Dear Mr. Knightley; a novel by Katherine Reay is my new favorite read of 2013. Samantha Moore has always lost herself in the works of Austen, Dumas, Bronte, and various other writers, instead of really stepping into the real world. Escapism at its best. However, when an unknown benefactor offers her the chance to go to the prestigious Medill School of Journalism, Sam has to choose between trying to make it on her own or take a difficult course that could jump start an amazing career. The only stipulation is that Sam write her benefactor letters on her progress, somewhat like a diary. The letters are to be addressed to a Mr. G. Knightley.
So begins Sam’s quest to become a journalist, something she is not comfortable with, and learning how to let people into her dark past. Will she be able to traverse the social world without always quoting from her books? And what will happen when she meets one of her favorite authors, Alex Powell, and he turns out to be an incredibly warm, charming and young man? Will she retreat into her safe, bookish world?
Dear Mr. Knightly is an epistolary novels, which means it is written completely in Sam’s letters to Mr. Knightley over the course of her schooling. A quarter of the way through the book, I was really not liking Sam, which is unusual for me since I usually love the heroine right off. I thought Sam was like an Emma in her own ways. Superior in her knowledge of English literature and closed to criticism. However, she starts to grow on you and when she finally really starts to open up to Mr. Knightley, you feel so much for her. The secondary characters add an amazing warmth to Sam’s life. Friendships and ‘family’ help her grow and become a much more confident young woman.
I knew I had to read this book from the title because any Austen fan knows of Mr. Knightley’s wonderfulness. I almost laughed three-quarters of the way through the book when Sam wrote and said: “I think I’ve told you this before, Mr. Knightley, but a name is a powerful thing. I don’t know that I could have shared so much with you if you were a Mr. Elton or a Frank Churchill. They weren’t honorable men. George Knightley was. So I trusted you on that association alone – at first.”
That statement is spot on. You immediately trust Mr. Knightley.
I absolutely loved this book and it will be one I will want to read over and over. The struggles of Sam left me laughing, crying, and sharing in her plight. I want to meet her. I want to read Alex Powell’s books. These characters feel so real to me. I think my only eyebrow raise would come from how well Alex can quote Jane Austen and knows what quotes Sam is using. I have never met any guy who is a ‘real man’ who could do that. However, it does make for a charming story. Five stars and then some. Read it. If you love The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, you’ll love this.
I want to wish you all a safe and Happy Thanksgiving. Thank you for the follows this year and everything. I hope you all have a day of reflection and hope. One of our greatest presidents set aside this day to give thanks to our Lord and Savior. A day for us to remember. Stay safe and see you in December.
Currently I’m obsessed with several things, which in turn has taken up my time so that I’m not writing blog posts like I normally would. Granted, I usually only get one a week posted, but I haven’t even done that. I’m so far behind my norm that it’s getting out of control. At this rate, or as it stands, I have to type up at least 5-8 posts and try and schedule them for the month so that I can have a bit more downtime during the holiday season.
But until then, here is a peek into my current obsessions and time consuming pursuits. Usually I have three periods during the year where I’m obsessed with something. Springtime usually means Jane Austen, though it seemed to run more mid summer this year. Spring was Georgia O’Keefe, this time around.
Once Upon a Time
This season of OUAT has been incredible. The plot is so incredibly ridiculous and fabulous that I don’t even know where to start. The family tree of Henry is on beyond the realm of normal thought. But it is so cool. The story makes you just keep coming back for more. Not counting the character of Captain Hook. Killian Jones, as his real name happens to be, has got to be one of the sexiest actors on a drama right now. Not only is he incredibly charming, he has this way with words (an Irish accent doesn’t hurt), these devilishly good looks that he gives Emma, and an actually really good heart. I’ve even delved into the fan fiction realm regarding what is known as ‘Captain Swan’. Oh, the fan fiction and Captain Swan speculations out there will keep a girl’s heart fluttering at an alarming rate. Pardon me while I go hyperventilate into a bag or sob in the closet. All kidding aside, I’ve gone a bit fan girl on the whole show, and my Tumblr account shows it with various OUAT fan posts, quotes, videos, and chatter between other diehard OUAT fans. #LongLiveCaptainSwan
Which brings me to my next obsession. Bro-Country Blame it on FGL, but now I’m slightly overdoing the bro-country music (I’m not even sure I know how to spell that) It’s this new genre of non country that has swept the music charts, just in case you don’t listen to country, like me, or haven’t heard the term. Singers like Luke Bryan, Jake Owen, Chris Young, etc., sings songs that seem to have the themes of girls with no name, painted on jeans, moonlight, a truck, always the weekend, always summer, possibly a rap bridge, and beer. It’s sad. It’s the farthest thing from country next to Taylor Swift and her pop queeness. But I love it and since I’m writing about a singer who sings bro-country, well, listening to it helps. It isn’t because it’s catchy…. ‘Aw Naw‘
This is a recent obsession and it hasn’t taken full hold over me. Recently I was invited to see an homage of Fernando Sor at my local theater, which is really quite small. The homage was done by the talent John Doan. I won’t go into details about him, you can see what he does on his website, here, but it gave me a taste of modern classical guitar. It was stunning and moving and I was left breathless as I heard this most amazing music played. Now, I haven’t had the opportunity to hear a lot of Fernando Sor’s actual compositions, but I’ve started looking and so far, it’s really quite wonderful. Something I plan to use for part of my novel.
So, four obsessions isn’t that bad, but they do take up time. It’s interesting that three of them are music. But as I’ve always been one to love music and have it on all the time, it’s not unusual.
I’m curious, what are any of you obsessed with? Something embarrassing like Once Upon a Time? Or something more innocuous?
Let me know.
Currently I’m not making bread. I should be.
Currently I’m not folding clothes. I should be.
Currently I’m not sending books to people who’ve requested them on Bookmooch. I should be.
Currently I’m not posting a review for a book I read three weeks ago. I should be.
Currently I’m not sorting books that have gotten out of hand. I should be.
Currently I’m not writing blog posts even though it’s been almost a month since my last one. I should be.
Currently I’m not decluttering areas that need it. I should be.
Right now I’m thinking about an email I want to send to a friend, the Once Upon a Time fan fiction I’m currently interested in, the book I’m writing, the music I want to listen to, the boxes of books I want to go through, and the blog posts I should write before the holidays get going.
I’m so behind of what I want to do versus what I should be doing versus what I need to be doing.
Currently I am not….. And I should be…..
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