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My Oxford Year


My Oxford Year

Eleanor Durran, who prefers to be called Ella, is an ambitious American grad student, newly arrived at Oxford where she has the distinction of being a Rhodes Scholar. Pretty heady stuff. And, after her Oxford year, she intends to return home and jump full throttle into political consulting. That is the plan anyway.

The setting for MY OXFORD YEAR is ever present --- smoky old pubs and warm, bitter beer; small shops selling fish and chips; book shops smelling of musty, old books; a skyline of ancient stone buildings topped with spires; narrow and winding cobblestone paths; students wearing the classic black gown. This is venerable old Oxford.

"Having attended Oxford herself, [Julia Whelan] capably brings the setting vividly to life for her readers."

Into this classic setting arrives Ella, the overachiever. A near mishap with a luxury sports car driven by a handsome young man introduces the other main character. As luck or fate would have it, the driver, Jamie Davenport, turns out to be Ella’s lecturer in English literature.

While at Oxford, Ella plans to do a little political consulting work for a potential U.S. presidential candidate. This job is only ever mentioned when she receives phone calls that occur at the most inopportune moments.

Ella and Jamie begin a fling, though neither wants a relationship. After all, Ella will be returning home when her Oxford year ends. That is the plan. Jamie is mysteriously noncommittal. He makes excuses and disappears for periods of time, but eventually his secret will be revealed to Ella. She meets his wealthy family, who live in a huge old castle in Scotland. Jamie and his father are estranged, and Ella wants to find out why.

Author Julia Whelan was approached to write this book based on the original screenplay. Having attended Oxford herself, she capably brings the setting vividly to life for her readers. While the plot is fairly predictable and may remind some of ME BEFORE YOU, Whelan’s debut novel is sure to be well received.

Reviewed by Carole Turner on April 27, 2018

My Oxford Year
by Julia Whelan

  • Publication Date: April 24, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062740644
  • ISBN-13: 9780062740649