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Archived Group Reads 2015 > February Book of the Month - Dear Mr. Knightley

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message 1: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

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.


message 2: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Anxious to hear what others think of this book especially if you read Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay . I felt it started out slow but glad I pushed through as it was a great read.


message 3: by Kalena (new)

Kalena (bookt2) | 135 comments I loved the book from the very beginning. It was one of my favorite reads of 2014. Enjoy!!


message 4: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I loved Dear Mr. Knightley! Looking forward to discussion :)


message 5: by Maria (new)

Maria | 111 comments Loved this book! Enjoy! :)


message 6: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Olson (girlsmama) | 694 comments I am another who loved this book and just like Kalena-it was one of my absolute favorites from 2014!


message 7: by Christine (new)

Christine | 428 comments I, also, loved this book! I hope you all enjoy it!


message 8: by Amanda (new)

Amanda (mandey1) | 46 comments This was the first to make it on my 2015 favorites list! And I think it's still the only one there. :)


message 9: by Krista (new)

Krista Noorman (kristanoorman) | 2 comments Really liked this book. Had a hard time connecting with the main character, though. I ended up liking some of the other characters more than I liked her. But I was happy with her journey, how she changed, and how the story ended.


message 10: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments OMG!!! Can we say dragging... I'm on pg 10... And have sat it down twice... Unlike me... I'm trying though...


message 11: by Krista (new)

Krista Noorman (kristanoorman) | 2 comments Nicola wrote: "OMG!!! Can we say dragging... I'm on pg 10... And have sat it down twice... Unlike me... I'm trying though..."

It took me a bit to get into it, too, but I stuck with it and liked it in the end. ;)


message 12: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments I'm trying again... Lol... And again...


message 13: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Nicola wrote: "I'm trying again... Lol... And again..."

Nicola I felt exactly the same way. But thanks to the encouragement of several people stuck with it and was glad I did. I promise it does get more interesting.


message 14: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments Thanks for your responses. I'm going to give it another go.


message 15: by Brittany (new)

Brittany | 131 comments I really enjoyed Lizzy and Jane, plus I do own DMK, so I will plan to read and discuss with the group, too.


message 16: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahe35) | 46 comments I really enjoyed DMK. I actually read Daddy long legs after reading DMK, & enjoyed it as well.


message 17: by Anna (new)

Anna Hurtt | 3 comments I'm starting this one tonight... I've heard great things about it! :)


message 18: by Bonnie (last edited Feb 05, 2015 03:27PM) (new)

Bonnie | 25 comments Anna wrote: "I'm starting this one tonight... I've heard great things about it! :)"

It's a little slow starting out but it's really good! Hope you enjoy it!


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I'm new to the group, ladies! I had actually purchased the two books you picked for February's reads so I knew I had to join!

But this book...I'm on page 110 and I'm not feelin' it! I'm not a fan of all these Austen-ized novels that seem to be the hip thing these days. I had heard so many things about this one, so I'm going to keep chugging along. A positive is that it's been a fast read so far!


message 20: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Carrie wrote: "I'm new to the group, ladies! I had actually purchased the two books you picked for February's reads so I knew I had to join!

But this book...I'm on page 110 and I'm not feelin' it! I'm not a fan ..."


Carrie - I felt exactly the same way when I read it a few months ago. Thanks to the encouragers here at CFD, I kept with it. I promise it does get better:)


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

I finished this one last night. while the book did get better, in my opinion, on a little. I personally found it juvenile, predictable, and nowhere near wonderful as many reviews claimed.


message 22: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Carrie wrote: "I finished this one last night. while the book did get better, in my opinion, on a little. I personally found it juvenile, predictable, and nowhere near wonderful as many reviews claimed."

I am one of the few who much preferred the next novel Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay . Felt it had greater depth and a more interesting storyline.


message 23: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments The book has improved A LOT... But it is still boring in the grand scheme of books, ya know... I'm on pg 159... Believe me when I say... The struggle IS REAL... Lol. It's different... I'll give it that!


message 24: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 09, 2015 07:53PM) (new)

I think it's really tough to pull off the epistolary novel. I believe Reay could have pulled off a fantastic tale if approached Sam's story from a different angle. In all honesty, if I didn't know anything about this novel, I would have thought it would have been more of a YA read than anything else. I never believed that Sam was 23/24 years of age. I see so many possibilities that Reay wanted to portray in the novel. But I think it was too much of a story to be told in letters.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

Loraine wrote: "Carrie wrote: "I finished this one last night. while the book did get better, in my opinion, on a little. I personally found it juvenile, predictable, and nowhere near wonderful as many reviews cl..."

