My Oxford Year
Set 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, Contemporary, Fiction, Womens Fiction, Chick Lit, Adult, Contemporary Romance

My Oxford Year Review

  • Christy
    January 1, 1970
    5+ stars!!! “The hardest thing is love, with no expiration date, no qualifiers, no safety net. Love that demands acceptance of all things I cannot change. Love that doesn't follow a plan.” My Oxford Year by Julie Whelan is a real gem of a book! It took me by surprise in the best way! I’ve listened to many audio books narrated by Ms. Whelan (she is an amazing narrator) and I’m happy to report that her writing is amazing as well. I listened to this in audio, it was narrated by her of course, an 5+ stars!!! “The hardest thing is love, with no expiration date, no qualifiers, no safety net. Love that demands acceptance of all things I cannot change. Love that doesn't follow a plan.” My Oxford Year by Julie Whelan is a real gem of a book! It took me by surprise in the best way! I’ve listened to many audio books narrated by Ms. Whelan (she is an amazing narrator) and I’m happy to report that her writing is amazing as well. I listened to this in audio, it was narrated by her of course, and if you haven’t read yet, I have to recommend you experience this book via audio. It was made to be listened to over being read, in my opinion. Ella Durran is a 24 year old American who is out of the country for the first time. She is a Rhodes Scholar who is studying in Oxford. On top of that, she has just been offered a job to work on a potential presidential candidate's campaign. Her future is promising and the world is her oyster. Her first day in England, Ella meets Jamie. Their meeting left me with a huge grin on my face. Jamie Davenport isn’t a professor, but he’s helping out by teaching a literature class. And it’s a class Ella happens to be in. These two have such a connection, they can’t seem to stay away from each other. They decide just for the time that Ella is in England, they will be together. No strings. Then, as things always seem to do, the feelings between them start to change. The problem with this is that things are even more complicated than what they seem… "And if you’re not surprised by life, then what’s the bloody point?” 
Ella and Jamie. Gah! I adored them both. Jamie is charming, sweet, and swoony, and Ella is witty, intelligent, and sharp. I loved them both, and even more, I loved them together. Along with the two main characters, there were a slew of wonderful secondary characters that made the story that much more interesting. When I saw in the blurb that this book was recommended for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks, I knew it was a book I had to read. It’s a smart book that’s full of humor, charm, and of course- feels. You’ll be happy to know I didn’t cry like a baby while reading this, I may have shed a few tears, but overall, I found this uplifting and heartwarming. It was a touching story, and one that will stay with me. I give this book a full 5 stars and recommend to all lovers of romance and coming of age stories. And remember- listen to the audio if you get the chance! It’s fantastic!
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  • Astrid - The Bookish Sweet Tooth
    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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  • Rachel Reads Ravenously
    January 1, 1970
    3 stars This is a book that’s been getting a lot of great buzz, a lot of my book friends really loved it and I’ve been hearing good things all around. I was a fan of Julia on the show Once and Again and I had the pleasure of meeting Julia at another author event for a book she narrated and she’s absolutely lovely. All those things combined, I was very eager to read this book and really wanted to love this book and I had high hopes. And while I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it and I think this was a 3 stars This is a book that’s been getting a lot of great buzz, a lot of my book friends really loved it and I’ve been hearing good things all around. I was a fan of Julia on the show Once and Again and I had the pleasure of meeting Julia at another author event for a book she narrated and she’s absolutely lovely. All those things combined, I was very eager to read this book and really wanted to love this book and I had high hopes. And while I didn’t love it, I enjoyed it and I think this was a really great debut from this author. There were a lot of moments when we as readers were supposed to feel a lot, and I felt a bit like a sociopath in those moments because I didn’t really feel anything and I knew I was meant to. Plus, a lot of the dialogue and some of the vocabulary was way above my head and I felt, well, unintelligent at moments while I was reading this book. I think Julia Whelan is a fantastic writer, I think she delivered a very interesting and engaging story. I also think a lot of readers will love this book and I while I didn’t love it, I will be recommending it quite a lot because I think many of my friends and close ones would really enjoy this story.Fans of Taylor Jenkins Reid, Jojo Moyes and Sally Thorne, this is your next book to pick up! A copy for review was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss Follow me on ♥ Facebook ♥ Blog ♥ Instagram ♥ Twitter ♥
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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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  • Heather 'Bookables'
    January 1, 1970
    3.75
  • Jenna
    January 1, 1970
