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.


  1. I do love Jane Austen. I have read a few books that are related to her & her works. They have all been OK. They messed around with beloved characters a bit too much to my liking.

  2. I really loved this book as well, especially all the quotes from the classics. I love Jane Austen but find most of the contemporary fiction based on her work falls short of the mark. But I still keep reading them, hoping to find a good one. Well, who could match Jane Austen anyway, right?
    garfsgirl AT hotmail DOT com

  3. I agree, LIs. It's hard to do someone else's characters justice. BUT! The reason I like Dear Mr Knightley so much is that she doesn't try to continue Austen's story or change it - she refers to those characters with reverence, while telling a different story - even if it might have similarities.

  4. I have read so many good things about this book. Jane Austen was one of a kind and I am really partial to the name Emma as that is the name of my granddaughter.

    mauback55 at gmail dot com

  5. I absolutely loved this book! I don't usually enjoy it when the main character is a "hot mess" but it was so honest and touching and deep. Amazing book! I also loved Daddy Long Legs so it was a fun surprise to realize this was based on it :)

  6. This book is on my to-read list. :)

    I have read contemporary fiction based on Jane Austen's work. I enjoyed reading Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict and Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict, both by Laurie Viera Rigler. Also, even though Lauren Henderson's Jane Austen's Guide to Dating isn't fiction, it's definitely an awesome read and I highly recommend it.

  7. This is so fun to see DMK here! I agree with so much here -- I cherish Jane Austen's characters so much that I too am wary when writers send them too far astray :) But didn't Laurie Viera Rigler do a wonderful job? So enjoy those books -- which is why I asked her to endorse DMK. (I was so nervous to contact her.)

    Thank you so much for chatting about DMK. As my head seems to be more absorbed these days by Lizzy & Jane, it's nice to visit Sam again. In fact it was a year ago last week, the book released. Crazy!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Katherine! What an honor to have the Christy Award winning author right HERE chatting it up on Stitches Thru Time! :D

      I can imagine how nervous you were to request an endorsement! Yikes! That's a scary thing for sure. But, of course, this is the amazing Katherine Reay's books we're talking about. ;)

      I have this one on my kindle, and have SO been looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately, I've had other reading obligations lately, so I haven't gotten to it yet, but I will SOON! Yay!

      Congratulations on your release of Lizzy and Jane, and your award on DMK! So excited for you.

      Amber Schamel

  8. Another book that is waiting and begging to be read! I can't wait to enjoy Dear Mr. Knightley!

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com