This weekend I officially added Samantha Moore to my list of favorite book people. You don’t know Sam? She’s the heroine of Katherine Reay’s debut novel, Dear Mr. Knightley.
The tagline for Sam’s story reads: “Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.”
Sam’s favorite literary folks all come from Jane Austen stories. However, the best way I can share with you how much I loved this novel is to say that she reminded me of my favorite spunky, heart-breaking, turn-adversity-into-triumph leading ladies, like . . . Anne Shirley (Anne of Green Gables), Katherine Mary O’Fallon (Mrs. Mike), Antonia Shimerdas (My Antonia), Lucy Waring (Moonraker’s Bride), Novalee Nation (Where the Heart Is), and Anna Moray (The Firebird). I even saw a touch of Beatrice Prior (Divergent) in her.
The story is told from Sam’s perspective through letters to her anonymous benefactor, who goes by the name George Knightley. Sam is an orphan who spent time on the streets and was in & out of the foster care system until she landed at Father John’s Grace House. Now she’s at the point in her life where she is ready to spread her wings and fly—if she can just tear down the wall of books that guards her heart. Her adventures and observations made me laugh and cry. And the ending of the story was totally satisfying!
My Favorite Quote: “Yes, I wrote ‘pray.’ It’s not a word I’ve used before and not one I write lightly. But I can’t listen to Father John, the Muirs and the Ridleys, and once-upon-a-time Alex, and not believe that there is something to it. How can I not believe that there is a God who exists and loves, when the people before me are infused with that love and pour it out daily? I still can’t grasp that it’s for me, but what if it is? The professor says it’s okay to pray even if I’m not sure.”
Christmas Gift Alert! This is a great gift book for teens on up. Hopefully, you can tell by the books I’ve listed which readers on your gift list would love it.
About the Author: Katherine Reay is a writer, a wife, a mom, a runner, a tennis player, a tae kwon do black belt (how random is that?), a wanna be chef, a disorganized housekeeper, but compulsive vacuumist, and a horrific navigator.