Each week, Vicki at I’d Rather Be At The Beach hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros where readers share the beginning paragraph(s) of a book they are reading or plan to read.
My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan, April 24, 2018, William Morrow
Genre: contemporary fiction, romance
First chapter, first paragraph:
The customs agent beckons the person in front of me and I approach the big red line, absently toeing the curling tape, resting my hand on the gleaming pipe railing. No adjustable ropes at Heathrow, apparently; these lines must always be long if they require permanent demarcation.
My phone, which I've been tapping against my leg, rings. I glance at the screen. I don't know the number.
"Hello?" I answer.
"Is this Eleanor Durran?"
"This is Gavin Brookdale."
My first thought is that this is a prank call. Gavin Brookdale just stepped down as White House chief of staff....
I enjoyed the first part of the novel about a new graduate student at Oxford, the atmosphere and culture of the school new to her and different from an American university's. Ella makes a group of new friends, fellow students, and begins to fit into the system. However, here comes attraction, love, and romantic entanglement.
The second part of the novel, a romance in crisis, reminded me a bit of Me Before You by JoJo Moyes and Love Story by Erich Segal, with similar ethical dilemmas involving serious illness and questions of commitment. The ending of this story may be unique in its own way, however.
I liked the banter between Ella and her friends about poetry and was disappointed when the book left Oxford behind and concentrated on a love story that was not half as unique. Overall, a very good read, however, that covers several themes.