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Book Review: Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay


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Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

It took me a while to get into this book. For about the first third of the book I wasn't sure whether I liked it or not; I wasn't sold on the whole writing-long-personal-letters-to-an-anonymous-benefactor element of it, and there were some things that irritated me (such as Samantha not being allowed to choose her university course). After a while, though, it began to grow on me and I got so absorbed in the story and Samantha's development as a character that I did enjoy it for the most part. I wasn't completely convinced by the amount Samantha relates in her letters (and the length of the letters), but that was something that I could overlook for the sake of the story. As the book went on, I did enjoy it more and more, and I think the story was great. The ending, I won't say much about; I knew what was going to happen (having read Daddy-Long-Legs which this book is loosely based on) but although I wasn't 100% comfortable with it I was much happier with it than I though I would be. I think maybe I would just have liked the book to go on a bit longer so that I could see everything be fully resolved.

Overall, though, I did definitely enjoy this book and would recommend it.

Rating: 7.5/10







 

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