My Oxford Year
Major Motion Picture Already in Development with Temple Hill EntertainmentSet amidst the breathtaking beauty of Oxford, this sparkling debut novel tells the unforgettable story about a determined young woman eager to make her mark in the world and the handsome man who introduces her to an incredible love that will irrevocably alter her future—perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks.American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret.Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for.

My Oxford Year Details

TitleMy Oxford Year
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 24th, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780062740656
Rating
GenreRomance, Fiction, Contemporary, Adult, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit

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My Oxford Year Review

  • Astrid - ☆Vanilla & Spice Books☆
    January 1, 1970
    You know how our expectations are sometimes too high? Or, you expect something completely different and get something else and it's even better than what you were anticipating? It's the best feeling when a book does that. My Oxford Year surprised me, it totally blindsided me. Although I read the blurb it kind of slipped that it was compared to JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks. Anyway, let me tell you about this sparkling little gem that is My Oxford Year.When Ella arrives in Oxford, jetlagged and, You know how our expectations are sometimes too high? Or, you expect something completely different and get something else and it's even better than what you were anticipating? It's the best feeling when a book does that. My Oxford Year surprised me, it totally blindsided me. Although I read the blurb it kind of slipped that it was compared to JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks. Anyway, let me tell you about this sparkling little gem that is My Oxford Year.When Ella arrives in Oxford, jetlagged and, you know, a little freaked, the way you are when you are alone in a foreign country, her first encounters with Jamie leave her riled up, annoyed and...a tiny bit intrigued. When she finds out that he will be her professor for the term she doesn't see good things in their future. But a chance run-in on a night out in town is a complete game changer and this is where the fun starts. And if you’re not surprised by life, then what’s the bloody point? Jamie and Ella are both highly intelligent characters. It's not just that the author says so, no, the way they talk to each other, the banter, their long conversations about poetry, Julia Whelan shows us that these are super-smart people. Their weapon of choice is a sharp tongue that can cut deep. Mostly used in humor though, I loved their witty retorts and comebacks so much and it's a testament to the author's own intelligence and wit. I want to be BFFs with Julia Whelan.Jamie has this wonderfully dry humor that so resonates with me. He is kind, brave and endearing with his little quirks and I fell head over heels in love with him. He is the kind of complicated that makes a man charismatic. He is a contradicting mix of calm and storm and his tenderness is heart-achingly sweet.  Jamie is unforgettable and will always hold a special place in my heart. Ella from Ohio is his American equivalent. There was one situation I felt my face getting red from anger because Ella acted cruelly but she came through in a big way so she had my forgiveness in the end.Their connection is made of dislike and explosive chemistry from the get-go but these are equals on the battlefield of words. The combative basis of their relationship morphs soon into respect and affection, then love. The hardest thing is love, with no expiration date, no qualifiers, no safety net. Love that demands acceptance of all the things I cannot change. Love that doesn’t follow a plan. This author describes Oxford in vivid pictures, I could see Ella ride her bike through the streets of this charming town. Her description is a love declaration for Oxford.Ella's journey is one of soul searching and while you watch Jamie and Ella growing into the best people they can be this book forces you to look at your own life. It invites you to do your own soul searching to become a better version of yourself. My Oxford Year will stay with me for a long time, my heart still constricts when I think about it. Julia Whelan intersperses a ton of humor so that the sadder parts don't feel depressing. I really appreciate that - I love my angst but I don't want to be overwhelmed with it. The story ends with a message that we all should take to heart - live today, live and love like there is no tomorrow. Life isn't about goals and targets, it's about the way to them and how you get there. And that your goals can change. I came to Oxford looking for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience. I chose to experience a lifetime. With its intelligent prose and witty banter this book will go on my top-favorites-2018 - shelf. It made me feel, laugh and think and I can't wait to discover what else Ms Whelan has in store for us readers.On a related note: I just read that Sam Heughan and Melissa Benoist have been cast as Jamie and Ella - I'm in heaven. If you want to know more about Julia Whelan and her brand of humor read this "interview".
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  • Christie«SHBBblogger»
    January 1, 1970
    Title: My Oxford YearSeries: StandaloneAuthor: Julia WhelanRelease date: April 24, 2018Cliffhanger: NoHEA(view spoiler)[HFN (hide spoiler)]Sometimes you just get a gut feeling about a book, and that's what happened when I came across My Oxford Year. After seeing the adorable cover and reading the blurb, the entire package was calling to me and screaming READ ME in neon lights. I'm usually hesitant with new/unfamiliar authors, but I instictively took the leap of faith in this case, and it paid o Title: My Oxford YearSeries: StandaloneAuthor: Julia WhelanRelease date: April 24, 2018Cliffhanger: NoHEA(view spoiler)[HFN (hide spoiler)]Sometimes you just get a gut feeling about a book, and that's what happened when I came across My Oxford Year. After seeing the adorable cover and reading the blurb, the entire package was calling to me and screaming READ ME in neon lights. I'm usually hesitant with new/unfamiliar authors, but I instictively took the leap of faith in this case, and it paid off handsomely. I'm not going to lie and say that I wasn't hesitant or cautious because of the blurb's comparison to JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks. I love angst, but I don't want to have my heart ripped out of my chest and splintered into tiny pieces at the end of a book. If there's going to be sadness, I want it to have purpose and meaning, but overall a feeling of thankfulness that I went along for the journey. That's exactly what happened with this story. Ella learns valuable and life altering lessons during her year at Oxford. Not just for the sake of the man she loves, but for her own growth as a woman trying to find her footing in the world. The narrative is sharp, witty, and easily draws you into the story. Julia Whelan's knowledge of Oxford bled through everything, saturating Ella as she joyfully experienced the University and the beautiful city brimming with opportunity. The city seen through her eyes is just as exciting as she had anticipated all her life, but it gifted her so much more than she could've imagined. It was more than a checkmark on her to-do list, it was a place of knowledge and discovering her purpose. Of slowing down, and savoring the moments and people that mattered.Ella has been a planner and an overachiever all of her life. Intelligent, driven, and single-minded in her pursuit of a career and success. Along the way, personal relationships have been a casualty of her focus, but she doesn't pause too long to think about that. If it saves her from messy entanglements that will distract her or eventually bring heartache, all the better. She soon learns that all of her planning and preparations for her year abroad will all amount to naught. Life throws curveballs, and you must learn to adapt and grow, sometimes altering the fabric of your beliefs and ideals during the difficult process.It was on her first day in England when she would meet (and instantly dislike) Jamie Davenport. After a bad first impression that had them exchanging snark and cutting barbs, she would have been happy to never set eyes on him again. Unfortunately, she discovers that the audacious stranger that she crossed paths with is none other than the man stepping in to teach her English lit course. She thinks she can ace the class with her knowledge base and impersonal analyzations, but he helps her examine poetry with the power of her emotions. They have fascinating nuanced philosophical chats, oftentimes inspired by poetry or history. Though their attraction flared quick, it was their friendship that developed and grew solid even quicker. Despite the cultural diversity between them, they feel like they are almost like two sides of the same coin. Understanding and connecting to each other at a fundamental level so effortlessly. The story wouldn't have the same impact if it wasn't for Jamie. His