    It’s not that there was anything...egregiously wrong with this, it’s just that it wasn’t what I was looking for. I grossly overshot in my quest for a *slightly*-lighter beach read. Who gives a [email protected]&k about an Oxford Comma?* - Well, I do! I’m a fairly... let’s say serious person, and I thought this book would be a beach read for People Like Me. Alas, no: it is Mr. Nicholas Sparks Goes to Oxford. It is A Walk (in Oxford) to Remember. I feel like the cover of the book, the reputation of the autho It’s not that there was anything...egregiously wrong with this, it’s just that it wasn’t what I was looking for. I grossly overshot in my quest for a *slightly*-lighter beach read. Who gives a [email protected]&k about an Oxford Comma?* - Well, I do! I’m a fairly... let’s say serious person, and I thought this book would be a beach read for People Like Me. Alas, no: it is Mr. Nicholas Sparks Goes to Oxford. It is A Walk (in Oxford) to Remember. I feel like the cover of the book, the reputation of the author, and the whole Oxford setting all initially masked the formulaic romance novel core of this book. And truthfully, some of the plot, dialogue, and characterizations around the whole political subplot were truly egregiously awful. In general, a lot of stereotyped characters and hard to swallow plot twists. If I weren’t on a beach vacation, I may well have written a harsher review. But, as it is......Some people claim, that there’s a “Best Beach Reads” booklist to blame,But I know,It’s my own damn fault!***this is a Vampire Weekend song **this is a Jimmy Buffett song - duh!You should probably know both of these songs.
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  • Melanie A.
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 STARS I've just lived years of my life in those eyes. Soooooo . . .Unpopular opinion ahead. . .Here's the premise: "You're the hypercompetitive American, a Rhodes scholar no less, who sees Oxford as a series of hurdles to clear like levels in some video game, and I? I'm the hypocritical poetry scholar, espousing grand theories of love whilst shagging a different wench every night." Sounds so good, right? Unfortunately, despite being well-written, despite being polished until it gleame 3.5 STARS I've just lived years of my life in those eyes. Soooooo . . .Unpopular opinion ahead. . .Here's the premise: "You're the hypercompetitive American, a Rhodes scholar no less, who sees Oxford as a series of hurdles to clear like levels in some video game, and I? I'm the hypocritical poetry scholar, espousing grand theories of love whilst shagging a different wench every night." Sounds so good, right? Unfortunately, despite being well-written, despite being polished until it gleamed, despite all the devastatingly clever dialogue . . . My Oxford Year consisted of one RAGING romance novel cliché stacked upon another, upon another, upon another. Don't believe me? Think my heart is made of stone? Consider the following . . . (warning: serious spoilers inside) (view spoiler)[===> the meet/cute: the hero knocks a plate of food into the heroine===> MC's are 'damaged' and reluctant to love in general===> MC's are friends with benefits who vow never to fall in love, but do===> they have epiphanies while reciting poetry back and forth===> the heroine wants to 'fix' everything===> themes: finding oneself, love conquers all, following your dreams===> there's a 'Cinderella' ball===> the hero has an incurable illness===> and then there's the writing itself: And I finally realize what it is about his eyes. They're the color of this swimming hole I used to spend summers at as a kid, at the end of a trail, at the base of a waterfall. The color was so magical I was convinced if I could hold my breath long enough, swim deep enough, pump my legs hard enough, I'd discover the bottom wasn't a bottom at all, but a portal to another world. It was all just too much! (hide spoiler)]I will admit that everything improved in the second half when the whole point of the story was revealed, but by then it was too late for me to do anything except bump the rating from a 2 to a 3.5.As always, take my criticism with a grain of salt. Just because I have a major sarcastic streak that makes me roll my eyes, doesn't mean that you won't find this book charming like everyone else on the planet. :-)
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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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  • Maddison
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.I had really high hopes for "My Oxford Year," but upon finishing it, I really can't bear to give it more than a single star. Where do I even begin?So much of this story is unbelievable, and not in a good way. I wasn't convinced that the main character was (A) a Rhodes scholar, (B) 24-going-on-25 years old, and (C) being recruited by an American presidential candidate's team based on a single article she wrote for The Atlantic. So much of her back I received this book through a Goodreads Giveaway.I had really high hopes for "My Oxford Year," but upon finishing it, I really can't bear to give it more than a single star. Where do I even begin?So much of this story is unbelievable, and not in a good way. I wasn't convinced that the main character was (A) a Rhodes scholar, (B) 24-going-on-25 years old, and (C) being recruited by an American presidential candidate's team based on a single article she wrote for The Atlantic. So much of her backstory was so utterly ridiculous that I found myself rolling my eyes within the first few pages.Likewise, the