I may pick this one up at the library if I ever see it. Dear Mr. Knightly wasn't my cup of tea, but I'm always willing to give someone another chance! ;)


message 26: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Carrie wrote: "Loraine wrote: "Carrie wrote: "I finished this one last night. while the book did get better, in my opinion, on a little. I personally found it juvenile, predictable, and nowhere near wonderful as..."

Lizzie and Jane is very different from Dear Mr. Knightley. It is not written in epistolary format and is an in-depth story of two estranged sisters and their journey as one battles breast cancer.


message 27: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
I think the epistolary format is pretty divisive - readers either love it or don't love it. Personally, I loved it and found Sam to be a refreshing character.

The letter format doesn't bother me in the least. One of my most favorite books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is also written this way.

But I was also the kid who loved the Dear America books, which were told in journal format, so I guess the letter style and journalistic styles have always worked for me.


message 28: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Beth wrote: "I think the epistolary format is pretty divisive - readers either love it or don't love it. Personally, I loved it and found Sam to be a refreshing character.

The letter format doesn't bother me i..."


I loved The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and the format there didn't bother me at all. Guess I just found that one more to my interest.


message 29: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Olson (girlsmama) | 694 comments Beth wrote: "I think the epistolary format is pretty divisive - readers either love it or don't love it. Personally, I loved it and found Sam to be a refreshing character.

The letter format doesn't bother me i..."


I agree with your epistolary comment as well. I happen to fall in the camp of those that love it as it gives you the feeling that you are getting a look at the character's true thoughts as opposed to what is happening in the story. I would also point out that this was a re-telling of sorts of the book Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster, so in essence it had a bit of a storyline that it was following already, so for me there was a wonderful familiarity that worked for me. I also enjoyed the millions of "Easter eggs" that the author had in there for those that adore the good old classics of English literature- the Jane Austen references, etc, etc., I know this book doesn't resonate with everyone, but I really enjoyed it and I love that everyone can have a different love when it comes to books :)


message 30: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments Ok. I just finished the book and the last 75 pages hooked me... The suspense picked up.. I loved the romance angle.. And although I somehow knew what decision Sam would make in the end I longed to read of her mental journey to get there... Never imagined this would turn into a love story... Bravo... CFD... Y'all ( in my KY SLANG) picked a keeper... NEXT!!!


message 31: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments Ok. I just finished the book and the last 75 pages hooked me... The suspense picked up.. I loved the romance angle.. And although I somehow knew what decision Sam would make in the end I longed to read of her mental journey to get there... Never imagined this would turn into a love story... Bravo... CFD... Y'all ( in my KY SLANG) picked a keeper... NEXT!!!


message 32: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments Ok. I just finished the book and the last 75 pages hooked me... The suspense picked up.. I loved the romance angle.. And although I somehow knew what decision Sam would make in the end I longed to read of her mental journey to get there... Never imagined this would turn into a love story... Bravo... CFD... Y'all ( in my KY SLANG) picked a keeper... NEXT!!!


message 33: by Hannah (new)

Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 860 comments Like Cheryl mentioned, part of what endeared the book to me so much was the mentions of so many dear classics that I've loved. Also, she's responsible for me trying out Anne Perry's books. Now I have a whole shelf of them!


message 34: by Anna (new)

Anna Hurtt | 3 comments Just finished it tonight. I really enjoyed it once I got into the story. :)


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Beth wrote: "I think the epistolary format is pretty divisive - readers either love it or don't love it. Personally, I loved it and found Sam to be a refreshing character.

I enjoyed "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society," actually. I think they authors did well with the letter format.