brilliance and insight made him special, but his sense of humor and the purity of his heart will completely win you over. I loved his total unselfishness in trying to shield Ella from hurt, but also the ways in which he showed her how her happiness meant more to him than his own. He was everything. That's why one of the things that affected me the most was his broken relationship with his father, and the hurt that miscommunication has brought on the entire family. They were all living with so much pain, and I felt every bit of the ache as they tried to find a way to bridge the gap. I powered through the charming first half of the book, lulled into a false sense of security. The further I read, the more confidence built that I would make it through to the end without falling apart. My strategy was simple: try to remain slightly emotionally removed, and when the time comes, it would be like ripping off a band-aid. Quick and painless. Well, like Ella, I discovered that not all things will conform to strategy. Suddenly in the last 20% of the book, I was leaking like a broken faucet, and desperation had firmly taken hold. I needed a light to guide me out of the darkness. and I think that the author pulled me through it flawlessly. I left the book feeling at peace, and better for having read it. Ella and Jamie will stay with me for a long time to come. I love believing in something and fighting for it. That’s what I told Antonia and that’s true. It’s what I counseled Janet to do, on a national stage, no less. Believe in something and fight for it. Well. I found my next fight. Love. That’s my choice.FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:
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  • Carole (Carole's Random Life in Books)
    January 1, 1970
    This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.Honestly, this was fantastic! I just really loved everything about this delightful story. I know Julia Whelan from her work as a narrator so I was really curious about this book as soon as I saw it. I decided to give it a try simply because of my curiosity and didn't really know much about the book beyond my guess that it would be about someone spending a year at Oxford (nothing gets past me). This book is really so much more than th This review can also be found at Carole's Random Life in Books.Honestly, this was fantastic! I just really loved everything about this delightful story. I know Julia Whelan from her work as a narrator so I was really curious about this book as soon as I saw it. I decided to give it a try simply because of my curiosity and didn't really know much about the book beyond my guess that it would be about someone spending a year at Oxford (nothing gets past me). This book is really so much more than that and I must say that I had such a good time reading this book.Ella is at the center of this story. Ella is from Ohio and has just made it to England to study at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. To make things even better, she gets a call offering her a position to work on a presidential campaign just as she makes it to England. Things are looking up for Ella. She soon realizes that things are a little different at Oxford than she expects but she is making friends. One of her classes is being taught by the same man she had a run-in with at the fish shop on her first day in town. I do think that this a book that will really be best to go in as blindly as possible so I am going to be careful not to include any spoilers in this reviews.I really liked Ella. She is so driven to do well with everything she attempts but it quickly becomes obvious that she will have to make a few adjustments to succeed at Oxford. She was just such a strong character and I found her very easy to relate to. I really liked her more and more as the book progressed and thought that she grew dramatically as a character. Jamie was also great. He was more of a mystery to me at the start of the book but as I continued reading, I really fell in love with him. He was such a great guy and I thought he compliments Ella very well. This story made me think, it made me feel, and it even made me laugh. This book was such a joy to read. When I started reading, I thought that this was going to be one kind of story and then things changed and by the end of the book I was reading something totally different. I loved the fact that this book went in such an unexpected direction kind of like life tends to do. I would highly recommend this book to others. Julia Whelan has proven that she is not only great narrator but that she is also a wonderful writer. I am so glad that I had the opportunity to read this story and can't wait to read more of her work in the future.I received a digital review copy of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss.Initial ThoughtsI loved this this. Not really sure on the final rating right now. It is either 4 or 5 stars from me but I will need to think about it a bit so I will go with 4 for now. I really didn't know a lot about this book before reading it besides the fact that it would be about someone spending a year at Oxford (nothing gets past me). It was so much more than that. It was a delight in the end. I have loved Julia Whelan's narration in the past and it looks like I enjoy her writing just as much.
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  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
  • Pavlina Read more sleep less blog❤❤
    January 1, 1970
        
  • Kate Olson
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to the publisher for this finished copy for review purposes!Let's start with what I loved, shall we? I LOVED the Oxford setting and everything about the descriptions about Oxford life. I loved the pubs, Ella's friends, all of it. Seriously, that alone gets 5 stars from me!Now, for the hmmmmm. I wasn't blown away by the romance and while it was touching, I felt like I should have been moved MORE??? I'm not sure why and how, but I was left feeling like it was fine, a middling 3. Okay, now f Thanks to the publisher for this finished copy for review purposes!Let's start with what I loved, shall we? I LOVED the Oxford setting and everything about the descriptions about Oxford life. I loved the pubs, Ella's friends, all of it. Seriously, that alone gets 5 stars from me!Now, for the hmmmmm. I wasn't blown away by the romance and while it was touching, I felt like I should have been moved MORE??? I'm not sure why and how, but I was left feeling like it was fine, a middling 3. Okay, now for the part I'm really conflicted on. Everything is saying that this book was optioned for a major motion picture, but in the afterword of the book, the author goes into detail about the ACTUAL process. As in, there was already a screenplay written by someone else, she got hired to add to it because of her own Oxford experiences, and then wrote this book based on that screenplay. So, in that sense, I'm just not sure of the originality of all of it?Bottom line: If you want a light romantic read set in England, grab this one. If you are looking for a similar heartwrencher like ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes, I wouldn't say this compares on that front.
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  • Eliza
    January 1, 1970
    ★5 STARS★For American, Ella Durran, attending Oxford University on the prestige Rhodes Scholarship is the culmination of years of hard work and determination. The idea was born during a tumultuous period in her adolescence so she fully intends to embrace this incredible experience and opportunity of a lifetimeHer visions of her first experiences in Oxford do not include a near miss with a local and his car, but alas that’s exactly what happens. Off to a false start, she hits refresh with the h ★5 STARS★For American, Ella Durran, attending Oxford University on the prestige Rhodes Scholarship is the culmination of years of hard work and determination. The idea was born during a tumultuous period in her adolescence so she fully intends to embrace this incredible experience and opportunity of a lifetimeHer visions of her first experiences in Oxford do not include a near miss with a local and his car, but alas that’s exactly what happens. Off to a false start, she hits refresh with the heady anticipation of her first day of lectures. She soon finds herself choking in the shock when standing in for her lecturer for the next year is none other than the local from the night before. He’s just as handsome and smug as she remembers, and with a reputation to match as she finds out from her newfound friends.As an astute student the criticisms she receives from her piece of writing are hard to swallow, but more so is the way he challenges her thinking and permission she doesn’t give herself to feel. It’s an exchange that affects them both, bringing with it insight that scratches the surface of the many lessons they will teach each other.What begins as a deceptively heart-warming tale and exploration of a new city becomes heartfelt story with depth and unfettered emotion.My Year in Oxford is the wonderful debut from Julia Whelan.The love story stole the show but it has a wonderful supporting cast in the backdrop of Oxford along with the hilarious and lovable cast.
