sam do - that books are sometimes more relatable and understandable than real life. That it's easier to escape into books than to deal with the real world. I really enjoyed reading about Sam's journey towards learning how to interact with and participate in the real world without relying on her books.

Jane Austen: I am a complete Jane Austen nutter - just like Sam! I really enjoyed reading all the references and quotes and I especially loved anytime Sam compared herself or her life to an Austen character or plot. I loved how she strove to Lizzie Bennet, but often acted like Jane Bennet - and had the luck of Charlotte Lucas!

No wonder child: Too often authors fall into the pit of making their characters so amazing, so wonderful and so awesome, that they end up not seeming like real people. I very much enjoyed that Reay didn't fall into that trap. Sam fought hard for everything she earned and yet she wasn't the top of her class, she struggled to better herself and got better but she wasn't bounds and leaps ahead of everyone else. That made her even more real to me.

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Blog Post: 9 'You Are not Alone' Books with Isolated Characters
Profile Image for Sarah.
Author 40 books411 followers
November 18, 2013
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 amazing that I know it will be on my top 10 books of the year. I stayed up really, really late (or early if you want to get technical) because I HAD to finish the book that day. It was too amazing to put down.

To tell you how good it was, I will tell you I actually teared up twice during the book, and I rarely do that with fiction. The story was so powerful. I felt so connected to Samantha. Her victories were my victories and her bad days were my bad days. I rode up and down her emotional roller-coaster and it left me feeling so amazing that I had a hard time getting to sleep.

So what made this book so powerful? The message hit home for me. Sam struggles with hiding behind her favorite literary characters to protect herself from the world around her. I saw myself in that. Sometimes, I hide behind books and movies so that I don’t have to deal with what is going on around me, or I hide behind them in conversations because I know people wouldn’t really like me if they knew the real me. Sam’s struggle was in many ways my own.

I don’t think any book since Catharine Marshall’s Christy has so deeply touched me and affected me. It made me want to open my heart even more to those around me, even if it means getting hurt.

Some may find the faith element somewhat lacking. When Sam finds God, there isn’t a huge deal made out of it. Surprisingly, this didn’t bother me in this book. Although not directly addressed, I felt that Sam was always searching for God and she found him through the people she was hanging with.

I loved the setup of this book! Telling the whole story though detailed letters is different and so much fun. It was a very engaging way of telling the story.

Yes, there was romance. To be honest, I wasn’t very surprised by it. I guess being a Jane Austen fan and an avid reader kind of gave away most of the plot twists where romance was concerned. However, even knowing the plot twists didn’t take away from how much I loved it.

I cannot wait for Katherine Reay’s next book! I highly recommend this to those looking not only for a good story, but one that isn’t all fluff and fun.

I received this book from Thomas Nelson though BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions in this review are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Anne.
502 reviews491 followers
October 31, 2015
Well, I always knew Mr. Knightley was the best Austen hero!

This novel was absolutely fabulous, and completely un-put-downable. Once I'd started, I couldn't function normally until I finished, and once I finished I couldn't function normally because it became all I thought about. The story was incredibly endearing, well-written, and just plain good.

More of a Daddy-Long-Legs spinoff than Jane Austen fan-fiction, it is written in one-sided epistolary form and tells the poignant journey of Samantha Moore. Orphaned, Sam receives a grant from a mysterious benefactor enabling her to attend Medill's School of Journalism, and the only thing she has to do for her benefactor in return is to write him letters telling him how she is doing at the school. "Mr. Knightley" never (or rarely) writes back, and Sam uses the correspondence as a means of escape, as the only way she can really say and think what she truly feels. If you've read Daddy-Long-Legs, the ending is predictable, but Dear Mr. Knightley is still so full or surprises that you most definitely won't be bored.

