Contemporary Fiction, Giveaways

Giveaway Winners Announced for Dear Mr. Knightley

Dear Mr Knightley, by Katherine Reay (2013)It’s time to announce the 3 winners of print copies of Dear Mr. Knightley, by Katherine Reay. The winners drawn at random are:

  • Monica P. who left a comment of November 18, 2013
  • Danielle C. who left a comment on November 14, 2013
  • Anne Smittle who left a comment on November 12, 2013

Congratulations ladies! To claim your prize, please contact me with your full name and address by November 27, 2013 or you will forfeit your prize! Shipment to US addresses only.

Thanks to all who left comments, to author Katherine Reay for her guest blog, and to her publisher Thomas Nelson, Inc. for the giveaways.

Cover image courtesy Thomas Nelson, Inc. © 2013; text Laurel Ann Nattress © 2013, Austenprose.com

Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction

Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel, by Katherine Reay – A Review

Dear Mr Knightley, by Katherine Reay (2013) From the desk of Diana Birchall:

Does anyone remember Daddy-Long-Legs, the enchanting 1955 movie in which Fred Astaire is the benevolent, mysterious, rich sponsor who sends the exquisite young French girl Leslie Caron, to college? It was a favorite musical of my childhood, along with a string of other Caron and Audrey Hepburn films. Daddy-Long-Legs actually started life, however, as long ago as 1912, as a bright, effervescent, epistolary novel by Jean Webster. It enjoyed a huge success as a Broadway play and was filmed several times, including a Japanese anime version.

Now new author Katherine Reay, instead of penning yet another in a lengthy backlist of Jane Austen updates, has cleverly chosen to write a modern retelling of Daddy-Long-Legs. Her Dear Mr. Knightley has a thoughtful literary setting, with enough Austen and Bronte references to provide intellectual mind candy for the reading woman. She also bestows an unusually satisfying romance upon her heroine, and succeeds in creating a portrait of a young writer that is so poignantly fresh and full of growing pains and uncertainties, that you question why she ever needed to lean on somebody else’s old classic at all.

In Jean Webster’s original version, the heroine, Jerusha Abbot, was fifteen and still working in the orphan asylum where she was raised, when her rich benefactor sends her to a posh college. In her version, Katherine Reay advances her orphan’s age to twenty-three, and this constitutes my main problem with the novel, and the reason I wish she’d left the Daddy-Long-Legs template behind her. Samantha Moore has already graduated from college and failed in her first job, when she is offered a full tuition grant to the master’s program of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, by a wealthy philanthropist. The only stipulation is that she write him personal progress letters, which he will not answer. His assistant suggests she address him as “Mr. George Knightley,” in tribute to Samantha’s own love for Jane Austen and Emma. Continue reading “Dear Mr. Knightley: A Novel, by Katherine Reay – A Review”