Thursday, November 13, 2014
Dear Mr. Knightley...
If you are a Jane Austen fan, Dear Mr. Knightly is a rare treat. While paying heavy homage to Austen’s characters and stories, this book is not trying to emulate Jane Austen. Rather, the author has managed capture some of the memorable details from Austen novels, as well as other favorite classics, weaving them into a story that actually parallels Emma in some ways. In fact, the book is a transformative take on one of my favorite stories from childhood, Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster.
In this version, an orphan brought up through the system in contemporary Chicago writes letters to a mysterious benefactor who puts her through college. Told exclusively through letters, the epistolary novel gives us a deeply personal view a remarkable young woman. Her emotions run high as she seeks to find a place in the world and people who will care for her…things she’s never truly experienced before. Love, learning, conflict, and family all find their way into the letters, each laden with sparkling personality and vivid emotion.
This story keeps the pages turning - what will our heroine say next? Some days she’s a hot mess and other days, refreshingly honest. The characterization runs deep and is very well done. Even though I was familiar with the story (based on Daddy Long Legs) and how it would end, getting there gave me goosebumps. And upon reading the last lines, I couldn't help but sigh. It kept me reading late into the night: simply un-put-down-able! I’m already planning to re-read this one. Oh! And Ms. Reay has recently released another book: Lizzy and Jane. P&P anyone? That’s on my TBR list, for sure.
Do you love Jane Austen? Have you read contemporary fiction based on the classics? Do you love it or wish they’d leave it alone? (For the record, I LOVE it!) For a chance to win our giveaway this week, leave us a comment.