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  • Jaime Arkin
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars.... My Oxford Year wasn’t quite what I was expecting … not in a bad way. I promise that this sentence will make more sense as you read. When I looked at the cover I was expecting a fluffy coming of age romance with a bit of drama. And essentially that’s what it is, but it is also something of an emotional rollercoaster of a read. Obviously the summary kind of gives you some clue as to the drama about to unfold, but apparently I missed the clues going in, so when the “big thing” is reve 3.5 stars.... My Oxford Year wasn’t quite what I was expecting … not in a bad way. I promise that this sentence will make more sense as you read. When I looked at the cover I was expecting a fluffy coming of age romance with a bit of drama. And essentially that’s what it is, but it is also something of an emotional rollercoaster of a read. Obviously the summary kind of gives you some clue as to the drama about to unfold, but apparently I missed the clues going in, so when the “big thing” is revealed I was a little … surprised? I think that’s the best word to use.I’m a fan of Julia Whelan’s narration on my audible titles and when this book hit my radar I was immediately intrigued by the idea that she also writes books so I got a copy in my hands as quick as possible. Plus the idea of this story set in England at Oxford was a bonus! Ella Durran has known since she was 13 that she was going to be at Oxford someday, and receiving a Rhodes Scholar is the way she makes that happen. She will enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity, then she will turn around and go home and become the sweetheart of politics as she’s been planning for years. As she arrives in London, she’s presented with the opportunity to work on a rising star’s political campaign - her solution – she’ll attend Oxford and work the campaign from across the pond and when she goes home in June she’ll have a job waiting for her., but honestly that whole part of the story felt kind of out of place for me. I get it.. it gave her a reason to have to go home when her Rhodes is up, but it just felt like a mash-up of reasons why she ultimately was going to leave instead of a part of the actual story. I liked Ella… I did. There were a few things about her personality that grated on me, but overall she’s a completely relatable character if a little.. bland. I kind of wanted to know her better and I think that is probably the one complaint I have about her specifically, I just wanted to get to know her more, which you would think the story is told from her POV would help with. Some pretty major revelations are touched on throughout, but then quickly relegated to a minor blip in the story and really didn't allow me to get that much-needed information I like in order to 'bond' with a character..I get the why of it throughout the first part of the story … the relationship that she embarks on with Jamie is supposed to be just a ‘friends with benefits’ type of thing – completely surface, so there's little revealed amongst each other, but Ella didn't really share any of her background with her newfound friends either, so how are we meant to get to know her? Plus Jamie and Ella aren’t going to get attached because there is no future, but that really makes it hard to become invested in their lives too, both together and apart. Whelan kind of breezes past 6 weeks of a 'relationship' where they are unwittingly falling for each other, and we don’t get to see or experience any of it other than the few interactions in the early stages and we're just supposed to accept that the bond they have formed is deeper than either intended.I liked Jamie… I did. (this sounds familiar) He totally comes across as this carefree guy who doesn’t have a care in the world when we first meet him and I kind of loved the first interactions he had with Ella. But then these things start happening and I started feeling another way about him… okay I was angry because WHY IS HE LYING ALL THE LIES?? Then I felt guilty when I found out why he was lying and then I was mad at Ella for being mad and it wasn’t pretty because then she did a thing and I was like WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU… I was confused about how I was supposed to feel. Obviously, Jamie has his reasons, but I felt that through the rest of the book he's constantly making decisions based on how it will affect Ella rather than how it will effect him, and if ever there is a time to be selfish, it's when your life is on the line. So that all kind of made me mad, plus there is this huge drama with Jamie's father that really doesn't make sense until a certain part of the story, and I'm sorry to say it, but I'm on his side I think! Honestly, I was kind of emotionally spent when the big “life-changing” secret that Jamie had is revealed and you still have about 1/3 of the book left. So while the first part was lots of light-hearted making friends, having uncomplicated sex, drinking in pubs and just all around fun, the last part of this book really drags you down from that, and it’s such a huge change in tone from the first part that it kind of affected the rest of the read for me.I’m not saying that that is entirely a bad thing, but it was just not what I was expecting when I started and so I was caught off guard by all these feelings I suddenly was having. One of the things I absolutely loved was Whelan’s knowledge of England and Oxford and that showed in all her descriptions. I felt like I was experiencing it for the first time right alongside Ella. I love books set in England, I vicariously live through characters who get to travel internationally so that was a huge bonus in reading this.I also thought the way that Whelan wrapped up the story was wonderfully done. Without giving anything away it was a nice way to end it and leave it up for reader interpretation and imagination to determine what came next for both Ella and Jamie. Fans of Jo Jo Moyes will definitely enjoy this one, and if you don’t mind a little heartbreak and sadness with your Women’s Fiction (and who doesn’t really?) Definitely get this one in your hands and give it a go!
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  • Ginger at GReadsBooks.com
    January 1, 1970
    With a strong opener, I was really into this novel. Then something happened & I’m left feeling a little “meh” about it all. I wish I could put my finger on it, but something overall just didn’t satisfy me the way I was hoping it to. This saddens me because I was really into it for the first half. Guess you can’t love everything you read!
