Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay ~ A Review


Wowzers - read this. Quick.
Need a great read for a few wintry evenings? Or a birthday gift for your mom or sister? Or simply a pick-me-up for a friend? Put this little gem in their hands... but do make sure to get a copy of your own. Even for the non-reader, the cover is darling enough to just sit on the coffee table and make them look like a reader. But believe me, you don't want to miss the story.

Katherine Reay serves up her debut novel that reads nothing like a debut novel. And isn't she darling??

When my friend Krista put this book in my hands, she said with a sad voice, "I'm just so jealous you get to read it for the first time."

Dear Mr. Knightly is in a genre of its own ~ an epistolary novel and heavily influenced by some literary classics and interwoven with references to novels including all things Bronte. While Dear Mr. Knightly dishes out some heavy subject matter, somehow Reay’s writing is light, funny, and believable. I laughed out loud, yet also shed a few tears at the restoration of a minor character’s situation.

What I loved ~
- Fabulous, believable characters who demonstrate beauty and flaws all mingled together.
- Reay's voice - Unique. Strong and self-deprecating. I feel like I not only know the main characters after reading this (can’t quit thinking about them), but I also feel like I know the author.
- Plot and Storyline - Intriguing, different. Not predictable. Especially sub-plots. Sometimes I get confused by all the minor people and goings-on weaving in and out of novels. But in this story, each character purposely revealed more about the main character, Sam. The relationships, even those that didn’t wrap up neat and pretty by the end, displayed different angles and growth in Sam’s journey.
- Did I already say not predictable??
- A backdrop of faith without a contrived or overt nature. Seems to me a person's (character's) faith is more attractive when it's simple and organic, and as an author, Reay displayed hers very simply through the story.
- Again, somehow Reay hit some hard, deep issues without graphic writing. Not everything was resolved by the last page of the book, but the reader is left with a strong conclusion. Unless, of course, there’s a sequel in the works...

While it's not a sequel, I'm currently devouring Reay's second novel, Lizzy and Jane, (a birthday gift from Krista - who knows how to keep me reading fiction even when I think I might not have time to read fiction - bah) and will hopefully review it soon!

Bottom line - Dear Mr. Knightly offers fantastic writing, a compelling storyline, and characters to fall in love with. I recently put  a copy in the mail to one of my besties.

For all of my reading friends ~ enjoy, and would love to hear your thoughts!