Disclaimer! I got this from NetGalley in return for a fair and honest review.
Samantha Moore has spent most of her life in foster care. Having tried to hold down a job on her own, she reluctantly accepts a scholarship offered by an anonymous benefactor, to Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. The scholarship will only be available as long as she completes her degree, and writes about her progress to the foundation, care of the CEO, who hides behind the name Mr. Knightley. Samantha has always had trouble relating to people in the real world, hiding away in classical literature, where she finds solace. She has trouble making connections with others, since she speaks more in literary quotations than actual words, afraid to really be herself or let anyone close to the real her.
Because George Knightley is such an admired hero of Sam’s, she accepts the stipulation, and begins to write regularly. Mr. Knightley never responds, but Sam knows her missives are beign read, as very occasionally, she receives a note from the CEO’s assistant, responding if it is required. To begin with, Sam finds journalism extremely difficult, wanting instead to focus on a career in creative writing. Because of her difficulties in opening up and properly communicating with other people, her journalistic work is stilted and impersonal. As well as in her many books, Sam finds escape through running. On the running track, she slowly starts bonding with Kyle, one of the other foster kids, but as they are both wounded and slow to trust others, their friendship is difficult to really build.
As she struggles to discover who she really is and overcome her academic challenges, Sam gradually manages to emerge from behind her affected literary personas and make genuine connections. She makes a couple of female friends at college and through a series of coincidences befriends her favourite author, the crime writer Alex Powell. She gets a boyfriend for the first time, and her letters to Mr. Knightley become more like a personal journal than reports on her academic progress. Will she ever find out the real identity of her mysterious benefactor, and how will she react when she does?
I get a fair amount of books through NetGalley, mainly because I can’t stop myself from requesting everything that looks even vaguely interesting to me. Sadly, I am really not as good about reviewing the books I am granted ARCs or review copies of, frequently forgetting about them unless they’re by an author I especially love (and even then there are so many other shiny books out there to distract me). This is one of those books I forgot about completely and only remembered again when I was looking for epistolary novels for my Eclectic Reader challenge. The fact that it also fit into my key word challenge for March was just a bonus. More here.