At first, I found Sam's character to be extremely difficult to like. She was so complex that it was hard to get her, but the more I read, the more I came to understand her, and the easier she became to like. By the end I totally loved her, and her evolution was so remarkable that she felt like a whole new person compared to who she was in the beginning. She starts off quoting classic literature left and right, at the most random and inopportune moments, hiding behind well-known characters because she is so scared to be her own self. So she builds layers and layers of barriers around herself, hiding behind books and borrowing identities from characters because she thinks she will fail if she is herself. And frankly, I think she even forgot how to be herself. She's been so hurt and has led such a hard life that she doesn't know anymore. Once I was able to understand all that, I really warmed up to her and cheered her on for the rest of her journey.

The novel is more of a journey to self-discovery than a romance, and it was refreshing to read mostly just about Sam's daily life, and how school was going, etc. rather than a romance which probably would have prevented us from fully seeing the growth of Sam's character. I don't read much contemporary, but this one is definitely a keeper, and I loved every minute of it!

I don't want to give anything away, but I just have to mention that the hero is incredibly dreamy, and completely worthy of his title. Their romance/relationship was THE BEST (if you don't count a certain situation - you know what I mean if you've read it) and I want one just like that someday. :)

Strongly, strongly recommend this one; it's a powerful, life-changing kind of book, full of twists and valuable lessons, the most important of which, I believe, is to always remember not to be your favourite literary heroine, tempting though it is. Be your own heroine.

Buddy read with Maria!

**Labeled as Christian romance, but it wasn't really "Christian". No preaching, only a few mentions of God/faith here and there, that didn't feel forced at all. Don't be afraid to try it because it's "Inspirational", it wasn't really. Trust me, I've read tons of CF ;)
Profile Image for Andrea Cox.
Author 3 books1,633 followers
November 7, 2017
by Andrea Renee Cox

Why did I wait so long to read this book???

Dear Mr. Knightley was a delightful read that kept me up late many nights this past week (much to the chagrin of my internal clock). Though I found a main thread predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed the unfolding of it and hated to put the book down in order to catch a few winks or perform my duties at the two jobs I appreciate very much. The characters were spunky, fun, quirky, realistic, and very relatable. I especially enjoyed Kyle. And who wouldn't love Mr. Knightley!

I like how Dear Mr. Knightley deals with real-life situations. Life is messy and raw and not always pretty. It's how we deal with it that defines us. Will we become stronger or weaker? Will we stand for what's right or go along with the crowd? Will we let other people run over us, or will we learn to be the people God has crafted us to become? I love it when novels get me thinking this deeply, especially fun, easy-to-read books like Dear Mr. Knightley.

I will definitely be reading more Katherine Reay books in the (hopefully near) future. Highly recommend!

This is a book I got at a discount or for free (who can remember?) on my Kindle, but I enjoyed it so much, I'm hoping to be able to purchase a copy for my bookcase soon. Yes, it's worth re-reading at some point.

A friend recommended I read this book (Thank you, Kalena!).

*Nov. 7, 2017*
I just finished reading this book for the third time. Yes, third! I got even more this time around than the previous two. I especially appreciated the complexity of Alex. Further details would spoil the story, so just enjoy him when you read it, okay? This is one of the most romantic books I've ever read. I'm setting it aside for now, because I've got hundreds of others to read, but I'll be revisiting it again sometime. When I'm in the mood for messy, honest, real romance, this is the book I'll turn to.

I was not compensated for reading this book. This is my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Maria.
186 reviews50 followers
October 20, 2015
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 prestigious school of journalism and asks Samantha only one thing: she must write to him letters to keep him updated about her life and studies. These letters will be a sort of lifeline for Sam because she slowly begins to unfold her heart to someone and to trust people, and the relationship with Mr. Knightley will be the centre of her new life.

It took me a while to calm down the whirlwind of emotions that was in my mind after reading this story and to write my review, because I really loved this novel and I wanted to give it and the author the proper value. This is a splendid story! Being a great admirer of Jean Webster’s writing and her wonderful book Daddy-Long-Legs, I had to read this one which is inspired by it. I wanted to. Moreover, it is Austen related and its description caught me immediately. Long story short: I could not help reading it! And I am so glad I did! It is one of those books you want to read again as soon as you have finished it. I could read it over and over again and I am sure I would never be tired of it. It has definitely earned a special place in my heart.