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  • Catherine
    January 1, 1970
    BEAUTIFUL. I have been ruined for all other books, and now I can’t decide if I love The Hating Game more or this one UGH 😭 (Maybe this one JUST A TEENY BIT because OXFORD and ENGLAND, and a wonderful Scottish man AND WOW THE ANGST, and ELLA IS THE BEST). Kay, done. ❤❤❤❤ (x a million)P.S. please let me have an adventure like this one dayP.P.S. This was also a wonderful story of Ella’s growth and her journey in discovering what she really wanted out of life for herself, while also happening to fal BEAUTIFUL. I have been ruined for all other books, and now I can’t decide if I love The Hating Game more or this one UGH 😭 (Maybe this one JUST A TEENY BIT because OXFORD and ENGLAND, and a wonderful Scottish man AND WOW THE ANGST, and ELLA IS THE BEST). Kay, done. ❤️❤️❤️❤️ (x a million)P.S. please let me have an adventure like this one dayP.P.S. This was also a wonderful story of Ella’s growth and her journey in discovering what she really wanted out of life for herself, while also happening to fall in love ⭐️
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  • Angie
    January 1, 1970
    Originally reviewed here @ AngievilleI'll confess this beautiful cover is what initially drew my eye. It's just a book I wanted to have on my shelf aesthetically. But even before I saw the cover, I'd heard of this title. It's as though it's been floating around in the ether for awhile now, what with a major motion picture already being in development. Truthfully, that level of advance hype gave me pause, as did the implied titular time constraint. Something about it fairly screamed, "Unplumbed d Originally reviewed here @ AngievilleI'll confess this beautiful cover is what initially drew my eye. It's just a book I wanted to have on my shelf aesthetically. But even before I saw the cover, I'd heard of this title. It's as though it's been floating around in the ether for awhile now, what with a major motion picture already being in development. Truthfully, that level of advance hype gave me pause, as did the implied titular time constraint. Something about it fairly screamed, "Unplumbed depths of pain lurk beneath this charming cover." I was wary. But some gut instinct kicked in, encouraging me to give this one a chance. I am so very glad I did. The novel is an adaptation of an original screenplay (a fact I found out after turning the final page), and I sat with that for awhile sussing out how I felt about it. In the end, I don't think it really alters my experience with this text. I've formed my own primary relationship with it here. I'm also looking forward to seeing the film and giving that experience its due.Ella Durran is literally standing in the London customs line about to embark on her dream year at Oxford when her phone rings. On the other end of the line is a job offer she can't refuse, working on the presidential campaign for a candidate she genuinely believes in. But Oxford has been the goal for as long as she can remember, so Ella (being the savvy contender that she is) strikes a deal. She'll be available day or night, working remotely from Oxford until the duration of her Rhodes scholarship ends, whereupon she will return to Washington, D.C., her future literally laid out before her. And it seems like the perfect plan. Until the idyll suffers a seismic shift in the form of a seemingly innocuous (if incredibly unpleasant) encounter with an obnoxious man in a chip shop. The momentary blip turns into a long-term nightmare on the first day of classes, when the man from the shop turns out to be none other than Jamie Davenport, Ella's literature lecturer. Not only do they not see eye to eye on the subject of condiments, they seem to differ on everything under the sun, beginning and ending with the literature they both love and just why and how it forms the fabric of life. Before long, they can't seem to leave each other alone in or out of the lecture hall. And it's becoming more and more difficult to remember a time before they sparred in quiet pub corners, to say nothing of that seemingly distant point when it will be time to leave.Some of the larger buildings have huge wooden gates that look as if they were carved in place, a fusion of timeless wood and stone that steals my breath. Maybe those doors lead to some of the thirty-eight individual Oxford colleges? Imagining it, dreaming of it all these years, doesn't do it justice.I look skyward. Punctuating the horizon are the tips of other ancient buildings, high points of stone bordering the city like beacons."The City of Dreaming Spires," I murmur to myself."Indeed it is," Gavin says in my ear. I'd forgotten he was still on the line.That's what they call Oxford. A title well deserved. Because that means, before it was my dream or Seventeen magazine girl's dream, it was someone else's dream as well.It was that last line, right there at the end of the first chapter that sank me. It captured perfectly my feelings the moment I stepped off the coach and started my own wander in Oxford. The layers upon layers of dreams and knowledge and wanting fairly suffused my soul that October day. It came as no surprise, then, that I felt fully involved from that moment on in Ella's time among those hallowed halls and lanes. The lovely bit is that Whelan's writing strikes an appreciable balance between the inherent lightness and untroubled nature of a 24-year-old young woman on her first real adventure in a foreign country and the nuanced depth of that woman's dedication to forging a better world using every carefully honed skill she possesses. The love for literature (most particularly Ella's love for Middlemarch) that forms the foundation of Ella and Jamie's bond also serves to anchor the story. And you likely knew the second I mentioned Middlemarch that this book and I would get on. But predilections aside, I cannot fail to mention a moment in which Ella makes an observation on Dorothea Brooke that rang so true for me, it took my breath away. It is echoed once more at a pivotal moment in the novel to exquisite effect, and it has lingered with me ever since. Fifteen minutes after leaving Sophie in the filthy bathroom, I'm standing at Jamie's door, sopping wet and no longer calm. That vanished when I turned off Banbury Road onto Norham Gardens, my wet clothes chafing with every step, the wind wrapping my hair around my face and throat like clingy fingers. In its place, single-minded, near-homicidal rage.We were better than this, Jamie and I. We weren't much, maybe, but we weren't this. This cliché. This statistic. This sadly predictable inevitability. As Jamie had said in our first tute, "We're the clever ones. We're Oxonians."This is not the way the clever ones end."I'm sorry. About everything, okay? I should have realized you weren't―""No, please. Stop right there. You feel bad, I feel bad, but we will not plague each other with guilt. It's an absurd emotion, reserved for those who we fear might feel less than they ought." He looks in my eyes. "You and I, we carry on. If we stop, it is to only catch our breath. Well, breath caught."It's that way with them. And it's that way with me. I love how direct these two are. I worried so much, as I could feel the weight of the untenable situation they found themselves in starting to close in ever tighter. While reading novels of a somewhat similar bent, I often find myself feeling hounded by the heavy hand of the author as the whole thing crosses over into the kind of emotional manipulation I detest. And while the nature of the conflict flirted with the edges of my tolerance, it never crossed over for me. It's the genuine and subtle exploration of the written word that held me with Ella and Jamie, that held them with each other, when the inevitable darkness comes to call. And call it does. Far earlier than I expected, even going in as prepared as I thought I was. But it is okay. I repeat, it is okay. Because words are the bridge. The accumulated words of the centuries that fold in around us to let us know we're not alone. Bridges of all sorts are important in this lovely novel. Bridges formed by our family, the past, our combined failures, and our dreams. But always by words.
