Friday, November 22, 2013

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay, ©2013

It’s a book lover’s book. The main character, Samantha Moore, grew up in foster care and to cope with her tough childhood, she “hides” behind the personas of some of literature’s most beloved characters—Elizabeth Bennet, Jane Eyre, Edmond Dantes . . . But she has to lay down these characters to find her own voice and her own story. And she gets true love too . . .
   --author Katherine Reay

June 29th, 2013. I was invited to the ALA conference in Chicago and held my first book signing.

Samantha Moore is living her life through experiences she has read in books to form her expression. She does not risk herself ~ she has no voice. I am reminded of  John Powell's "I am afraid to tell you who I am, because, if I tell you who I am, you may not like who I am, and it's all that I have...” from his book, "Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am?" Disclosures. Revealing self of whom she doesn't know herself to be?
   In literature analysis I hid behind the subject, and it made my papers come alive. I had a voice that mirrored, if not emboldened, the subject. When I write to you, I'm safe in your anonymity and your silence. For all I know, you may not even read these letters.
   --Dear Mr. Knightley, 54
I'm unused to hugs, so at the time I couldn't enjoy it. Several hours later, I loved that hug.
   --Ibid., 115
He was very kind and wanted to know everything, not to dissect it, but to share it.
   --Ibid., 149
   Changing, being real and becoming who you want to be, is hard work. Right now, I'd love a good chat with Jane Eyre. She never lost herself. Not once.
   --Ibid., 200
Being real.

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.  "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"
"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse.  "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."
"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.
"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.  "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."
"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"
"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse.  "You become.  It takes a long time.  That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.  But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."
--The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

What if you were truly free to express yourself in your journaling ~ to foremost, being honest with yourself without writing in code? Would you avert and separate yourself from truth revealing itself for the first time? Samantha Moore does have this opportunity. As part of her scholarship, she is to reveal herself in writing to Mr. Knightley, her benefactor. Beyond a diary, Samantha is able to become aware of who she is and what is happening with people near her as she begins to let them in. This was phenomenal writing! Very excellent in introspection and the awareness of others seeping into her daily life beyond her books.

Highly recommend this debut novel by Katherine Reay and I look forward to her next writings.

***Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group for sending me a copy of Katherine Reay's debut novel, Dear Mr. Knightley. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay | Favorite Austen Moments KINDLE HDX Giveaway, Pinterest Contest and Facebook Party!

Debut author Katherine Reay is celebrating the release of her delightful novel, Dear Mr. Knightley with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway, a fun Favorite Austen Moments Pinterest contest, and an Austen-themed Facebook Party.

  One winner will receive:
  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
  • Handmade Austen-themed items (scarf, mug, bracelet, and necklace) 
Two ways to win! Enter today by clicking one of the icons below or participating in the Pinterest contest (see banner below)—or BOTH! 

But hurry, the giveaway ends on December 3rd. Winner will be announced at the "Dear Mr. Knightley" Austen-themed Facebook Author Chat Party on the 3rd. Join Katherine (and Austen fans) for an evening of book chat, prizes, and an exclusive look at Katherine's next book.

So grab your copy of  Dear Mr. Knightley and join Katherine on the evening of December 3rd for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven't read the book, don't let that stop you from coming!)

Don't miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN at the event page. Spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway and party via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST. Hope to see you on the 3rd!


  1. I always enjoy your reviews and I'm so glad you don't give spoilers! I should have only read yours because another reviewer gave away a major plot point, to my disappointment. Keep up the GOOD WORK, Kathleen!!!

    1. I would be so disappointed if someone else "read the book for me." Always remembering ~ it is a review not a synopsis ~. Thank you, Anne. I looked forward to each of her expressions of discovery of coming alive. Kathleen

  2. What a wonderful review. Thank you. I love the reference to The Velveteen Rabbit... considering all the parallels and hidden allusions I made in DMK, I'm thrilled that one so perfect escaped me. It must be "real" then -- this search. Thanks again!

    1. Yes, very real! Loved it!! ~ finding "You are loved." Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House