I loved every character, especially Sam. I loved how she faces her life despite all her childhood’s suffering. It is not a sad book, it is about finding your own way in the world, it is about trust, real friendship and, of course, love. Not only love for one special person but a complete love for people. Aside from the protagonist, I loved two characters that will be very important to Sam. Mr. and Mrs. Muir are a beautiful and sweet couple who will help Samantha throughout the course of the whole story and their meeting is one of the loveliest thing of the plot. Besides, one of my favourite scenes involves the Muirs and Sam and I can tell it is very moving. Last (but not least!) person I loved is Mr. Knightley. Who else? He is a great character and a wonderful man, with his own faults but many qualities. He cares about Sam and he helps her live and hope and this is a special and important task. By the end of the book, when you find out his true identity you will be pleased, thrilled and happy. I am sure! And if you did not love him before, you will definitely do after the truth is revealed.

Ms. Reay depicted her characters with finesse and tact. She handled difficult themes, like adoption and foster children’s troubles with attention and care. I enjoyed the way she described everything. I adored all the references to some of my favourite novels (Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Jane Eyre) and many others. And also, I enjoyed reading a book written in letter format, it was a good way to relate to Samantha. It was like reading her personal journal and somehow I felt part of the story.

With her debut novel the author did an amazing job and I look forward to reading her next book. I strongly recommend “Dear Mr. Knightley” to everyone. It is worth reading and it deserves to be on your “favourite books” shelf!
Profile Image for Julie Carpenter.
1,388 reviews161 followers
August 14, 2018
I have loved every book I've read by this author. I can't tell you how long I have been eyeing this particular book. And having several friends tell me that I should read it. I kept saying I was going to and life would be busy, and other books I was reviewing would keep popping up taking my free time. Well I told myself at the beginning of the summer that I was going to remedy it all and read it. I bought a copy when it was on sale and downloaded it thinking I would read it on my long camping trip hiding away in the woods. It didn't happen. I hardly read at all. Last week after I'd gotten home from the long summer vacation, I opened the book up just thinking I'd peek at it and slowly start it before I went to bed. Ha! Ha, ha, ha, ha, HA! Yeah right. I couldn't put it down. I read and read and read and...you get the idea. I think I read most of the book that night. Fell asleep, then woke up and read during my free moments. I have a lot on my mind and trying to organize a couple different big things that my brain was so exhausted from that, that when I started this book it was such a relaxing and enjoyable time for my overwhelmed brain. I absolutely loved it.

My brain is still on overload and trying to prep for school that I'm not going to go into my normal rambling thoughts for a review. I just had to say how much I loved these characters. I've read a couple books now in a row that the characters were just fabulous! I loved the letter format for the book. Samantha was so interesting to dive into her character and I loved how honest she was, it made it so easy to connect with her and understand her world.

I think I highlighted the whole book. Hee Hee! Ok, not really but I was highlighting like crazy. Quotes I liked, moments and scenes that had me happy sighing. *ahhhh, happy sigh*. All of the literary references were so much fun. I loved them! Especially because the books she was referencing are favorite books of mine. That of course makes me connect even more with this book.

This is one that I will need to return to over and over again! If you haven't read a book by Katherine Reay, go do so now. I'm a fan! I can't even begin to say how much I loved the love story. There are so many things I want to say right now, but I'm just going to keep it all in because it will spoil it all if I say anything. My lips are sealed. Now, go read Samantha's letters to Mr. Knightley!

Content: Clean. This book deals with orphans/foster care children so there are scenes that mention some of the struggles and sorrow associated with them. Especially physical abuse, mental abuse. So be warned that this isn't a light a fluffy read, it's real and emotional but very well written. The love story is sweet and clean.

My own personal copy.

