Reading

Dear Mr. Knightley

Some people don’t like to let the day end with an argument running.

I don’t like to let the day end with a book unfinished.

I’d started Dear Mr. Knightley yesterday afternoon with middling hopes for it and it met my expectations.

The book has many things going for it that I like–strong Jane Austen ties, a heroine trying to find herself, writers, Chicago and an epistolary format. I enjoyed watching the heroine, Sam, develop relationships with friends, another kid in the foster care system, learn how to be a better writer and find a new family. I liked watching her bounce around Chicago with Alex, her overly perfect male friend who you can tell wants to be something more. There were several fun moments in the book, including a moment when Sam wins a literary quote-off.

Unfortunately, it also contained a protagonist who is flawed in a non-charming manner, a golly gee perfect male lead, an obviously smarmy Wickham-type, a mystery that is obvious halfway through the book and no real tension. Many of the issues that crop up for Sam seem especially unbelievable because I expect her to be more street smart than she is. I can accept that she’s emotionally delayed due to her past, but I have a hard time believing that she’s not developed more common sense and street smarts.

Furthermore, it’s Christian Romance, a category I noticed about three seconds after clicking the Buy Now button. If you want an inexplicably chaste heroine who can’t tell that a guy is dating her in the hopes of getting laid, hasn’t been kissed until 23 and suddenly starts praying and thinking about God when her adopted family starts praying, you’ll be thrilled. If you’re looking for overt Christian themes, you’ll be disappointed. If you’re a godless heathen, you’ll be annoyed.

I wouldn’t hit the book out of someone’s hands if I saw them pick it up at the bookstore, but this review is probably the last I’ll think about it because…eh.

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