Major Motion Picture Already in Development with Temple Hill Entertainment
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’ve only felt love like this once in my life, and I can’t bear to think of it right now.”
Wow!! I cannot believe this is Julia Whelan’s debut novel. Smart, funny, sexy and very engaging, ‘My Oxford Year’ transported me to England and I can’t stop thinking about Ella and Jamie!
I can tell from the first page of a book whether it will be a favorite of mine. This story has that “it” quality that engaged me from the very first page. I could not get enough of this story! From the fabulous description of Oxford to the exploration of the customs of the university, to the exploration of the British class system, this book has it all!
But at its heart it is a lovely and honest and modern romance. Ella arrives at Oxford as a Rhodes scholar, one of the few Americans at her college. After a “meet-cute” with Jamie Davenport, as luck would have it, he is the teaching assistant for one of her classes. Of course they like each other immediately, but Jamie’s playboy reputation precedes him and he makes it clear to Ella that he will never want a lasting relationship. Which is fine for her, too, because she has a fantastic job waiting for her when she returns to America at the end of the school year.
“And then let’s say, just for argument’s sake, a decade later you meet this guy and he’s unlike any guy you’ve ever met before, except for one thing: he doesn’t want to be in a relationship. Which is just peaches ’cause neither do you. For you two, relationships are like decaf coffee: What, exactly, is the point? So you ease into it.
Sometimes you catch him looking at you and the floor of your stomach drops out like a carnival ride. It’s not lust; lust you could understand. It’s appreciation. It comes with a nearly imperceptible smile when he looks at you and he thinks you can’t see him. It’s the appreciation that separates him from all the other boys you’ve been with. It’s the appreciation that makes him a man. And, in turn, you appreciate the hell out of him. For all of it.”
Aaaah Jamie. He’s brilliant, humble, wealthy, and scholarly. Ella is smitten. But still determined to leave Oxford come June, which she has made very clear to Jamie. The joy of this very funny and intelligent story is that neither one of them, for all their planning, could ever see what life had in store for them.
“You never thought you were a sexual being. You could always take it or leave it. You realize now that this isn’t true. You don’t want to blame the other men you’ve been with, but suffice to say, what you did with them shouldn’t even be called sex. It’s like hanging a Monet next to some doodle from kindergarten that didn’t even earn a spot on the refrigerator. Is it all art? Maybe. But you’ll take the Monet.”
This is absolutely one of my favorite books so far this year. Julia Whelan has an eye for detail that is a joy to read! And the supporting cast of characters are all richly drawn and very real. This is a beautiful, poignant story that should be on everyone’s must-read list! AND it’s been optioned to be made into a movie with none other Sam Heughan attached to the project. The ending and the Epilogue were PERFECT and I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
“Stay, Jamie. If you can, if you want to, please choose another time. Choose to stay. Choose to stay with me. Stay with me and I’ll stay with you.”
“And if you’re not surprised by life, then what’s the bloody point?”
(With thanks to the publisher for a review copy.)