main character, Ella Durran, is - simply put - annoying. At the beginning, the author attempts to paint Ella as an overachiever (Rhodes scholar, fulfilling her childhood dream of studying at Oxford, interested and involved in the American political system, etc.) but later in the book, there is little to no mention of her academic life at all. I was not aware, based on the title, cover design, and book blurb, that this story was going to be so focused on a love story instead of an overall study-abroad experience. To my disappointment, the characters and plot quickly descended into cliche fairly early on.While the author clearly attempted humor in places, it came across as cheesy and over-written. The first impression I got of both author and main character was a thinly-veiled self-obsession which, I'm sorry to say, carried throughout the entire work. It's difficult to read prose and characters who are so clearly full of themselves.Also, just as a quick note... the names of the characters, and the not-so-subtle Austen references, were entirely too much. "Ella" (Elizabeth) falls for the charming and wealthy intellectual "Davenport" (Darcy) but, in this case, with little of Austen's charm and none of her characters' literary grace. Give me a break.So many of the characters were problematic. Whelan's inclusion of the side-characters seemed more like a strategy to check representational boxes instead of writing authentic, relatable, deep characters. Ella's friends were utter caricatures: Tom, the half-Indian and aloof Brit; Cecilia, the "English Rose," as the narrator identifies her; Maggie, the shy but edgy girl who sports wild-colored hair and dresses; and Charlie, the Wilde-esque gay friend who seems like a dull carbon-copy of anything remotely resembling Oscar Wilde. Not to mention Ian, a drunken friend who shows up once and never again, as well as Connor, a well-meaning American student who is somehow completely fine with romantic rejection after taking an ungrateful and distracted Ella to London for Thanksgiving. So much of this book is unrealistic - the characters are dry and empty with little depth.Closure, too, was a problem for Whelan. She builds up the relationship between Ella and her mother (mostly by including bits and pieces of Ella ignoring her mother's phone calls or rudely responding to her mother's emails with one-word answers) but never draws this relationship - and its struggles - out. Like Connor, Ella's mother fades into the background without any explanation, which is strange considering (view spoiler)[ Ella's decision to remain in England well after her intended date of departure. (hide spoiler)] This points to poor-planning on the part of the author.Also, (view spoiler)[the romance versus cancer trope is used heavily in the second half of this book. Whelan's portrayal is in the vein of Nicholas Sparks and John Green, so it's nothing new and seems fairly predictable. (hide spoiler)] That may be an unpopular opinion, but it's an oft repeated theme that does little to nothing for the depth of the story. It's been done before, many times. It was far from impressive in this work.The fact that this book is potentially going to be made into a movie absolutely blows my mind. I really hope that decision will be reconsidered.I honestly could go on and on, but I won't. The only reason this book got one star was for effort - and even then, that single star feels generous.
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  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quotes:His voice is so melodious, so low and soothing, it should be accompanied by choral music. Everyone else looks very British about it, like this is where fun comes to die.“Given the lovely turn of your figure, it’s quite gratifying you’re not one of those dreadful American girls who subsist entirely on lawn clippings and glacier water,” Charlie says. My mouth is too full of scone to reply. He has this ability to go still, as if he’s stopped breathing. Like a vampire. Which makes me Favorite Quotes:His voice is so melodious, so low and soothing, it should be accompanied by choral music. Everyone else looks very British about it, like this is where fun comes to die.“Given the lovely turn of your figure, it’s quite gratifying you’re not one of those dreadful American girls who subsist entirely on lawn clippings and glacier water,” Charlie says. My mouth is too full of scone to reply. He has this ability to go still, as if he’s stopped breathing. Like a vampire. Which makes me realize I’m not breathing. She also holds a fan. Like, an actual fan. Like it’s Gone With The Wind and she’s about to tap someone flirtatiously on the shoulder with it. She drips money like a leaky faucet.My Review:I adored this delightfully crisp and eloquent book; it pleased me and did so in a cleverly amusing and intellectually stimulating manner. I greatly enjoyed the thoughtful and well-chosen quotes and poems that started each chapter, which provided just a little taste of what was to come. Julia Whelan is a master wordsmith with graceful and elegant wordplay. My Oxford Year was written from the first person POV of Ella, an endearing and wholly relatable character that I instantly connected with. I quickly fell into Ella’s vortex and enjoyed hitchhiking in her head and was loath to leave her and her new friends behind. The storylines were unique, relevant, and expertly crafted. Ms. Whelan’s writing was nimble, flawless, lushly detailed, and a felt like a long awaited gift. I will most likely be stalking her listings as long as I have functioning brain cells.
