75 Books in 2015: March, Part IV

knightleyDear Mr. Knightley: A Novel by Katherine Reay (2013)

Audiobooked this one. And I loved it, really loved it. . . until the last twenty minutes. Somewhere in the middle of the book I laughed to myself, “I bet it will turn out (redacted spoiler). ::chuckle:: Nah, that would be awful.” Of course that is the way it ended. It wasn’t enough to ruin the book for me, but I was disappointed.

From Amazon.com: “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.”

coolCool, Calm & Contentious: Essays by Merrill Markoe (2011)

Eh, this one wasn’t a winner for me. Usually this is exactly the kind of book that I can depend on, but I found myself wanting to skim a lot. A couple of essays stood out for me – the opener about her mother was excellent – but it was mostly forgettable. I ended up just skipping two of the essays written about her dogs. . or well, as a conversation with her dog. Not cute.

From Amazon.com: “In this hilarious collection of personal essays, New York Times bestselling author Merrill Markoe reveals, among other things, the secret formula for comedy: Start out with a difficult mother, develop some classic teenage insecurities, add a few relationships with narcissistic men, toss in an unruly pack of selfish dogs, finish it off with the kind of crystalline perspective that only comes from years of navigating a roiling sea of unpleasant and unappeasable people, and—voilà!—you’re funny!”



  1. Thank you Steph for sharing all the great books and feedback. I am trying to get through my first book of the year. This year lesson plans and grading has taken over all my free time but I am hoping to read some of the books you have blogged about this summer. Have a fabulous day!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: