Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Samantha Moore is the down-on-her-luck character that many of us are all too familiar with. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, Sam hides behind the facade of her favorite books, namely Jane Austen and other similar classics. She has been in and out of foster homes and lives with Father John now. An orphan, at the age of 23, and all attempts at a normal life failed, for another “failed to connect.” She gets the opportunity of a life-time to go to college, all under the donation of an illustrious Mr. Knightley, the benefactor who will pay for all of her educational costs, as long as she gets her graduate degree in journalism. Sam begins by not being too fond of this prospect, but it grows on her and transforms her in ways she never imagined possible. Through the help of Mr. Knightley and journalism, along with new friends that she meets in the most unlikely places, she is able to start overcoming her past and put the book front behind her. She begins to be more courageous. During the book she meets the famous Alex Powell, who she finds herself enjoying more and more time with, but with no basis as to what relationships should be like, she has no basis for what she feels like. Throughout her journey, Mr. Knightley provides her with clothes, an apartment, and a confidant as Sam, to get her education paid for, must chronicle her adventures through school (and life as she deems fit) to him through letters to which he never replies. Sam finds safety and refuge in the letters and is able to open up to her true self, closing doors on her past and opening doors to things she never imagined possible. She finds love, friends, and family, but when she questions the relationship of Mr. Knightley and demands a meeting, does everything crumble?
I enjoyed this book. I was an easy read, though I must digress that I guessed the identity of Mr. Knightley almost immediately. I won’t say when, as that would give it away, but I will say, if you pay attention to the book, it will be easy to figure out who the mysterious benefactor is, and when you do, the story takes a different light.
It is a light-hearted romance in the underlying tones with some references to a dark past for Sam, but it is mixed in with what would be normal college/friend troubles. It seems young and trivial as a reader that she would be thinking that way, but with her lack of knowledge of anything solid and real in the world, I could shrug it off as her learning her way in the world.
Katherine Reay has other books out as well, all with titles that lend to Jane Austen and other similar female authors. Enjoy this book for a light read and don’t look into it for too much of a deeper meaning. It was definitely a cozy read.