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  • Antoinette
    January 1, 1970
    Why did I choose this book to read- simple: location, location, location. I have been to Oxford a few times now and I love the city and all that it represents-higher learning and history. What I like best about this book was revisiting the streets and places that I knew and had been to.The bad news- I really did not care for anything else in this book. The main character, Ella, totally annoyed me. She was just too immature for words, but supposedly she was advising the next presidential candidat Why did I choose this book to read- simple: location, location, location. I have been to Oxford a few times now and I love the city and all that it represents-higher learning and history. What I like best about this book was revisiting the streets and places that I knew and had been to.The bad news- I really did not care for anything else in this book. The main character, Ella, totally annoyed me. She was just too immature for words, but supposedly she was advising the next presidential candidate in the States. (Btw, she was 24 yrs old). I found that many of her actions and words weren't even remotely plausible. There is a love story in this book but it seemed a poor imitation to another past best selling book. ( which I loved, but cannot name as would be a major spoiler!)I do enjoy reading a lighter book now and then, but I still expect some depth to it.This one was a definite miss for me!
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  • Kindling Micky
    January 1, 1970
    I give my reasons below in the spoilers as to why this book made me angry (not the topic) and I by no means intend to invalidate anyone else’s experience reading this book, this is just my experience.(view spoiler)[ I am an academic in palliative and end of life care, my doctoral studies are in the same. This is underpinned by 20 years of having the privilege of walking the journey towards death with patients in my care, hundreds of patients. I have also navigated a very personal journey with my I give my reasons below in the spoilers as to why this book made me angry (not the topic) and I by no means intend to invalidate anyone else’s experience reading this book, this is just my experience.(view spoiler)[ I am an academic in palliative and end of life care, my doctoral studies are in the same. This is underpinned by 20 years of having the privilege of walking the journey towards death with patients in my care, hundreds of patients. I have also navigated a very personal journey with my father towards his death, the emotions, the decision-making, the end. I can tell you that what I’ve just read was a diluted hallmark movie of a book. It was poorly researched, unrealistic at many, many junctures and rather chaotic in where the story went. I know this is fiction and giving it such licence it still made my heckles stand on end from 30% onwards. In fact, it made me angry. I needed much better research in the foundation.You might think that no fiction could meet my high bar for this context, but it can. I refer you to Me Before You, an emotive, fictionalised but real and well researched story about a European experience of living with a life changing injury and the autonomy of being able to choose assisted dying. I lecture on this subject and it was very well done, kudos JoJo Moyes. I will say that I think Julia Whelan has writing talent in some elements but not story or character development in this instance.I didn’t know what this book was about, I don’t read blurbs but I guess there’s not much to give the content away in there. How awesome are my book friends for not giving the storyline away and I’m sorry for how my review will disappoint you. (hide spoiler)]
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  • Sharon ∞❥ is an emotional book junkie ❥∞
    January 1, 1970
    3.5-4 ★'s “I came to Oxford for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience. I chose to experience a lifetime.”Obviously, the title gives you an idea of what the story is about and when Ella meets Jamie, you know he is a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, after that things get muddled. Ella is a poli sci and history grad taking a school year at Oxford studying English literature 1830-1914. 'Nuff said? Yes, it's all that and more. The author writes above most people's heads...she definitely wrote above my p 3.5-4 ★'s “I came to Oxford for a Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience. I chose to experience a lifetime.”Obviously, the title gives you an idea of what the story is about and when Ella meets Jamie, you know he is a foregone conclusion. Unfortunately, after that things get muddled. Ella is a poli sci and history grad taking a school year at Oxford studying English literature 1830-1914. 'Nuff said? Yes, it's all that and more. The author writes above most people's heads...she definitely wrote above my pay grade. This is just another time I am sooo thankful for my kindle dictionary! Jamie starts out as a bit of a bad boy but then he kind of falls to the wayside. He has no voice in the story and it’s blatantly obvious and seriously missed. Don’t get me wrong you will adore him, how could you not? You will also adore Jamie’s parents especially his Beautiful Mum although it might take you a while to warm up to his hot headed Dad. There are also four interesting secondary characters that are great to know but a little bit distracting. Even more distracting is Ella’s political job that’s going on in the background and only surfaces at the most inopportune moments.The story writes like a screenplay and when you read her "Behind the Book Essay" regarding the story a lot of the things finally make sense. The book was written from a screenplay. IMO, books usually have a lot more depth to them than screenplays or movies and that’s where I felt this book was lacking. When I look back at events that happened, I can see how things were set up that way but unfortunately it didn't lose that screenplay-esque. And I really hated it not having a proper epilogue. Don't get me wrong, there is an epilogue and it's sweet and I don't think I will ever get that waterfall scene out of my head but the story felt incomplete. I just really hate wondering and I felt after everything we had been through, we deserved a little something more.
