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 love it when a book completely blindsides me. My Oxford Year was such a pleasant surprise!
Okay, let’s talk about the surprises first. First things first, I’d expected this book to be about a forbidden romance between a professor and a student. It wasn’t. There were characters who gave the first impressions of being stereotyped. There was a girl who I thought would be villainous and cause problems for the main couple. I couldn’t be more wrong. That mystery surrounding Jamie turned out to be something entirely opposite to what I envisioned. I was expecting a easy-breezy read but the depth of the writing took me aback.
I was completely taken by Jamie and Ella. I could feel their chemistry as if it was something tangible. I savored their conversations about poetry and literature. These two seemed to be made for each other. I loved Ella. She’s emotionally stunted in the way that she refuses to be in love. Her ambition for contributing to a change for her country was beautiful. I love it when a female character knows what she wants and is not afraid to pursue it. Jamie was the quintessential Brit gentleman. I was charmed by him within a few pages, even though he was a bit of jerk to Ella the first time they met. But I wanted to see more of how his mind works. I’d have loved to read his point of view.
Another complaint I have is with the classic ‘Fade to Black’ mechanisms. Now, I prefer my reads not to have too many intense sex scenes but I also don’t want to see the obvious attraction and the flirting and then bam! flash to the morning after. Would it hurt to let us see a little more of what leads to that? Also, the ending? It could not completely satisfy me. I know that it was the realistic ending but my poor heart needed a better closure.
This book was to a huge extent more about Ella’s journey to self-discovery than the romance. And I loved both the journey and the romance. Five stars because of what this book made me feel.