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  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    i don't remember exactly why i requested this one, i've had it for months. i could have sworn it said something about Sliding Doors in the synopsis, but apparently not. Must be thinking of something else. Anyway, then i found out it was going to be a movie, i got super excited. i'll give you one reason why:me too Jamie, me too. And his name is even Jamie in the book (maybe also in the movie? Sometimes they change, that would be a damn shame).I liked the characters, a lot. It's definitely a bit m i don't remember exactly why i requested this one, i've had it for months. i could have sworn it said something about Sliding Doors in the synopsis, but apparently not. Must be thinking of something else. Anyway, then i found out it was going to be a movie, i got super excited. i'll give you one reason why:me too Jamie, me too. And his name is even Jamie in the book (maybe also in the movie? Sometimes they change, that would be a damn shame).I liked the characters, a lot. It's definitely a bit more on the 'chick lit' side of romance, which I am not complaining, just warning about the appearance (or lack there of) of sex scenes if that's your jam. I was kind of stunned when (view spoiler)[ they finally get together, it's a drunken night and the way the reader finds out about it is she wakes up naked and he comes out of the bathroom wearing the clothes from the night before. Alrighty then. That's a bummer because it would have been lovely to feel that first time with them, it didn't have to be explicit, but not even a kiss? Then it's like 'over the next 6 weeks' or whatever, so we don't even get that! We get like an overview of the beginning of a relationship. For that reason, I felt kind of on the outside of their relationship for the whole time, you know? Like I didn't get to fully connect. (hide spoiler)].Anywho. So when the big secret comes out, yes, it is very sad and heartbreaking. I saw the 'for fans of Nicholas Sparks and JoJo Moyes' and did not connect the dots. Yes, people are comparing this to Me Before You. I shall say no more on the subject.I know I'm not English, but I am Australian and I'll admit- at times, her... American-ness in a different country really got on my nerves. Just her thoughts really, not exactly her actions or anything too in your face. Perhaps I am being too sensitive. She gets better as she settles in. I hope they don't go overboard with that in the movie. Also, if you read this with Sam H in mind (I did, yum) there is a particular scene that... woo. Fanning myself. Can't wait for that part of the movie. Have you seen finding neverland? The part where johnny depp pretends to be a pirate and all you can see/hear is captain jack sparrow? It's like that, but outlander-y.Overall, I did quite enjoy this but something was missing to make it that 5 star knock me off my feet sobbing in a corner kind of read, you know? it wasn't bad, not at all, and i think it will make a great movie - and if I remember correctly, it started as a screenplay? Think so. (view spoiler)[ I liked that the ending was left open. Less heart wrenching than Me Before You, but that's okay. I can pretend happy miraculous things.I know you're not supposed to quote an ARC, but I can't help it. I loved these two quotes:Losing someone is hard enough. But death without the process of dying is an abomination. It takes nine months to create life; it feels unnatural, a sin against nature, that the reverse shouldn’t also have its time. Time to let go of the known as we take hold of the unknown.I came to Oxford looking for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience. I chose to experience a lifetime. (hide spoiler)] received ARC from publisher via edelweiss
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  • Ellen at Book Bellas
    January 1, 1970
    "I’ve only felt love like this once in my life, and I can’t bear to think of it right now."Wow!! I cannot believe this is Julia Whelan's debut novel. Smart, funny, sexy and very engaging, 'My Oxford Year' transported me to England and I can't stop thinking about Ella and Jamie! I can tell from the first page of a book whether it will be a favorite of mine. This story has that "it" quality that engaged me from the very first page. I could not get enough of this story! From the fabulous descriptio "I’ve only felt love like this once in my life, and I can’t bear to think of it right now."Wow!! I cannot believe this is Julia Whelan's debut novel. Smart, funny, sexy and very engaging, 'My Oxford Year' transported me to England and I can't stop thinking about Ella and Jamie! I can tell from the first page of a book whether it will be a favorite of mine. This story has that "it" quality that engaged me from the very first page. I could not get enough of this story! From the fabulous description of Oxford to the exploration of the customs of the university, to the exploration of the British class system, this book has it all! But at its heart it is a lovely and honest and modern romance. Ella arrives at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, one of the few Americans at her college. After a "meet-cute" with Jamie Davenport, as luck would have it, he is the teaching assistant for one of her classes. Of course they like each other immediately, but Jamie's playboy reputation precedes him and he makes it clear to Ella that he will never want a lasting relationship. Which is fine for her, too, because she has a fantastic job waiting for her when she returns to America at the end of the school year."And then let’s say, just for argument’s sake, a decade later you meet this guy and he’s unlike any guy you’ve ever met before, except for one thing: he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. Which is just peaches ’cause neither do you. For you two, relationships are like decaf coffee: What, exactly, is the point? So you ease into it.Sometimes you catch him looking at you and the floor of your stomach drops out like a carnival ride. It’s not lust; lust you could understand. It’s appreciation. It comes with a nearly imperceptible smile when he looks at you and he thinks you can’t see him. It’s the appreciation that separates him from all the other boys you’ve been with. It’s the appreciation that makes him a man. And, in turn, you appreciate the hell out of him. For all of it."Aaaah Jamie. He's brilliant, humble, wealthy, and scholarly. Ella is smitten. But still determined to leave Oxford come June, which she has made very clear to Jamie. The joy of this very funny and intelligent story is that neither one of them, for all their planning, could ever see what life had in store for them. "You never thought you were a sexual being. You could always take it or leave it. You realize now that this isn’t true. You don’t want to blame the other men you’ve been with, but suffice to say, what you did with them shouldn’t even be called sex. It’s like hanging a Monet next to some doodle from kindergarten that didn’t even earn a spot on the refrigerator. Is it all art? Maybe. But you’ll take the Monet."This is absolutely one of my favorite books so far this year. Julia Whelan has an eye for detail that is a joy to read! And the supporting cast of characters are all richly drawn and very real. This is a beautiful, poignant story that should be on everyone's must-read list! AND it's been optioned to be made into a movie with none other Sam Heughan attached to the project. The ending and the Epilogue were PERFECT and I cannot recommend this book highly enough. "Stay, Jamie. If you can, if you want to, please choose another time. Choose to stay. Choose to stay with me. Stay with me and I’ll stay with you." Favorite quote: "And if you’re not surprised by life, then what’s the bloody point?"
