Book Beginnings – Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

This is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  They ask that you post the first line(s) to the book you are currently reading and share some feelings on the book.  I’m tweaking this a bit and I’m going to share first lines of books/stories, written by, about, or in the theme of Jane Austen.

My pick for this week is Dear Mr. Knightly: A Novel by Katherine Reay

April 2

Dear Sir,
     It has been a year since I turned down your generous offer. Father John warned me at the time that I was making a terrible mistake, but I wouldn’t listen. He felt that by dismissing that opportunity I was injuring not only myself, but all the foster children helped by your foundation.
     I hope any perceived ingratitude on my part didn’t harm anyone else’s dreams. I wasn’t ungrateful; I just wanted to leave Grace House. A group home is a difficult place to live, and I”d been there for eight years. And even though I know graduate school meant more education and better job prospects, it also meant living at Grace House another two years. At the time I couldn’t face that prospect.
     My heart has always been in my books and writing, but I couldn’t risk losing a paying job to pursue a dream. Now I’m ready to try. Not because I failed, but because this degree gives me the chance to link my passion with my livelihood.
     Please let me know if the grant is still available. I will understand if you have selected another candidate.

                                                                                Sincerely,
                                                                                Samantha Moore

Book Description:
Samantha Moore has always hidden behind the words of others—namely, her favorite characters in literature. Now, she will learn to write her own story—by giving that story to a complete stranger.
Sam is, to say the least, bookish. An English major of the highest order, her diet has always been Austen, Dickens, and Shakespeare. The problem is, both her prose and conversation tend to be more Elizabeth Bennet than Samantha Moore.

But life for the twenty-three-year-old orphan is about to get stranger than fiction. An anonymous, Dickensian benefactor (calling himself Mr. Knightley) offers to put Sam through Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. There is only one catch: Sam must write frequent letters to the mysterious donor, detailing her progress.

As Sam’s dark memory mingles with that of eligible novelist Alex Powell, her letters to Mr. Knightley become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it’s straight out of a book, old secrets are drawn to light. And as Sam learns to love and trust Alex and herself, she learns once again how quickly trust can be broken.

Reminding us all that our own true character is not meant to be hidden, Reay’s debut novel follows one young woman’s journey as she sheds her protective persona and embraces the person she was meant to become.

4 thoughts on “Book Beginnings – Dear Mr. Knightly by Katherine Reay

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