Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Book Review: Katherine Reay's Dear Mr. Knightley

The premise and the tile seemed interesting, so naturally I picked up this book to review. I would it's more driven toward fans who like the classics like Jane Austen though, or romances. It's a more sophisticated chick novel. I thought there were some good twists though, and the background of the character keeps you interested in her life, and how long she will continue to let the past affect. Also, the novel is Christian based, and I believe they balance the faith aspects very well, but sometimes it felt like it was just there when it felt needed.

Summary: Samantha Moore grew up without a family to create a world in, so instead she has relied on literary characters to give her some grounding in the world. She has been in and out of the foster care system, but now she is given the chance to succeed when she is given a scholarship by a person who goes by the name Mr. Knightley. She can now get her graduate degree, but she must write Mr. Knightley of her progress in exchange. Her letters grow more personal though and closer to the person she is writing, but she also finds her life is growing for the better.

Characters: I found the characters to be a tad generic, but the author seems to really be putting her all into making sure they are developed enough for the reader. Samantha is more complex in my opinion than the general female you'll find in Christian novels. She has struggles and a rough past that she is working to over come. She doesn't make mistakes though that seem too life altering and for the most part seems to have more willpower than the average person despite even having low self esteem. Alex is the man she meets in the story that she begins to develop real feelings for. While how their whole growing friendship plays out feels a little easy to predict, it's still sweet to read. There are also well developed side characters like Kyle, and the Muirs who make the story come to life.

Writing: The book is well written. I liked the way the story began to flow after I got use to the letter layout of the story. It really did take some getting used to and at first I thought I was going to struggle with feeling connected to the story the entire time. At first the letters she writes are short and don't involve a lot of who she is, but as she confides in the reader more then she also begins to reveal more about her own development to him.

Plot: The story actually grows very well from only letter correspondences only.Naturally I have questions though. Like why does she include her actual dialogue laid out in the letters? I get this is needed to make the story come to life but no one would write like that when writing to someone. That is always my problem with those types of writings. It works and it gives the story a lot of personality, but there is a lot of format used that I wouldn't personally use when writing to someone. I feel that everyone is well developed in the story though, and as you hope you feel this story gets you to wanting the best for the characters in the story as well.

Dear Mr. Knightley has a lot of emotions in it, and it doesn't try to be all rainbows and butterflies about life. Most should like how the story turns out, but sometimes the story does get a little dull. I felt some of the story could have been shortened. It was an uplifting read though that I could find some things to relate about, particularly the fear aspect.

Rating 7.5 of 10.

This book was provided by Booksneeze in exchange for a review.

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