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  • Jaime Fiction Fangirls Book Review
    January 1, 1970
    When I first came across this book and saw the comparisons to novels by JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks I admit, I was a little nervous to read it. I love ugly cry books but I tend to be hesitant to read them for obvious reasons. However, I just couldn’t seem to pass up the chance to read this one. I am so thankful that I went ahead and agreed to give it a chance use it easily made it on my best of 2018 shelf. First we need to discuss the setting of Oxford and the detailed picture that the author When I first came across this book and saw the comparisons to novels by JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks I admit, I was a little nervous to read it. I love ugly cry books but I tend to be hesitant to read them for obvious reasons. However, I just couldn’t seem to pass up the chance to read this one. I am so thankful that I went ahead and agreed to give it a chance use it easily made it on my best of 2018 shelf. First we need to discuss the setting of Oxford and the detailed picture that the author paints for readers. I fell in love with a place I never really thought much about before. The history, the culture and the quaintness, I couldn’t help but have my interest piqued. I won’t even pretend that I didn’t spend hours googling Oxford when I was finished with this book. Above and beyond the author’s ability to paint such a clear picture of Oxford and the little details that could only come from someone who experienced life there, was the way in which she wrote such complex, yet relatable characters. Intellectuals intimidate me. I envy ambition and brilliance and as a coping mechanism I often dismiss these types as snooty, stuck-up and cold. I won’t even pretend that in the beginning of the story I wasn’t worried that I would write both Ella and Jamie off as exactly these types. I’ll happily admit that I deserve a smack to the head because of course I fell in love with their brilliance and ambition, because they were both so much more than that. Ella from Ohio is one of the strongest, smartest and most selfless heroines I’ve met. Even as she struggled with all of the twists and turns that life was throwing at her during, what was supposed to be, her last hurrah before she settled into her political career back home in the states, she remained surprisingly level-headed, brave and steadfast. Then there is Jamie. Where do I even begin with him? His first appearance in this story left me less than in love with him for sure, but as the story went on and we got to see the varying sides of him, it was impossible not to be infatuated with him. A little bit arrogant but a whole lot sexy and smart, this man knew his Tennyson and was a pure romantic at heart. There is something about a man who doesn’t just speak of putting other people first but who consistently does it, despite the heartache he might be causing himself. It was this true selflessness that made Ella and Jamie’s story even harder to read. There will be tears. Some of them are good tears though! I would be remiss to leave out my love of the secondary characters in this story. While I really enjoyed the spunk and character of Charlie and the quiet reserved, yet colorful Maggie my favorite of all of Ella’s friends was Tom. He was a riot, though frustratingly oblivious, or possibly even just hesitant to proceed with what he knew and/or felt. I couldn’t get enough of him. This story was so much more than I expected but everything I never thought I wanted it to be. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and beautiful, this book is one of my favorites of 2018 and worth every tear I shed. *I received an ARC from Edelweiss for voluntary review
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I was unprepared for this book on just about every level.I was not prepared for how deeply I would fall into Julia Whelan's storytelling. I never anticipated that she would engulf me, whether from the quotes from poems that she used to introduce each chapter or from the characters she created who will stay with me for a long, long time or from the emotional punch this book delivers (more than once).I was not prepared for how real this story felt, even though sometimes parts felt like they couldn I was unprepared for this book on just about every level.I was not prepared for how deeply I would fall into Julia Whelan's storytelling. I never anticipated that she would engulf me, whether from the quotes from poems that she used to introduce each chapter or from the characters she created who will stay with me for a long, long time or from the emotional punch this book delivers (more than once).I was not prepared for how real this story felt, even though sometimes parts felt like they couldn't possibly happen. Ella's drive to be a Rhodes Scholar? Real. Ella's messy run-in with a handsome stranger at a fish and chips stand? Real. The handsome stranger turning out to be one of her professors? Why not?The way Julia Whelan develops Ella's relationships, whether with her friends, with Jamie, and even with herself, is just about perfection. Ella is a protectionist in nearly every way, but as tends to happen with protectionists, she discovers that she can't progress--she can't achieve the way she has programmed herself to achieve--until she stops protecting and begins embracing. Ella has so much to embrace. She has a future she never anticipated, she has friends who appreciate her for who she is rather than who she wants to be, and she has a sharp memory for dates. (I loved how Julia Whelan uses that last one to show you how Ella is not as forward-thinking as she believes she is.)Grab some tissues because this book will gut you at times. Ella will break your heart with her obstinacy and blindness, and you will hold your breath to see what she does when faced with decisions that could alter her path.You know how there are some books you read that are so good that you are almost angry with the next book you read because it just does not come close in beauty or magnetism? That's me with My Oxford Year. I am a Julia Whelan fan for life.
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  • JG
    January 1, 1970
    My Oxford Year was a total surprise for me, it started out as a fun and lighthearted read about a twenty four year old American woman, who after achieving most of her goals in life has now reached the one she's been dreaming of since she was thirteen. Oxford, that bastion of education is finally here for her. But Ella is far from a starry eyed ingenue, in fact she seems to good to be true in terms of achievements and she has a bright future in Washington politics of which is waiting in the wings My Oxford Year was a total surprise for me, it started out as a fun and lighthearted read about a twenty four year old American woman, who after achieving most of her goals in life has now reached the one she's been dreaming of since she was thirteen. Oxford, that bastion of education is finally here for her. But Ella is far from a starry eyed ingenue, in fact she seems to good to be true in terms of achievements and she has a bright future in Washington politics of which is waiting in the wings as soon as she gets Oxford out of her system. But she meets Jamie and well I was expecting romance, I got it that much was a given but what follows afterward is the surprise part. An emotional, life affirming revelation both for Jamie and Ella. The whole book is an ode to Oxford, of course, and of living your life, actually living it. One sentence summarizes it all, " I came to Oxford looking for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience. I chose to experience a lifetime."*ARC provided*
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    Hard to articulate how I feel about this without giving away a major plot twist. I enjoyed the Oxford/literature aspect, but the "romance" -- that decidedly modern idea of sex-before-love -- didn't quite work for me. I hope the proofreaders fix a few things before publication -- bells peel instead of peal, Tolkien is spelled Tolkein, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is referred to as The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar, etc. *Thanks to edelweiss and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for Hard to articulate how I feel about this without giving away a major plot twist. I enjoyed the Oxford/literature aspect, but the "romance" -- that decidedly modern idea of sex-before-love -- didn't quite work for me. I hope the proofreaders fix a few things before publication -- bells peel instead of peal, Tolkien is spelled Tolkein, The Very Hungry Caterpillar is referred to as The Hungry, Hungry Caterpillar, etc. *Thanks to edelweiss and the publisher for providing an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Allison
    January 1, 1970
    My favorite audio narrator releases her debut novel! Warm and engaging and moving too. Bravo, Julia!