Happy Reading!!!
Profile Image for Beth.
777 reviews314 followers
May 15, 2015
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 unknown person is what did. It's a testament to how impressed I was with Reay's writing and how engrossed I became with this story that I believed how this came about.

Sam had a broken life, but rather than being aggressive and lashing out physically, she retreated further and further into her literary dream world, using her favorite character's words as a crutch in difficult situations. Her letters to Mr. Knightley became therapeutic, and though she knew she didn't need to depend on them, she did anyway.

I thought Sam's voice was fantastic - she came across as vulnerable, even sometimes annoyingly naive, but had moments where she shined. Watching her gain confidence in herself was simply beautiful. The first-person narration was so well done, and while I was a bit jarred by the shift to third person at the stories end, I understood why it was done. In a way, I wanted one final Mr. Knightley "letter," that was really more like a journal entry, to be the epilogue, but that's really minor.

I was also impressed with the way that the tones of the story overlapped well. At times it was a heavy, sad tone, at others it was bright and uplifting. It was realistic and sincere in the best possible ways - not light and airy but not depressing either.

I loved the different relationships in the story, and how characters with totally different lives found common ground. The ending held just the perfect amount of sweetness, and although I wasn't surprised with the way things turned out, I was so happy that they ended up the way that they did. Also the book-nerd in me was giddy over all of the references to Pride and Prejudice, Emma and an all-time favorite, Jane Eyre (I even loved the inclusion of Edmond Dantes - Monte Cristo almost did me in, but I pulled through it, haha).

I definitely recommend Dear Mr. Knightley for readers looking for something quirky, unique, layered, and more than what it seems. It made it to my list of favorites of the year so far, and I can't wait to read her upcoming title.
Profile Image for Christine Indorf.
716 reviews115 followers
December 24, 2022
I love this book. I read it once a year now. I love Sam, Alex and the Muirs. I love that after reading this book for the 1st time I had to read, and loved, Jane Austen. I just loved this book. If you haven't given this wonderful book a try I highly recommend you do. If you are expecting fireworks in this book, it will disappoint. This book is a slow burn which will explore each character fully. You will understand why Sam goes to the classics, why Alex hides his identity, why the Muirs love and want to help Sam becomes who she is suppose to be. You will fall in love with each and every character in this wonderful book. I can't say enough about this book. If you want to give Katherine Reay a try start with this one and it will having you wanting to read more!!

* favorite line I have every read in a book: You've know and loved, my dear girl, You always were! How can you not love a book with a line like this!!
Profile Image for Cara Putman.
Author 62 books1,624 followers
May 2, 2021
Simply perfection. Truly.

The audiobook was wonderful too.
Profile Image for Layla.
94 reviews100 followers
May 17, 2014
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 dynamic that results from one party being older, wealthier, more established in their career, more worldly, whatever? ready, set, go!

So the premise of Dear Mr. Knightley is that it is a contemporary adaptation of Daddy Long Legs - itself a novel that is kind of creepy and paternalistic, but sometimes we're ok with those things when they're far away in the past. (I'm still inclined to side-eye, but whatever.) I was curious to see how Reay would handle having a more equitable relationship between Mr. Knightley / Daddy Long-Legs, and our heroine, Sam Moore.

Quick answer: she doesn't! They don't! And it's ok because God + forgiveness + he isn't even that old.

