I will try to keep this from being a spoiler, but…I absolutely adore the book Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay. The title caught my eye when I was perusing a recommended reading post by Money Saving Mom. Of course, who wouldn’t love a book with this title? Every time I read “Dear Mr. Knightley” I remember the scene in Emma where Jeremy Northam portrays a smitten George Knightley, begging Gwyneth Paltrow (Emma) to marry him. “Marry me, my wonderful, darling friend!”
But I digress. The book…
Very few works of fiction have touched me as deeply as Dear Mr. Knightley. Aside from the fact that I enjoy a heroine who quotes Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte, the characters are exceptionally well-developed. As the book progresses you see Samantha for who she truly is – vulnerable, afraid and learning to live courageously. The last few chapters, in particular, were deep, as she comes to terms with her past and realizes how much her self-protection has damaged her relationships.
“Self-protection keeps you from love, Mr. Knightley—all love. I am so sad at how I’ve kept them at distance . . . anyone and everyone who has ever stood by me. I played God in our relationships. I determined their value and their worth by how much I let them in, by how much I let them determine my worth. I’m not God. And I don’t need to work so hard anymore . . .”
Reading Dear Mr. Knightley challenged me in a way I did not expect. How often in life do I “play God” in relationships – keeping people at a distance because it feels safe? I have always found it easier to be there for someone but often have never given them the opportunity to be present for me.
Self-protection. Choosing forgiveness. Embracing love. Not allowing fear to paralyze. So many beautiful themes throughout this book. Let me know if you read it too!