***WARNING: This blog post is a book-crush gushing of MEGA proportions. Just so you know . . .
I started reading this book at 8:30 PM. (Got it from my library, but will be changing that status ASAP…I want my OWN COPY, to hold in my hands, to caress, to underline, to quote . . .)
Finished it at 1:30 AM. (Just in time to give my hubby a kiss and send him off to deliver happiness in the form of cookies.) I’m a devourer of anything Jane Austen and Austen-inspired, and Dear Mr. Knightley is HANDS DOWN the BEST Jane Austen-Inspired book EVER!! I can’t get it out of my head. I feel like I did when I first discovered and read Pride and Prejudice. I can still see my young self sitting, curled up on the couch, snorting and crying, not wanting the story to ever end.
I so wanted to savor Dear Mr. Knightley, make it last more than 4 hours (I know the YEARS it takes to write a story…and it only took me 4 hours to read), but I couldn’t stop. This book was an emotional ride of heart-grabbing honesty, REALness, tear-duct perpetually filled and refilling–like reading pages from my journey.
I LOVED EVERY minute.
This morning I find myself still “in the book.” So, in the spirit of the book (Samantha writing letters/sharing her heart and thoughts to “Mr. Knightley”) and of Jane Austen herself, I’ve decided to write Ms. Reay a letter. Commence the book-crush gush:
Dear Katherine Reay,
I’m wearing a T-shirt today that says “It’s all Katherine Reary’s fault.” It’s your fault that I’m red-eyed and look like I haven’t slept in days. Your fault that I want to plant myself on my couch with J.A. in one form or another (Sherlock may join the party too). Your fault that I’m super emotional, but full of praise to the God I’m in a relationship with. Your fault that I won’t get any writing done (Well, maybe, I am feeling inspired). Your fault that my three-year-old just ate a bag of popcorn for breakfast…
I’m not sure what your writing journey has been like. But if it’s anything like mine, it’s been filled with years of WAITING, happy dances, supporters and hindrances, WAITING, tears, frustrations, WAITING, screams, thoughts of giving up and becoming a super model (JUST KIDDING, in my case at least), WAITING, and of course, more WAITING.
I just want to tell you IT WAS ALL WORTH IT! Thank you for pressing onward, for persevering through all the “chains”, and for getting Samantha Moore’s story in print. Her journey was my journey. I was in the same “I’m worthless” boat as she was. But like Sam’s journey, mine led me to the “I surrender ALL” and “I’m Worthy and Loved” camp.
Samantha’s story was a huge reminder as to why I write–what I desire my novels to be like. I write because I have trouble speaking/sharing my heart, but I am slowly finding my voice off the page and without ink. I’m an avid Jane Austen fan, and a firm believer and supporter of REAL. I spent most of my life living behind a mask of perfection, a mask of fake. It wasn’t until I found my identity as CHILD OF GOD, that I was able to surrender and take off the mask. Now I’m real (sometimes too much–tend to scare people . . . haven’t had much practice yet with speaking).
Reading Samantha’s story was like reading pages from my journal–my heart has thought and said much the same. (Excuse me while I quote you…)
P. 151: “Through it, I found a new character. Me. She’s bold and fairly feisty, with serious timidity issues at times. Every step she takes forward, she glances back and even retreats. But she’s got courage. I think she’ll make it…I hope to like this new character.”
P. 200: “Changing, being real and becoming who you want to be, is hard work.”
Again, THANK YOU for writing your heart and sharing it with the rest of us. You wrote on page 198 that: “Austen’s descriptions of human nature are spot-on.” I’d have to say that “Katherine Reay’s descriptions of human nature is spot-on.”
With all my heart,