Katherine Reay

Katherine Reay  has enjoyed a life-long affair with the works of Jane Austen and her contemporaries, probably fed by the few years her family lived in London and Ireland.

After working for several years in marketing and moving several places, Katherine and her family now live in Chicago, IL, where she runs, writes, cooks and tries to clean the house. You can also find Katherine at www.katherinereay.com and lurking somewhere within the pages of her novels, Dear Mr. Knightley and Lizzy & Jane.

Reay awards
Christy Award 2013 Finalist

Romantic times 4.5 Stars Top Pick!

Library Journal Starred Review


Sometimes the courage to face your greatest fears comes only when you've run out of ways to escape.

At the end of a long night, Elizabeth leans against the industrial oven and takes in her kingdom. Once vibrant and flawless, evenings in the kitchen now feel chaotic and exhausting. She's lost her culinary magic, and business is slowing down. When worried investors enlist the talents of a tech-savvy celebrity chef to salvage the restaurant, Elizabeth feels the ground shift beneath her feet. Not only has she lost her touch; she's losing her dream. And her means of escape.

When her mother died, Elizabeth fled home and the overwhelming sense of pain and loss. But fifteen years later, with no other escapes available, she now returns. Brimming with desperation and dread, Elizabeth finds herself in the unlikeliest of places, by her sister’s side in Seattle as Jane undergoes chemotherapy.

As her new life takes the form of care, cookery, and classic literature, Elizabeth is forced to reimagine her future and reevaluate her past. But can a New York City chef with a painful history settle down with the family she once abandoned . . . and make peace with the sister who once abandoned her?

dear mr knightley cover

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.

New York Times Best-selling author, Eloisa James: 

“Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley  kept me up until 2 a.m.; I simply couldn’t put it down. The novel is a hybrid: written like epistolary literary fiction yet solidly romantic and veering into the coming-of-age territory that is now labeled New Adult. The heroine, Sam, is fascinating. She is an orphan who finds it hard not to speak in literary quotations (think Dickens and Austen), a habit that isolated her from her peers. An anonymous benefactor pays for her to go to the prestigious Medill School of Journalism, in return for which she has to write regular letters to “Mr. Knightley.” Sam is brilliant, but she promptly starts failing every class — it turns out that journalism requires knowledge of the self. It requires honesty. Not to mention the fact that a mishmash of eighteenth-century literary quotes does not make for a riveting article on homelessness. If you’ve read Jean Webster’s charming epistolary novel, Daddy Longlegs, you’ll know where this is going. Webster wrote her book in 1919; Dear Mr. Knightley is a brilliant update. I absolutely loved the story of a rigidly bookish young woman who comes to know herself — not to mention the real Mr. Knightley.”

Romantic Times 4.5 Stars Top Pick for Lizzy & Jane

"Reay’s second Jane Austen-inspired tale is a layered and nuanced story of faith and hope, enriched by complex but relatable characters. Recommended for lovers of character-driven women’s fiction." ~Library Journal Starred Review for Dear Mr. Knighley

“Katherine Reay is an up-and-coming powerhouse of an author with a deft hand for crafting empathetic characters and telling their stories. I can hardly wait for her next novel.” ~Serena Chase, USA Today

~ ~ non-JAFF by Katherine Reay ~ ~