  • Gaele
    January 1, 1970
    Political policy writer Ella has it all: an up and coming career with a wonderful reputation, an offer from a rising political star and her year in Oxford courtesy of the Rhodes scholarship where she intends to immerse herself in literature, culture and the lectures of a renown academic. Everything in Oxford is different – the walking, the stairs, the sights and sounds: a neighbor using Wilde’s pseudonym as introduction, a never ending series of calls from the campaign- needing insight, input an Political policy writer Ella has it all: an up and coming career with a wonderful reputation, an offer from a rising political star and her year in Oxford courtesy of the Rhodes scholarship where she intends to immerse herself in literature, culture and the lectures of a renown academic. Everything in Oxford is different – the walking, the stairs, the sights and sounds: a neighbor using Wilde’s pseudonym as introduction, a never ending series of calls from the campaign- needing insight, input and even just touching base – and her mother’s increasingly frantic ‘please check in’ emails have her torn between exploration and hiding. Sure, things are different – and her first lecture is full of gaffes – no syllabus, using Oxfordian rather than Oxonion, the lecturer being a substitute – the same man who nearly ran her down in the street….. I grabbed this title simply because Oxford (or the “Other Place”) has always fascinated me: the age, reputation, the simple ability to be where some of the eternal names of literature spent time. So I expected to enjoy the book simply because of that. And then, Whelan captured my imagination with Ella and all she was seeing: her determination to make the most of her time until she left the following June. With her flirtations with Jamie that soon morphed into more, her new friends – outrageously different and quirky, and balancing her life with school work, campaign demands and time for herself. Highlighting Ella’s growth and understanding of herself and learning that some things are meant to be felt, not simply experienced in remove – a tactic she’s used since her father’s untimely death when she was 12. Jamie pushes her to feel the emotion in the poems – to see that everything that she is reading is of, for or about love – for it is the ultimate toll-taker – a toll that she may not be willing to see the cost of. But when her relationship with Jamie starts to solidify just as he is then asking for a break, the relationship that was no strings and honest starts to be anything but for her – and his secret is revealed. There are choices we make, and other circumstances that are thrust upon us without consent – and it’s the steps made after – scary, unknown and often emotionally costly steps that are in the way to happiness and fulfillment. All steps that Ella, in her new place with her new understanding of herself and her wants, needs and dreams must follow. Not precisely an HEA ending, but one that leaves everyone better off and richer for the experience – the story was a read in one sitting book, remembered for the lesson of love and the emotional impact. Shape your heart to front the hour, but dream not the hour will last. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Idylls of the King I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at I am, Indeed
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  •  Lori (Ficwishes)
    January 1, 1970
    Ella Durran has a plan for her life; attend Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, be a consult for THE candidate to beat in the Presidential race, return to the U.S. as the deputy political director for the leading Presidential nominee. Nowhere on her schedule is there time for emotions, for falling in love, for Jamie Davenport.Jamie Davenport’s Day has been filled with bad news, fights with family and now a loud-mouthed American calling him a ‘posh prat’. It’s really too bad that she is exactly right Ella Durran has a plan for her life; attend Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, be a consult for THE candidate to beat in the Presidential race, return to the U.S. as the deputy political director for the leading Presidential nominee. Nowhere on her schedule is there time for emotions, for falling in love, for Jamie Davenport.Jamie Davenport’s Day has been filled with bad news, fights with family and now a loud-mouthed American calling him a ‘posh prat’. It’s really too bad that she is exactly right.Despite the fact that Jamie Davenport turns out to be Dr. Jamie Davenport, the TA taking over as Ella’s professor, Ella and Jamie have an incredible chemistry. As there are no ‘rules’ about being involved in a relationship with your TA at Oxford and Jamie and Ella begin to spend a lot of time together. Neither one is looking for a commitment and on the surface, it appears to be a perfect arrangement. The story is told with shimmering detail, painting the Oxford landscape with skillful precision. I was instantly transported to the centuries-old buildings having pretentious conversations with scholars. I felt Ella excitement and awe as she prepared for a year of study.Of course with all of this perfection you know there has to be conflict. I won't spoil what happens, but suddenly Ella finds herself making decisions that influence the candidates for the President of the United States. She also finds herself torn between her dream job and a life she never knew she wanted.This book gripped me by the feels in the beginning and held on tightly to the very last page. It was an emotional ride I will gladly take again and again.
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  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Well, I read this all last night, so for sure it was compelling! It is not perfect. The politics aspect of the story didn't work super well. For sure, it's a world in which Trump doesn't exist, but I'm not sure Obama does either. Or Hillary, now that I'm thinking about it. It also wasn't super believable and honestly I forgot a lot of the time that she had to leave at the end of June. It wasn't a very compelling conflict.The romance was very nice, but the "life changing secret" mentioned in the Well, I read this all last night, so for sure it was compelling! It is not perfect. The politics aspect of the story didn't work super well. For sure, it's a world in which Trump doesn't exist, but I'm not sure Obama does either. Or Hillary, now that I'm thinking about it. It also wasn't super believable and honestly I forgot a lot of the time that she had to leave at the end of June. It wasn't a very compelling conflict.The romance was very nice, but the "life changing secret" mentioned in the blurb means (view spoiler)[this isn't exactly a HEA. (hide spoiler)]But yeah, it kept me reading, which not a ton of books have done recently!(Also, the cover says "major motion pictures already in development", but according to the acknowledgements, it was a screenplay first. Which I would not have guessed at all.)
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  • Lynette Burnett
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars. Julia Whelan has narrated some of my favorite books: Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane, The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster, and A Window Opens by Elizabeth Egan. Now she’s written one of my favorite books of 2018! I loved My Oxford Year. Though the story was slow to start, it took off 0 to 60 when it did! I loved all the characters in this story! Charlie, Maggie, Tom, Cecilia, Ella, Jamie, Antonia and William. I laughed; I cried. I truly did not want this book to end. A rich coming of 4.5 Stars. Julia Whelan has narrated some of my favorite books: Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane, The Best of Enemies by Jen Lancaster, and A Window Opens by Elizabeth Egan. Now she’s written one of my favorite books of 2018! I loved My Oxford Year. Though the story was slow to start, it took off 0 to 60 when it did! I loved all the characters in this story! Charlie, Maggie, Tom, Cecilia, Ella, Jamie, Antonia and William. I laughed; I cried. I truly did not want this book to end. A rich coming of age story, a story of love. That’s My Oxford Year. If you’re looking for a tear jerking, heart wrenching, redemption story, this is what you need. You’ll love it! and if this is Ms. Whelan debut novel, I am so looking forward to her next novel, and the next, and the next. I was provided an advanced copy by the publisher for an honest review.
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  • Jeimy
    January 1, 1970
    This one surprised it. I have just finished reading it and it was not at all what I expected. Although I knew from the beginning why a storyline was always in the periphery, once the foreshadowing happened, it was easy to put two and two together... Not that Whelan gave me a lot of time to ponder the possibilities without making her intentions clear.I apologize for the vagueness, but I don’t want to spoil this one for anyone.
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  • Deborah Embury
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, sorry, that's just the sound of my heart shATTERING INTO A MILLION PIECES. THIS BOOK DOESN'T EVEN COME OUT UNTIL APRIL AND I ALREADY NEED A SEQUEL.
  • Cocktails and Books
    January 1, 1970
    Every once in awhile I find a book that blows me away. My Oxford Year was one of those finds. Ella and Jamie could be frustrating, but understanding these complex characters and following them they the ups and downs of their non-relationship made this hard to put down.
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  • Ellen
    January 1, 1970
    There are not enough words to describe how much I loved this book. Smart writing, engaging characters, beautifully detailed setting. I couldn't put it down. There will be tears, but well worth it!