(1) So, because I feel like it needs to be said, this book is definitely Christian fiction. I didn't know that going in and probably would have chosen to save my $2 had I known. And, while it is generally not my bag, I don't actually have a problem with narratives about finding God. Here is what I do have a problem with: I have a problem with unequal power dynamics. I want to know, if someone finds God, that they consent to this conversion freely. That things that they want don't seem contingent upon this conversion. (It's like finding a partner - when Sam chooses Alex, for example, I want to feel like she chooses this freely). Anyway. Sam, our heroine, is an orphan. She's come out of an abusive family and abusive foster homes. She feels totally alone in the world. When she meets Alex - and Alex's found family, the Muirs - she has no one. She has real problems being open with people and engaging with them in a way that is genuine and honest and not structured by 19th-century literature. Ok? Ok. But she finds the Muirs, and loves them, and they bring her to Christ, saying "there is hope in God and hope in Christ," and "dropping hints and hope like breadcrumbs for me to follow." So my problem with Sam's eventual conversion is that it feels like the Muirs are preying on someone who is vulnerable and isolated. (It's why I am also sketched out by places that provide things like food / shelter but also proselytize - I feel like it's potentially icky, because it makes it seem like food / shelter, and in Sam's case - *family* - is contingent upon her acceptance of Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. And it doesn't need to be explicitly stated, either, for it to be potentially creepy and coercive.)

(2) This isn't to say that the Muirs, her found family, are only creepy and awful, though. I was glad that the Muirs were on her side once Alex's betrayal of her - his posing as Mr. Knightley - becomes known. Mr. Muir say that Sam can "walk away" if she wants to, because "you trusted Mr. Knightley. Alex betrayed that trust. He played false." And I really, really wanted Sam to walk away. She doesn't because she decides that she's been running all her life, and keeping other people from getting in, and that she doesn't want to run anymore. And this is legit, I just honestly think that maybe sometimes there are people you should run from and keep out, and that Alex is one of those people. It's not merely that he deceives her - it's that he uses a position of power to gain knowledge about her (and access *to* her) that she doesn't want him to have. I am not convinced that he won't continue to be a paternalistic and creepy asshole forever. (It's only after she says that she loves him via letter that he drops the charade - so creepy! once he knows she's hooked, THEN he tells her, because he can't stand the idea that she might not choose him. So he doesn't give her the opportunity to. Because he's scared. AUGH.)

(3) Other things I disliked: I found Sam incredibly unlikeable. When she says that she's like either Anne Elliot, or Fanny Price, I wanted to smack her. YOU WISH. Fanny is ten times the woman you are! It's strange because although she dismisses some of her friends as Emmas (although Emma is also somewhat aspirational for her), she is very much like Emma to me - she does think she knows what's best for everyone, she's incredibly judgmental, and she's also a snob. The part that bothered me most - with regards to the book / Sam's preachiness - was the slut-shaming.

(4) On slut shaming: i.e., when Hannah (not an important character; only exists for Jesus-reasons) tells Sam that she shouldn't be sleeping with Josh because "if you're not married to the guy, that shouldn't be happening," Hannah uses this super convincing argument: "Take all those Austen and Bronte characters who went astray. They weren't villains, but they paid a price. Natural consequences for making poor choices. Those consequences still exist today." On the one hand, I'm peeved because these consequences (Marianne's crazy-ass illness, social ostracism, marrying an old dude, whatever) aren't "natural consequences" - they're *social* consequences that exist because Marianne Dashwood and Sam Moore both live in patriarchal societies where a woman's value is wrapped up in her sexual purity. To say that they're natural is wrong and also completely maddening. Calling these consequences "natural" implies that they are not socially formed, that they're not up for debate or open to change, and are the result of individual action rather than social forces. When Sam runs into her former roommate, Cara, who likes boys too much for Sam's liking (code in Sam for "omg that slut"), Cara is in an abusive relationship that eventually lands her in the hospital: Sam's charitable reflection is once again to think of this as an economy where sin = "natural consequences" - that there's a price for women slutting it up / going astray. She thinks specifically of Cara's alignment with Lydia: that "Cara still reminded me of Lydia Bennet." And although she sees "the differences in Cara's life and mine" as well as the similarities: "my Willoughby, her horrific Wickham," her earlier conversation with Hannah tells us why Sam is different: she didn't stray / sleep with Josh. The subtext is that when Cara ends up in the hospital, it's because there are "natural consequences" when you "go astray." Not because, hmm, maybe men shouldn't abuse women or throw them down the stairs, and that, if they do, it isn't because women do something to *earn* that - it's because the guy's an abusive asshole.

