Plot: Sam is, to say the least, bookish. AnEnglish 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. Knightly) 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. Knightly become increasingly confessional. While Alex draws Sam into a world of warmth and literature that feels like it's right 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.
This was definitely one of the best books I have ever read. I'm afraid this is going to be a longer review than usual because I enjoyed Dear Mr. Knightly so, so much! The plot was so interesting, exiting, and relate-able, I really couldn't put it down! For three days, when I wasn't doing school or eating, I was curled up in my comfy blue chair reading this!
Characters: Ok, I don't want to give any spoilers... so I'm just gonna say that Mr. Knightly was my favorite character. This whole book is Sam's letters to him and I really loved that about it. Sam was an amazingly strong young woman. After coming into foster care at young age for the worst reasons imaginable, she was passed from foster home to foster home until she finally ended up in a group home called Grace House when she was a teenager. She had the worst experiences and they changed her in a bad way. They made her bitter. They made her afraid to share her past with others. She lived in constant fear. It was wonderful to see how God patiently used His people to make a good impact in her life and help her to see the light.
Emotions: This book had me laughing and tearing up at numerous different times. The author so vividly and truthfully portrayed foster care, that it really broke your heart. My family fostered through DCS for several years, and while I don't pretend to know everything about foster care, there were some things that couldn't be shielded from my naive eight-year-old ears. The things that happen to children in foster care really can't be understood unless you've had some sort of experience with it. And even then there is a lingering question of "why?". I think that just from the way she wrote it, the author must have had some sort of involvement with foster care.
My Thoughts: This was my favorite read of 2014. It was a book that I think everyone should read at some point. There are, however, a few things I think you should be aware of before reading:
-The author was brutally honest with the foster care situations (which is a good thing). This means that you did get a glimpse of what went on with Sam's parents, particularly her father. She was severely abused (near death) and there was scene in which Sam recalled everything that he did to her.
-Sam had a boyfriend who continually pressured her to spend the night at his place or let him spend the night at her place. She never allowed either, but it was clear what his intentions were.
-Sam had a friend who had grown up in foster care, and when she aged out, began living the same lifestyle that her parents had. Later she gets abused by her boyfriend and ends up in the hospital. The book goes into a little description, but not much.
All of these things I felt were necessary to the story, but they were difficult to read. Altogether, I would say that this was a hard story to read. There was enough humor, though that it balanced it out and I would highly recommend this book to basically anyone!