I just can't feel the love for Dear Mr. Knightly! ;)


message 36: by Cammie (new)

Cammie | 19 comments I rather loved this book and now can't wait to read Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay and The Brontë Plot. :)


message 37: by Chantel (new)

Chantel (channylee07) | 357 comments This book looks so good I'm excited to get it.


message 38: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Carrie wrote: "Beth wrote: "I think the epistolary format is pretty divisive - readers either love it or don't love it. Personally, I loved it and found Sam to be a refreshing character.

I enjoyed "The Guernsey ..."


Well, it would get boring if we all just loved the same books! :D


message 39: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
Elizabeth wrote: "I really liked it, I want to read the original book it's based on too!"

Daddy Long Legs is good! I didn't read it until after I read DMK. I listened the audio - it was very entertaining.


message 40: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Since we are halfway through the month, I am going to throw out a couple of discussion questions:

1) Sam found a safe haven in her books, but Hannah accused Sam of hiding in her books. What do you think? Do you ever hide and if so where do you gravitate when you feel afraid, hurt, or vulnerable?

2) Alex told Sam that he doesn't like to disappoint poeple. Is that a failing or a virtue?


message 41: by Beth, Head Librarian (new)

Beth | 2263 comments Mod
1. I admit, a couple of years ago, I was working a job that made me extremely unhappy. Though it's never been odd for me to read hours on end, I clung to my books during that time, and used them to sort of zone out from real life once I was home. Other than that, I think I tend to make light of things that bother me, or sort of laugh at them instead of saying that I'm bothered. So I guess I might hide behind that sometimes.

2. I think it's both a failing and a virtue. It's good to not want to disappoint others, however, as humans, we will almost always be disappointing to someone in one way or another. Plus, there are always those out there who are never pleased no matter what. If you rely too much on a person's approval, you're always going to feel like you've disappointed someone. Along with that is that you might disappoint someone, but at the same time, your choice is pleasing to God, so it's good to remember that doing that is the most important thing.


message 42: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
A couple more questions to think about:

1) Father John believed that the best thing for Sam would be to find her way around the "real world and it's people." Do you agree? Why?

2) Was Mr. Knightley right to continue in his anonymity? If not, at what point did it go too far?


message 43: by Anna (new)

Anna | 37 comments Elizabeth wrote: "Cammie wrote: "I rather loved this book and now can't wait to read Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay and The Brontë Plot. :)"


I just bought Lizzy and Jane too...Kindle books are..."


Thank God for the library...


message 44: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Anna wrote: "Elizabeth wrote: "Cammie wrote: "I rather loved this book and now can't wait to read Lizzy and Jane by Katherine Reay and The Brontë Plot. :)"


I just bought Lizzy and Jane too...."


I agree Anna about the library. Couldn't support my reading habit otherwise:)


message 45: by Christine (new)

Christine | 428 comments I'm right there with you both! And if my local library doesn't have a book I want I can always (have always been able to get one) get a book through interlibrary loan. I'm very grateful!


message 46: by Loraine, CFD Momma (new)

Loraine (librarydiva) | 2854 comments Mod
Christine wrote: "I'm right there with you both! And if my local library doesn't have a book I want I can always (have always been able to get one) get a book through interlibrary loan. I'm very grateful!"

Our library has just gone to a new ILL system which is great and I have been able to find most of the books I want that our library doesn't have.


message 47: by Anna (new)

Anna | 37 comments Yeah, I only remember one book that I couldn't get through interlibrary loan. I have my library card number memorized cause I use it so much. ;) I think I am addicted...


message 48: by Rebecca (pagescollective) (last edited Feb 17, 2015 06:43PM) (new)

Rebecca (pagescollective) Elizabeth wrote: "I have a *small* problem returning books on time. For me it's cheaper in the long run to buy them on kindle. My library could probably build a new wing just with my later fees. :)"

I have a card for libraries in two different counties. One lets patrons check books out for 4 weeks, so I don't have problems there. But the other only lets patrons check the books out for 2 weeks. That sneaks up so fast and I often forget to renew them!

But even still, the library has been my main source of books for so long I can't imaging living without it!!


message 49: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments I am the same way with library books and fines at the library.


message 50: by Nicola (new)

Nicola Terry | 23 comments I felt Mr. Knightly was wrong to maintain anonymity because he knew how discreet she was with personal issues. Once she began to divulge information about how she felt for him he should have come clean.


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