Ugh. I promised to keep this short. But these are my biggest problems with the novel. Mic drop, we out.

Profile Image for Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*.
373 reviews444 followers
February 21, 2016
I have so much homework to do but first...

...let me write a review. No selfies here.

Have you ever read or seen Daddy Long Legs? The musical came out in the 1950's starring Fred Astaire and it is wonderfully made. It is where my thing in literature and movies about older men came from.

If you ever have the opportunity, watch it. But this book, Dear Mr. Knightley is tightly based on it. A girl from a orphanage one day receives a gift from a marvelous but anonymous benefactor. She can go to college, fully paid for, as long as she writes him letters about her progress and stays in school. It's a wonderful deal. She is to address him as Mr. Knightley, one of her ideal men from Jane Austen's world.

Samantha has been living in her solitary world of books and imagination for most of her life. She quotes her romantic literature like a pro and has her own ideas about men and life. But she is forced out of her comfort shell by this scholarship which dictates that she has to become a journalism major. She hides and hides and hides until people finally begin to worm their way under her shell.

Samantha's past isn't that easy. She's been through foster care, abuse, trauma, and loneliness. her friends and her life are in these books and when she has to emerge, the world is terrifying to her.

Now, I'm going to be honest with y'all. I hate books designed to make you cry, but I'm not sure that this book is that at all. It just hit a little close to home for me. I know what it is like to hide away from people and pretend you're okay. I did it for most of my freshman year of college. My suitemates literally had to drag me out of my room just to go to dinner with them. People scared me. Friends scared me. I had been essentially betrayed by my closest high school friends just months before who left me alone in a very scary predicament where I thought my life had been in danger so I hid like Samantha hid. It's hard coming out of that.

"Never let something so unworthy define you.

That one line really started the tears for me. It is something to learn definitely. This book may seem shallow at first and may be a bit of a sob story but has these quiet moments of realizing that there are other people that understand where you are coming from.

“Self-protection keeps you from love, Mr. Knightley-all love. I am so sad at how I've kept them at a distance-the Muirs, Alex, Father John, Kyle, Hannah...Anyone and everyone who has ever stood by me. I played God in our relationships. I determined their value by how much I let them in, by how much I let them determine my worth. I'm not God. And I don't need to work so hard anymore...”

But anyways, this book is wonderful on it's own. If you've seen or read Daddy Long Legs, you know where it is going. The main plot is excessively similar. But dammit it's a good plot. And it works for me. Underneath all of the feeling sorry for the main character and debating whether or not she is whining or being honest, there are wonderful moments of self realization in this book. We all hide in some way or another to protect ourselves, and sometimes it is necessary but sometimes it limits us. Samantha comes to understand that friends and relationships means being vulnerable.

I guess that's what this book is really about to me. It isn't about Daddy Long Legs or abuse or the welfare system. It's about vulnerability. It shows that it is okay to let go of all that tightly leashed control that we can have over our lives. Samantha is able to change and that is something to admire.
Profile Image for Abigayle Claire.
Author 8 books223 followers
May 3, 2018
Does it help that I love all the elements in this book and that I started it on a train?? Probably. Coherent review to come once I've reflected for a few days ^.^

OK, reflection day over.

In short, I really loved this book. Yes, Sam is dysfunctional. She's bookish, going to school for journalism, and a little naive. But she feels things and tries to figure things out. I really admired that. Despite other people's complaints that everyone was boring and hard to connect to, I really connected to Sam. And I don't have anything close to the same background--just some of the same tendencies, I guess? Books are terrific, but kind of like Northanger Abbey, this also shows how books can be misused (imagine that, a Jane Austen reference). In this case, Sam uses character identities to keep her from opening up to people because she's been hurt. So good! Her character arc was well done because there was no quick fix but she still grew.

Alex Powell, the Muirs, and Kyle were all my other favorite characters. So. Good.