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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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  • 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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  • Jamie-leigh Haughn
    January 1, 1970
    Oh. My heart!! This book took me through every emotion I posses. I initially thought it was a light contemporary book, easy summer reading. Then... half way through the book we get a serious plot twist that I wasn't expecting and from that moment on it took me on a roller coaster of feelings! The characters are well developed and perfectly imperfect, I loved Ella as a main character and Jamie just gave me all of the best love interest vibes. I felt so connected to each of their lives, which isn' Oh. My heart!! This book took me through every emotion I posses. I initially thought it was a light contemporary book, easy summer reading. Then... half way through the book we get a serious plot twist that I wasn't expecting and from that moment on it took me on a roller coaster of feelings! The characters are well developed and perfectly imperfect, I loved Ella as a main character and Jamie just gave me all of the best love interest vibes. I felt so connected to each of their lives, which isn't always an easy thing to do. Characters make or break a story for me and in this case they definitely made it. I wasn't super invested in many of the side characters and felt they were more of a filler than a benefit to the story, with the exception of Jamie's parents who I loved (Mainly his mother). If you enjoyed books like Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson, then I believe you will enjoy this book! Just be prepared for the feels!! I highly recommend this book!!
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  • Brooke — brooklynnnnereads
    January 1, 1970
    Heads up people: if you look at this cover and think it will be a fun, light, chick flick read....you’re wrong. Prior to reading this novel, that was my exact impression from judging by the cover (do not do that). This book. Oh, this book. I seriously do not think this book will get the credit or acknowledgment or praise that it deserves solely because of how lighthearted it looks from the outside. This story is way more than ‘lighthearted’ and surpassed all my expectations.This novel was equisi Heads up people: if you look at this cover and think it will be a fun, light, chick flick read....you’re wrong. Prior to reading this novel, that was my exact impression from judging by the cover (do not do that). This book. Oh, this book. I seriously do not think this book will get the credit or acknowledgment or praise that it deserves solely because of how lighthearted it looks from the outside. This story is way more than ‘lighthearted’ and surpassed all my expectations.This novel was equisitely written. There were many moments while reading that I had to stop and reread a passage because it was so beautifully written. It was an emotional and relatable read that had me thinking on difficult topics. It definitely was a novel that I would say had me thinking existentially and when a novel gets to me at that level, it’s the ultimate achievement of any story.This novel will last in my mind for a long time and I know I will be back to reread. It was such a beautiful novel and I know I will be looking for more by this author in the future.
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | TwitchBuddy Read with Paloma ❤
  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    *6 stars*Still gobsmacked, need to process before writing a coherent review.
  • Jillian Reynolds (Jillian Loves Books)
    January 1, 1970
    Soooo.....I don't know. I'm speechless, because this isn't what I thought it was going to be. This wasn't entirely what I signed up for. So I somehow have to weed through the fact that I was looking for a certain type of story, but I actually got something else entirely....Give me like, a solid day to reconcile my combative feelings here, and I'll return for an actual review.
