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Dear Mr. Knightley

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  14,546 ratings  ·  2,614 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
Paperback, 317 pages
Published November 12th 2013 by Thomas Nelson (first published November 5th 2013)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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 ·  14,546 ratings  ·  2,614 reviews

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Khanh, first of her name, mother of 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
C.B. Cook
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. (v
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
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 ta
Deborah Markus
Jun 30, 2014 rated it did not like it

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,
Mar 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Adorable book!! I just needed more, I wanted more of their story. I'm being selfish, of course. Cute, and lovely. ...more
Maja  - BibliophiliaDK ✨
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own

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 S
Katherine Reay
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Finally rated it... fully enjoyed it :)
Nov 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Andrea Cox
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. A
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
Christine Indorf
Oct 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite books of 2020 It needed a reread. I love the story of Sam. Sam lived a life as a child no one should have ever lived. Now at 24 a benefactor wants to help her pay for graduate school. The only condition, she has to write Mr Knightley letters. This isn't hard for Sam. She loves Jane Austen. Jane Austen is her go to when she is in time of trouble and in stress. She quotes her all the time which helps her to avoid people. But in taking this grant her goal is to make friends and l ...more
Julie Carpenter
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 tr ...more
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
Allison Tebo
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: contemporary
Will I review? Will I rate it? I'm not sure.

Brittain *Needs a Nap and a Drink*
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
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 ne ...more
Apr 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Cara Putman
Apr 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Simply perfection. Truly.

The audiobook was wonderful too.
Jocelyn Green
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.
Abigayle Claire
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: relatable, favorites
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
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: to-re-read
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,
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
Jan 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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 book
May 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
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 i
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed this creative, unique story! Can't believe it took me so long to pick up this book and read it. It was delightful. ...more
Kate (The Shelf Life)
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
Natacha Ramos
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I had heard good comments about this one. They are all right!

I devoured this book, I just couldn't stop!

I won't say Sam is the kind of heroine I'm used to, she's so flawed and real. You can relate to her so easily.

And Alex? I can't love him more. Really.

I enjoyed book references. The ones from books I haven't read annoyed me sometimes but they gave great ideas for my TBR pile.

It didn't surprised me how the story ended, I was actually expecting it but I loved it anyways. I would have been disappo
Mar 04, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not exactly like an Austen novel. The heroine just likes to quote the books, along with other books. Her character is a bit wishy-washy. She is offered a full ride for college but isn't happy with the major she has to go for. Meanwhile one of the requirements is to write daily log updates to her benefactor. He won't write back just keep up with her life. She lays her heart on the pages.
It could be that I didn't like the book very much because it was like a movie I didn't like, Daddy-Long-Legs.
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Katherine Reay is the national bestselling and award-winning author of several novels and one full length non-fiction work. Her upcoming novel, THE LONDON HOUSE, will release 11/02/2021.

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.c

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