I'm sure a book of letters isn't for everyone but OMW. It was so well done. As a reader, we get more of Sam than we would otherwise because she's pouring her heart out and opening up to us and literally no one else. Brilliant, honestly. The themes and character contrasts and how she has to learn to open up (ahhh no!) and risk being wounded if she's ever going to be whole ... just wow. Probably more of a wow to me because that's a huge struggle for me as well.

The Christian elements I completely adored because while there was no huge moment of faith Sam struggles with Christianity looking attractive but unattainable. By the end, I felt comfortable that she'd get there.

So no, it's not an Emma retelling. Just a book packed with Jane Austen quotes and classic references. I can see how people relate it to Daddy Long Legs and I would say You've Got Mail as well. Communication is a necessary but vulnerable thing.

I don't really have any dislikes, although I did think it was a bit of a stretch to include as much dialogue in the letters and lengthy quotes in the dialogue. Maybe I just don't have a memory like that? xP But I understand that the writer still had to make the letters feel like a story and that was well done overall.

I recommend for 15+ because Sam had abuse, attempted trafficking, etc in her past. Because she's grown up in the foster care system there are other really messed up kids, all with positive character arcs. There's also a moral crisis she faces while having a boyfriend who expects more than she's willing to give. Overall, I thought all content (such as interrupting about-to-curse characters) was handled well without cheapening it.
Profile Image for Chantel.
137 reviews54 followers
February 15, 2017
Samantha Moore has spent years bouncing from home to home in the foster care system. To cope, she buries herself in to books, her favor author Jane Austen. Sam adapts the character’s lines as her own to hide her true feelings. After college, she gets an offer to go Medill School of Journalism for a full scholarship through a benevolent donor who calls himself Mr Knightley. The only catch is that she has to write him frequent letters, detailing her progress. As everything changes and she faces new experiences in her world, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional, especially when she meets one of her of favorite novelists, Alex Powell, and starts to develop feeling for him.

I really enjoyed this book! It is one of my new favorites. I thought the characters were realistic and heart warming. And I love the letter-confessional style of the book. This book had moments where you wanted to cry for Sam, laugh at her quirky comments, and root for her at the end. It's a love story with layers. This book definitely one that will stay with me, I just loved it!
Profile Image for Jocelyn Green.
Author 30 books1,222 followers
June 1, 2020
Don't mind me, I'm just catching up on backlist titles I missed when they first came out!

