Dear Mr. Knightley

By Katherine Reay

I thought I would really really love this book. I like the two other books I read by the author. I thought they were well written. I love Daddy-Long-Legs and Jane Austen, and epistolary novels in general. But I didn’t love this. I’m not going to rant and rave about it. I will just say that the main reason was that I didn’t like Sam, the heroine. I didn’t understand her, I was bored by her, and she was a real pill throughout the whole book. I was over her at the 4% mark when she was at the end of her rope and out of nowhere she was gifted a full scholarship to Northwestern’s prestigious School of Journalism, and she wanted to ungratefully wheedle out of journalism and into English literature. And the book itself, Sam’s journey to be her real self, whatever that means, was so long, repetitive, and boring. I don’t understand why people cared about her and loved her so, like the Muirs and Alec. Maybe because she looked like Anne Hathaway? And since I didn’t value Sam, I didn’t get the romance that went on and on. And then she turned on him for no reason (not talking about the big reveal here, but her rage when he went to New York.) I did like this wise quote towards the end:

Self-protection keeps you from love, Mr. Knightley—all love. I am so sad at how I’ve kept them at a distance—the Muirs, Alex, Father John, Kyle, Hannah . . . anyone and everyone who has ever stood by me. I played God in our relationships. I determined their value and their worth by how much I let them in, by how much I let them determine my worth. I’m not God.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

July 7, 2020

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