Friday, May 4, 2018

Book Review: My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan

My Oxford Year 
by Julia Whelan
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Source: Publisher 
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.

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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