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.
I had NO IDEA what was waiting for me in that book!
I knew that with Julia Whelan narrating the experience would be at least pleasant but it was so much more! It was perfection!
And I am in awe of Julia Whelan’s talent!
Not only is she a brilliant narrator and an actress but she has now made it to my favorite authors list!
I had barely finished My Oxford Year that I pre ordered her soon to be released book! That should tell you something.
My Oxford Year is a “cry a river” kind of book written with an impeccable style and filled with memorable characters.
I loved that the setting of the story was Oxford as I had just visited Oxford and the Bodleian library a few days before!
Julia describing the bikes, the tourists, the old colleges, the fish and ships… brought back all these fresh memories.
When Ella “from Ohio” arrives in Oxford, we already grasp that she has a difficult relationship with her mother. Soon, we’ll learn that Ella lost her father, her hero, when she was 12 and it was a big trauma she never totally recovered from.
Her first day in Oxford, she’ll also be hired to run from afar the campaign of who could be the future president of the USA and she has been nearly ran over then soaked in sauce by a “posh prat”.
Said posh prat she’ll soon discover is Jamie Davenport, her English professor and well known heartbreaker.
Jamie Davenport is what I would call a delectable hero.
Sophisticated, brilliant and very sensual at the same time. His lips reciting Tennison felt decadent and I was falling hard for him, just wanting to meet his every desire like Ella did. He can be cutting one moment and tender the other one, strong and then achingly vulnerable, reserved one second and open the next. Charming, unpredictable, embracing life with all his will, I know I won’t forget Jamie Davenport any time soon.
Rarely have I met a pair standing on such equal footing. Usually in romantic relationships, we guess that one is the leader, the other one too happy to follow. There is one protector and one protected. Not here.
Ella and Jamie are made of the same fabric.
Even if Ella is not descending from a long line of Scottish nobles, she holds her ground with her sharp intellect, formidable determination and witty banter.
She felt equally sophisticated in her own way.
Never to back down from a challenge, ardent feminist, she could make the most arrogant man quiver under her fierce gaze and politician mind.
Ella and Jamie are highly intelligent heroes and not because Julia Whelan told us so but because she showed us! And this is the big strength of Julia’s writing. Through their poetry duels, political debates, through their analysis of literature, she convinced us of their brilliance. There is never a “tell” in that story but always a “show” to sweep us off our feet and plunge head first into that universe.
Her and Jamie’s relationship was intense, blinding like a supernova.
They both agreed: it was sex only. Just for the duration of her stay in Oxford.
But you know what they say about the best intentions…
They will be put to the test.
I won’t reveal much more but just know that this story is heavy with loss. My heart has literally been wrenched from my chest while reading. Ella and Jamie’s strength was admirable. And even if I know this is fiction, they felt so real that I couldn’t breathe while listening to some part of the story.
Because: “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.”
Ella’s journey will be one of self-discovery. She will recalibrate her priorities, get to the core of what’s essential in her life. This reading had me look into my own life and get very introspective. This is a magnificent story that will stay with me for a long time.
One of my top reads these last years.
Thanks for reading!