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  • Sheyla ✎
    January 1, 1970
    "Love. That’s my choice. " If you read the blurb, then you know this is going to be a tear jerker at some point. How you might say? Jojo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks names are mentioned in it. That's enough, don't you think?Yet, I must have missed it since I wasn't prepared. What I can say about My Oxford Year without spoiling it for you? I will tell you that I loved it. Yes, at some point I was crying. It was inevitable. But, at the end of the day, I was pleasantly surprised by it.My Oxford Yea "Love. That’s my choice. " If you read the blurb, then you know this is going to be a tear jerker at some point. How you might say? Jojo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks names are mentioned in it. That's enough, don't you think?Yet, I must have missed it since I wasn't prepared. What I can say about My Oxford Year without spoiling it for you? I will tell you that I loved it. Yes, at some point I was crying. It was inevitable. But, at the end of the day, I was pleasantly surprised by it.My Oxford Year has a great cast of characters, a budding romance and a BIG unknown. A perfect trifecta for this romance reader. As the novel begins, we meet our heroine Ella Durran who has recently arrived at Oxford. She's doing one year abroad studying English Lit. Just when she gets there, she receives a phone call, the next possible candidate to the presidency needs her help but Ella doesn't want to let go of her dream of Oxford. She offers to help from overseas instead. She knows that come June 11th, she'll be back in the States and hopefully as part of this candidate's new team. On the same day, still jetlagged, she meets Jamie Davenport, a "posh brat" who makes a terrible impression on her despite being incredibly attractive. Not soon after, she learns he will be her professor for the term. In the beginning, Ella is not sure what to do about it but once again, she wants to do the Oxford thing, just like she promised herself when she was a teenager. Jamie Davenport has a reputation with the ladies. From the gossip Ella can gather, he doesn't do long-term relationships. But, Ella is not worried, is not like she likes him, right? And even if she finds him attractive, she won't let her heart dictate her future. She lost once and that was more than enough. Life has a funny way of messing with people's lives. In spite of both, Ella and Jamie who start with not wanting anything serious will learn that love has no boundaries and can't be contained. As I said earlier, the characters in this novel were fascinating. Ella and Jamie were both smart, funny and honest. Their philosophical discussions, as well as their love for poetry, help them become closer to each other. They got one another and I was so happy for them until the twist hurt my heart. "I chose to experience a lifetime." As for the secondary characters, Ella's friends were all so cool. I wanted to be friends with them myself. They were a good support system for Ella. They took her under their wing not too long after arriving at Oxford and showed her the ropes.One last thing. My Oxford Year is going to be a movie which is great news. I won't have to wait long to see Sam as Jamie. Cliffhanger: No 5/5 FangsA complimentary copy was provided by William Morrow in exchange for an honest review.MrsLeif's Two Fangs About It | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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  • 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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  • Evelyn
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to goodreads and the author. I won an ARC of My Oxford Year!It's taken me a few days to mull over the book. I knew the author from the many (many) audio books Julia has narrated. And I have to say she is one of my top favorites. I will listen to the books she's narrating based on her alone. So with that being said, I have to say I was really disappointed with this book. It took me a really long time to read this book. I just had no motivation to want to read it. Clearly, it took almost Thank you to goodreads and the author. I won an ARC of My Oxford Year!It's taken me a few days to mull over the book. I knew the author from the many (many) audio books Julia has narrated. And I have to say she is one of my top favorites. I will listen to the books she's narrating based on her alone. So with that being said, I have to say I was really disappointed with this book. It took me a really long time to read this book. I just had no motivation to want to read it. Clearly, it took almost a month to read.In the back of the book it states that this book was based on the original screen play of Allison Burnett. OK, so this isn't your original idea? And they wanted someone who went to Oxford to rewrite the story, basically. Yea Julia for going to Oxford! Also it says the book is 352 pages and my book was only 329 pages with acknowledgements. Am I missing part of the story?Phew, now that the technical is out of the way let's talk about the book, shall we?It was all over the place. First, its about a girl who has dreamed since she was a teenager she wanted to go to Oxford. (That's a good goal) Then we find out she is heavy into politics and she is only here in Oxford (On a Rhodes scholarship) to fulfill this dream of going but in one year she is going back to get on the campaign trail in the US.There was tiny bits here and there to check off a list of oh I gotta talk about Oxford. I wasn't a fan of the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. The rest of the book was typical cliches of we gotta have the gay friend, the nice friend, the party friend, etc..and she dumps them for this guy who states, I don't want a relationship I just want to sleep with you. She goes back to her friends when she gets the I need space let's take a break. Ladies, are we done with guys like that? Ain't nobody got time for that. If you feed the bad behavior you'll only get bad boys. Are you with me? It was during the break from the F-buddy we explore the way of life during her year there. Different foods, drinks, customs...etc.Throughout the book she takes phone calls to help a campaign back home? That was just weird. It didn't jive with rest of the book. Where is this book going? Are we studying at Oxford and this about her year there or is Oxford just a backdrop to this campaign job? But wait, it gets even more confusing! She dumps friends/political job/school all to take care of this sick boyfriend dying of cancer. (OK, she didn't dump them in the river but they became the back burner and now it's about nothing above and a sad cancer book) At this point I had to get a dry erase board out and start drawing out what was happening.Big picture, this was the American version of Me Before You and it didn't work. You're telling me a girl who is that educated and has a focus/goal, is going to throw it all away over a "dying rich" dude? We all know, if this man didn't have the money her ass would be like well I gotta go study now. Even though, it's pointed out she wants to pay for her own stuff (eye roll).I think this review is making about as much sense as this book. It's all over the place and we are all barely hanging on till the end.The author wrote a great speech about motivating to follow your campaign dreams and don't give up! Yea girl power! But the protagonist herself did the opposite, wtf?Can someone write a female protagonist who knows what she wants and is not going to lose herself over a guy. You know the girlfriend we all have who starts dating someone and can't return a text until they breakup. Clearly, I didn't go to Oxford. And a publisher is not dying to put my words out to the world. I really wanted to like this book. It's me not wanting to read about a girl who gives it all up over a boy.
