My expectations were quite high for My Oxford Year. Along with a synopsis that seemed to be written just for me, many of my fellow readers were spouting off their love for this book. Add all of that to the fact that it was supposed to be perfect for fans of Sparks and Moyes and is being made into a major motion picture, and my curiosity was definitely piqued. I was eager to immerse myself in all things Oxonian, and I am pleased to say that my expectations were met.
I was completely swept away with the author’s writing. From the excerpts at the beginning of every chapter, the beautiful, vivid descriptions, to the perfect cast of characters, I felt as though I was right there at Oxford witnessing every single detail firsthand. As I was reading, it was clear to see how this was going to make a great movie. I could visualize every scene, every interaction between the characters, as well as the lovely, historic, picturesque setting.
Ella was living her dream. As a Rhodes scholar, she was finally going to get to study at Oxford University – her Once-in-a-Lifetime Experience. But while one door opened, another was ushering her in at the same time. She was asked to help advise in a presidential hopeful’s campaign back in the United States. Agreeing to make herself available by phone and e-mail for this political opportunity, she was off to England to study literature at Oxford.
Ella’s early time at Oxford was a bit bumbling and awkward, but that only endeared me to her all the more. Between getting acquainted with her new environment and her fellow classmates, she also got a rather rude introduction to one of her literature professors, although she didn’t know who he was at the time. I loved the interactions between Ella and Jamie. Their banter and sparring added an extra spark to their obvious attraction. While this scenario generally shouts out inappropriate and forbidden, there was nothing illicit about their relationship. The student/teacher relationship at Oxford was at the discretion of the two consenting adults. This allowed the reader to simply witness their relationship unfold authentically into something that neither one of them had ever anticipated.
I was thoroughly entertained and in my reading zone with this novel. As the pages flew by, I had my inklings and suspicions over what I thought was going to happen in the story. I was just sitting back, completely enjoying my time with these fabulous characters, but I had the rug pulled out from under me. The story took a turn from where I believed that it was heading, and it was an emotional upheaval at its finest. I’m always thrilled when, after reading so many books, an author can still surprise me – even though my heart took a bit of a beating in the process.
My Oxford Year was the complete package. It was beautifully written, witty, quirky, romantic, and made my heart beat a bit faster. It’s one of those special books that makes you so happy that you read it. As soon as I finished the final page, I was tempted to read it all over again.