What a refreshing, original story. The protagonist would never want you to get to know the real her, which makes the journey of peeling back those layers all the more rewarding. I love that the story was not at all bogged down in romance, but was an unfolding of Sam's total personhood. This is one of the more unique contemporary novels I've read.
Profile Image for Hannah.
2,402 reviews1,335 followers
December 31, 2015
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 and Alex and already thinking of who I should recommend it to.
I have to say, one of my favorite parts was the scene at Barnes and Noble. Ironically I was still sipping the last of my hot tea from the cafe while reading it! Too bad I've already picked out my staff rec and ordered stock for February...it will have to wait a few weeks. But it will definitely end up there on my shelf in the near future. Funny, also, that my current recommendation, "The Scarlet Pimpernel", is mentioned in this book!
The ending is perfect. I expect to reread this book many times! I love the characters and their growth through the story. I wish we could have a sequel someday!
Profile Image for Kate.
1,495 reviews42 followers
December 8, 2021
Oh! My heart! What a lovely story! I loved watching Sam learn and grow through her letters to Mr. Knightley . . . how she learned how to connect with the people around her and how she finally learned to care about others more than herself. My heart broke with hers (and Kyle's!) as they wrote their story. And there were plenty of giggle-inducing/swoon-worthy moments as well.
With one (or two) exceptions, I came to care about all of the characters in this book. They feel like people I'd want to be my friends and just hang out with. I love when a book invites me in like that! Katherine Reay is definitely on my list of authors to read!
4.5 stars
2021 re read: Since I already knew and anticipated the twist at the end, I was wondering if a re-read would be as enjoyable as the first time around. No need to have worried. This book is one of those books that I feel like I could very comfortably read every several years and find enjoyment.
Profile Image for Caity.
Author 1 book18 followers
January 28, 2014
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, she's nerdy, and kind of avoided. But she's smart, can read people really well when she tries, and doesn't know just how brave she can be. She just wants to be loved and not thought of as a total wacko- what she doesn't know is to Whom she needs to turn for that Love- and that she may have herself in the wrong position, mentally. (Until amazing characters like Mr. and Mrs. Muir show up to encourage and lend a helping hand and leave us all in a puddle of aren't-they-adorable-fangirling-antics.) There are so many things in this book that the bookish of our society can not only relate to, there's so much they need here. This book could really work in someone's life who has gone through any of the things Sam relates to Mr. Knightley in this story.
Btw- when I read the synopsis I was totally expecting the same plot as Daddy-Long-Legs -while it was similar in many ways, I was beyond surprised and pleased at the differences.
There is someone and something for everyone in this story.
This is really random- but I SO enjoyed ALL the references to coffee, Starbucks, and lattes in this story. As I said- there is something here for everyone. ;)
Thank you, so much, Reay, for this story. <3
Profile Image for Mikayla.
922 reviews
November 26, 2020
This was my fourth time reading this book according to goodreads. though I have a sneaking suspicion I read it once more but wasn't able to put it in because of the old "no rereading" thing.
Guys, I don't know what it is about this book that just seems to touch my heart so deeply. Sam is so wounded. She hides behind the things she wants to be. I can understand that (But not nearly to her level). Sam messes up with friendships so much, but in such a relatable way. The style and heart of this books always leaves me wanting to just pick it right back up and read it again.
Sam always inspires me to do better. This book makes me feel like I could always do better in the most encouraging way.
>> So this was my fifth or sixth time reading the book. Who knows. It gets more beautiful every time. I still laugh, and cry, and hug the book. It's amazing.

2020>> This book is not perfect, but it makes me happy on a deep level every time I read it. <3
Profile Image for Michelle Griep.
Author 36 books2,033 followers
February 18, 2022
Endearing. I don't usually use that term with books. It's so overused and because of that, generally meaningless. So take away all the baggage surrounding that word and read it one more time with clear vision.


Yeah. That's what Dear Mr. Knightley is. Despite all the quirks and fears and flaws in heroine Samantha Moore, you will be entirely charmed by her, and possibly just a little protective of her. She's such an underdog that you can't help but cheer her on. Plus it's super fun to guess who Mr. Knightly might really be.

A fun read that tackles some complex issues. Thumbs up.
Profile Image for Sydney.
406 reviews88 followers
January 21, 2023
I really enjoyed this! I remember enjoying this the first time I read it, but this time something in this book just really hit the spot and I flew through this. I loved reading Sam's thoughts and how her "voice" changed as she grew and gained more confidence. The romance wasn't "out of this world," but it felt nice and comfortable and relatable... just what Sam needed. Reading a second time I picked up on little things that made reading it more fun, and the Jane Austen quotes were super fun to read. My only complaint is that the faith felt a little shallow... I wish it was a larger part of the book or not there at all. But overall, it was a good story that tugs at your heartstrings that I really had a great time reading and definitely recommend. :)
Profile Image for Alicia.
328 reviews69 followers
September 7, 2017
Reread update: Still love it just as much!


I absolutely LOVED this book! The storytelling was so unique and everything just went together so beautifully. The letters to Mr. Knightley were Sam's deepest fears, hopes, secrets, dreams and wishes right on the page, and so you get to know her very well.

My favourite subplot was the one with Kyle, a foster kid that Sam takes under her wing. Kyle and Sam forge an unlikely friendship that takes them both to a point of healing after tragic pasts. And it is amazing to read.

The story of Sam and Alex was romantic and sweet...just like an Austen novel.

This was so good that I had a hard time putting it down!
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