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  • Liza Wiemer
    January 1, 1970
    I went into this novel knowing that it would have a Jojo Moyes Me Before You feel, so I was ready to fall in love and have my heartbreak. I loved it! I loved this story. Julia took me along and I totally got into the Oxford experience from classes to walking the streets to eating fish and chips to drinking beer. I fell in love with Ella and Jamie. What a couple! Loved them from that first moment they came on the page together. I loved watching their relationship develop, and even though they tri I went into this novel knowing that it would have a Jojo Moyes Me Before You feel, so I was ready to fall in love and have my heartbreak. I loved it! I loved this story. Julia took me along and I totally got into the Oxford experience from classes to walking the streets to eating fish and chips to drinking beer. I fell in love with Ella and Jamie. What a couple! Loved them from that first moment they came on the page together. I loved watching their relationship develop, and even though they tried to hold back, love trumps all!For me, this was a novel about living life to its fullest, embracing the gifts you've been given, and cherishing whatever time a person has on this earth.I'm a romantic, and this hit all the cylinders for me! Highly recommend for those who love to have their heartstrings pulled!PS. Julia Whelan is one of my absolute favorite audiobook narrators. I hope she narrates her own book, because I will listen to it! Also, I am under the impression that it will be a movie. I sure hope so!
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  • Sandra Cortez
    January 1, 1970
    “He can be the boy I journeyed to the end with” swoon, I loved this one hard. *** a little forewarning *** for my fellow Americans the verbiage is very English so don’t read this on a brain fog day. Haha. Did you know valise means suitcase. But seriously it’s so good! I was not fully vested until 100 pages in but then finally, I felt. Felt so much. I’m not a crier with books but these words touched my heart. And I will cherish Ella and Jamie Davenport and the lessons they taught me. I also can’t “He can be the boy I journeyed to the end with” swoon, I loved this one hard. *** a little forewarning *** for my fellow Americans the verbiage is very English so don’t read this on a brain fog day. Haha. Did you know valise means suitcase. But seriously it’s so good! I was not fully vested until 100 pages in but then finally, I felt. Felt so much. I’m not a crier with books but these words touched my heart. And I will cherish Ella and Jamie Davenport and the lessons they taught me. I also can’t wait for more from Julia Whalen. Highly recommend.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    Lots of feelings, some good and some not so good. Review to come in the morning.
