Dear Mr. Knightley

Title:  Dear Mr. Knightley
Author:  Katherine Reay
Pages:  327
Year:  2013
Publisher:  Thomas Nelson
Samantha Moore is a 23-year-old failure in her own mind.  She was brought up in an abusive household and eventually placed in a foster home, Grace House.  After several failed trials at living with different foster families, Sam winds up at Grace House for good.  She is encouraged by the home’s administrator, Father John, to pursue a scholarship offered by a foundation to attend a prestigious journalism school.  Sam has always found solace and safety in her books.  These are her refuge when she is stressed.  These are where she runs when she is running away from life, or she literally runs as in marathons.  She hides behind the characters and uses their words to express herself sometimes because she doesn’t know how to express herself in her own words.  By doing so, as she grows up, she shuts out a lot of the world.
Sam accepts the scholarship and eventually begins her graduate degree.  She learns far more than journalism as she leaves Grace House for the final time.  She begins to learn about friendship and the responsibilities that entails.  She has her first boyfriend and the decisions that kind of relationship requires.  She has strong parental figures introduced in her life for the first time.  They encourage her to pray even if she doesn’t believe in the hopes that by praying belief will follow.  She also faces betrayal, heartache and anxiety.  In short, she begins to live life in the real world.
This book has more than one them running throughout, but one I took away from my reading was that to find joy, risk to oneself is necessary, giving trust without knowing if the trust will be cherished or not.  For ill or good, one must make oneself vulnerable and transparent and not hide behind one’s defenses that all people have for self-preservation.  I don’t believe in the “finding yourself” theme that was also promoted in the story, which is why I gave a lower rating.  I also found the quotes from the various British writers of classic stories obscure for many of today’s readers.  While many people may have read some of these books, most have not read them enough to be able to quote from them or recognize when someone else is quoting from them; thus, readers miss out or don’t get the significance of the references.  It was a good love story and there were some humorous lines that got me to laugh.
My rating is 3 stars.
Note:  I received a complimentary copy for an honest review of this book.  The opinions shared in this review are solely my responsibility.  Other reviews can be read at .  Also follow me on Twitter @lcjohnson1988, FaceBook at
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