  • Autumn
    January 1, 1970
    Ella Durran knows that a Rhodes Scholarship will be the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only will it get her foot in the door in the highly competitive political circles of Washington DC, it will also fulfill her dreams of attending Oxford.The hallowed halls of the prestigious university are both challenging and thrilling for an ambitious American girl with her entire future mapped out. But Ella never planned on falling in love with her professor.And then let’s say, just for argument’s sake, a de Ella Durran knows that a Rhodes Scholarship will be the opportunity of a lifetime. Not only will it get her foot in the door in the highly competitive political circles of Washington DC, it will also fulfill her dreams of attending Oxford.The hallowed halls of the prestigious university are both challenging and thrilling for an ambitious American girl with her entire future mapped out. But Ella never planned on falling in love with her professor.And then let’s say, just for argument’s sake, a decade later you meet this guy and he’s unlike any guy you’ve ever met before, except for one thing: he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. Which is just peaches ’cause neither do you. For you two, relationships are like decaf coffee: What, exactly, is the point? So you ease into it. Well. Relatively. He’s like early-morning Indian-summer sun on the back of your neck. Despite the chill, you know the day is shaping up to be a scorcher.Jamie Davenport is a bit of a legend on campus. His lectures are filled with poetic passion and it’s no secret that he’s a favourite of the female student population. All they ever see is the rakishly handsome professor who quotes Shakespeare and Tennyson from memory. But what they don’t see is a young man struggling to keep a secret.What starts out as a casual dalliance quickly becomes something so much more. Now Ella has to make an impossible choice. Does she return to the life she so carefully constructed or does she dare to take a chance with the only man who could ever own her soul?I feel like I’m waking up from one of those dreams, the revelatory kind, where you carry with you into waking the sense that all secrets were revealed and all mysteries were solved, and everything feels different . . . but what the hell was it about? You struggle to remember the context, you chase the clues left behind, you hold on to the threads of the revelation hoping they’ll lead you back to the source, and when you finally give up and let it go… it finds you. Maybe my dream of Oxford, the planning, the career building, the Rhodes, everything that went into getting me there was really about: just getting there. Maybe the City of Dreaming Spires—the foundational lifeblood of education in the Western world—wasn’t itself the dream, but the entry point to something I could have never imagined, never seen until now. Love. Family. Connection. A life. And the freedom to decide, on my own terms, what I want to do, what I’m going to do with my calling.Julia Whelan’s debut novel – My Oxford Year– is nothing short of a modern masterpiece! With vivid and yet poignant prose, Julia takes readers on a journey of unexpected strength and undying love.Each of the characters burn with their own brand of wisdom and the locations will seduce even the most dedicated of Anglophiles.So if you only read one book in 2018, it should be this one. You’ll never take life for granted again…
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  • Ania
    January 1, 1970
    Actual rating 3.5 stars.Thank you to Edelweiss for granting me this advanced copy and the chance to read this book before its actual release!I really liked and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I have been in a bit of a reading rut and this provided a nice escape to reality. I thought the writing was very good - smart, the characters engaging and interesting. Their conversations were never inane and there was a cleverness to the dialogue between all characters that I couldn't help but love a Actual rating 3.5 stars.Thank you to Edelweiss for granting me this advanced copy and the chance to read this book before its actual release!I really liked and thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I have been in a bit of a reading rut and this provided a nice escape to reality. I thought the writing was very good - smart, the characters engaging and interesting. Their conversations were never inane and there was a cleverness to the dialogue between all characters that I couldn't help but love and want to keep on reading.Oh and the poetry, I made a note of all the wonderful quoted poems. The conversations and lectures about poetry were some of the best parts of the story.Readers out there comparing this to the The Hating Game and me Before You please stop, it stands on its own and aside from a few similarities here and there, I wouldn't dream of comparing these three, be it the writing, plot or characters.That said, (view spoiler)[ finding out that Jamie is very sick (hide spoiler)] right in the middle of the story stole a bit of the lightness I was so enjoying in the book. I started it thinking it was a nice, quick, witty read and then it went and got a bit dark on me. I still enjoyed it and my only true complaint would be the ending because it felt a bit rushed. Though I understand the author's attempt to leave in the reader's hands to imagine what happened (or didn't) I still would've liked a definitive ending. It was a good debut book and I'll definitely be on the look out for more of Julia Whelan's books and her very smart, compelling writing.
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  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    Finished this last night and had to sit with it for a little bit.This is...good. It's not quite what I expected and I almost quit reading after the first few chapters because I really didn't get the whole get a Rhodes/get told no one cares what you do at Oxford here's a political job/Ella seems really clueless about how Oxford actually operates. But I stuck with it because Ella's neighbor Charlie is a hoot and the chemistry between Ella and Jamie was good. Their relationship becomes really inter Finished this last night and had to sit with it for a little bit.This is...good. It's not quite what I expected and I almost quit reading after the first few chapters because I really didn't get the whole get a Rhodes/get told no one cares what you do at Oxford here's a political job/Ella seems really clueless about how Oxford actually operates. But I stuck with it because Ella's neighbor Charlie is a hoot and the chemistry between Ella and Jamie was good. Their relationship becomes really interesting. Whelan also gets in an extraordinary amount of wonderful literary criticism about love and poetry (particularly Tennyson) and the expectations of women in the political sphere. There is a lot going on in this book.But I will tell you that this is "romantic" in the way that Me Before You and many of Nicholas Sparks's book are "romantic" (although this is far less maudlin, in my opinion). Whelan digs very deeply into the push-and-pull of loving someone with a serious and possibly terminal illness, the adjustments that you have to make, and the changes that you have to accept for the relationship to exist for the time that is given to you. This is a very much "Happy For Now" ending.
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  • Hardcover Hearts
    January 1, 1970
    I am probably biased toward this book because I am an American woman in love with Oxford, so this certainly is in my wheelhouse. The setting couldn't be beaten. I was enchanted by her descriptions of the place and it brought me right back. I liked the characters and the pacing of the book. Some parts of the book felt implausible, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief in an effort to spend more time in her Oxford with her new friendships and relationship. I liked the moment of clarity for her I am probably biased toward this book because I am an American woman in love with Oxford, so this certainly is in my wheelhouse. The setting couldn't be beaten. I was enchanted by her descriptions of the place and it brought me right back. I liked the characters and the pacing of the book. Some parts of the book felt implausible, but I was willing to suspend my disbelief in an effort to spend more time in her Oxford with her new friendships and relationship. I liked the moment of clarity for her, as it made sense and the conclusion felt authentic to the character development. It was a quick read and one that I enjoyed. I wish to thank William Morrow Paperbacks for the Advanced Readers Copy in return for an honest review.
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