Since it’s both Memorial Day weekend and my 17th wedding anniversary, I decided to do something slightly different: review a book I read … years ago. It was my first introduction to author Katherine Reay, her sweet romance Dear Mr. Knightley.
I reviewed Ms. Reay’s latest release last week here. When I saw the opportunity to review her newest, I was really excited because my first experience with her novels made such a good impression on me. That first experience is what I will describe now:
I rated Dear Mr. Knightley 4 stars:
This was almost all written in letters that Sam wrote to the mysterious Mr. Knightley, whom she didn’t know. I didn't mind the epistolary format, as I have read it in several other books. It's not my favorite, because my first epistolary novel was Anne of Windy Poplars, my least favorite in the Anne series (it took me 4 tries to finally finish that book!), so I have a kind of bad taste in my mouth when I think of it. Lady Susan by Jane Austen also uses it, and it's probably my least fav Austen novel. Hmm, maybe I don't really like it after all! :) However, it didn't bother me at all in this book, because it was consistent all the way through (until the last chapter). I felt that it read more like a diary than letters.
I ended up staying up way too late on a Saturday night to find out who Mr. Knightley was and how Sam would react, when I should have gotten to bed early, but I couldn't resist. :) I thought the ending was a little overly dramatic and unrealistic. It needed that ending, but I think the author should have added a little bit more time for Sam to work through her feelings.
One other thought: I was a little disappointed in the faith element. I didn't know if this was considered a “Christian fiction” by the end of the book. Not only was the very first mention of religion not until page 141, but the few references were very vague in talking about “faith” and “God.” Only once that I saw did it even mention “Christ.” I wanted more!
All in all, though, I was pleasantly surprised! I gave it a 7.5 out of 10 and looked forward to reading more from Ms. Reay.