  • ✨ Kaira ✨
    January 1, 1970
    Plot - 4Writing style - 5Characters - 5Romance - 5In which a 24-year-old American went to England to study in Oxford in where she met a man made her blood boil who turns out to be her professor. WARNING: SPOILERY REVIEW PLOT - at the first half of the book, I am absolutely bored to the point I thought about not finishing it. However, as soon as the twist pops out, I cannot stop myself from reading and crying. God, I've never cried like this ever since I've read "A Man Called Ove"When I read the Plot - 4Writing style - 5Characters - 5Romance - 5In which a 24-year-old American went to England to study in Oxford in where she met a man made her blood boil who turns out to be her professor. WARNING: SPOILERY REVIEW PLOT - at the first half of the book, I am absolutely bored to the point I thought about not finishing it. However, as soon as the twist pops out, I cannot stop myself from reading and crying. God, I've never cried like this ever since I've read "A Man Called Ove"When I read the synopsis of My Oxford Year, I though this is just a typical romance and truth be told, my impression remained at the first of the novel. But, boy, did it surprised me that this ain't no college romance. This is about falling in love with someone who is dying and asking yourself if you're ready to take the risk? I mean, woah, I came here for a sweet romance and to giggle not to sob but man, do I still ended up really, really enjoying the book. Obviously, the plot somehow reminds me of Me Before You but if you ask me, this one is absolutely better. The ending failed to answer most of my questions. There are still what ifs. But it's for us, readers to decided what will truly happen to them in the future, right? Writing style - frankly speaking, I was bored with her writing style in the very beginning. Tend to be really descriptive. It has a similarity with that author who wrote "Since You've Been Gone". Sorry, not good with names. But like I said, my opinion about this book completely went upside down the moment the male lead was said to suffer cancer. Suddenly, I savour every word. The author has this ability to control the readers'emotion quickly. First, I was laughing then, I was annoyed, and the next thing I know, I'm sobbing. Despite my issues in the beginning, the novel is still fast-paced. Read it in one sitting. Will I reread it? Absolutely especially before the movie comes out. Characters - the characters didn't really strike me much at the beginning, thinking they're nothing but typical ya characters but halfway through the book, I began to fall in love with them. To connect with them. To laugh and cry with them. To understand their pain. Elle - a girl who gave up her dreams and her life in America to be with the dying man she loves. She's a very, very strong character. Giving up is not in her vocabulary. Jamie - at first, I cannot help myself from getting a bit annoyed with him because he is such a flirt. And I grew tired of boys like him, too many of him in ya novels. But as I read and read, I realized he isn't so bad at all. A man whose afraid of commitment but is afraid of losing the girl he loves. A man who was never been afraid of death before realizing he found The One. The parents - their roles are well-played. Every scene, as long as they're in it, I automatically cry. Their love for their dying son is just so obvious. Imagine losing your two sons in cancer and having no control of it despite how loaded you are. Romance - now, the type of romance this book has isn't the one where you'll go blushing and giggling in the dark. It's the type of romance that makes you believe in love. That no matter what fucking happens, if you love someone, do anything to be with him even if it means sacrificing the thing that's been keeping you strong all these years. That for whatever sickness that may come, you'll always be with him. Why? Because you fucking love him. l
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  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    The moment I heard that this book was going to be made into a movie starring Sam Heughan, I HAD to read it. The story itself sounded right up my alley as well. A romance in Oxford between an American and her new professor? Yes, please! Ella Duran has always dreamed of studying at Oxford. When her dream finally comes true, she can't believe she gets to spend a year studying literature. What she doesn't expect is to get the opportunity to work for a political campaign and make the changes in Ameri The moment I heard that this book was going to be made into a movie starring Sam Heughan, I HAD to read it. The story itself sounded right up my alley as well. A romance in Oxford between an American and her new professor? Yes, please! Ella Duran has always dreamed of studying at Oxford. When her dream finally comes true, she can't believe she gets to spend a year studying literature. What she doesn't expect is to get the opportunity to work for a political campaign and make the changes in America that she's worked so hard for. When she meets her infuriatingly gorgeous professor who happens to be the man who spilled all over her shirt the night before, she doesn't know how she'll survive the course. But one nights leads to a heartbreaking relationship that changes Ella's life forever. Going into this one, I had the expectations of a book that was like Me Before You, a book I absolutely LOVE. Knowing that, though, kind of spoiled my enjoyment of the novel. I was just waiting for the bomb to drop and the clues to that bomb just seemed a little too obvious. And while I absolutely loved the main character of Me Before You, Ella was not really all that likable to me. I just could not connect with her and was so confused when Jamie and her first got together. She was so drunk that she had no recollection of the night and the night was never explained. But it seemed like she knew what happened? I had to reread the section and still have no idea how their relationship even sparked into what it was. With the romance, it was hard for me to connect with that as well. Their relationship happened way too fast and it was the cliche "no real feelings" relationship that obviously was going to blossom into love. The pacing was just a little off to me. Ella was getting her master's at Oxford, but aside from the very beginning, we barely saw her going to class and she only referenced "working on her thesis" but never actually went into detail. Seeing as this book is supposed to be about a girl studying in Oxford, she didn't do any real studying...That being said, though, I definitely think this will translate really well into a movie. As a book, it wasn't really for me, but I am excited for when it hits the big screen!
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  • Catherine McKenzie
    January 1, 1970
    Well, any book that makes me cry (on an airplane!) deserves 5 stars! What a great debut from audio book narrator Julia Whelan. An American in Oxford meets an interesting group of Oxonians and a dreamy Scott named Jamie. But all is not as it seems in this romantic comedy--there's great literature, a keen eye for detail and some thoughtful introspection. Can't wait to read what she writes next.
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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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