Sep 10, 2018

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan


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

My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan, April 24, 2018, William Morrow
Genre: contemporary fiction, romance

First chapter, first paragraph:

"Next!"
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?"
"Yes?"
"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....

My thoughts:
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. 


Do you like the writing in the first chaper? Would you continue reading?

19 comments:

Beth F said...

I have this book on my radar --not sure if or when I'll get to it. The opening was only so-so for me.

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

This sounds as if it might be worth trying. Thanks for sharing.

Harvee said...

If you like a mix of the academic and the romantic, you will like this.

Harvee said...

I preferred the first half, the academic atmosphere at Oxford.

Sassy Brit @ Alternative-Read.com said...

It does sound interesting, there are just so many places this story can go! Here is my Tuesday post. Have a lovely day!

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

Great reading minds think alike--I literally laid eyes on this book yesterday when I spied it in the bookcase in the back bedroom. My immediate thought was, "I must read that soon." So thanks for featuring it.

Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I think I would like the peek into the Oxford life...the romance, not so much. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

Margot said...

I like the writing in the first paragraph. I'd keep reading.

Vicki said...

Not sure this is for me but I bought a copy of Love Story (and Oliver's Story) while back and plan on reading it soon.

Girl Who Reads said...

I'm curious why a former White House staffer is calling. Susan shares a book from the Great American Read list at Girl Who Reads

Harvee said...

If you like Love Story, you will like this book too.

Harvee said...

They offer her a job later on and she must decide on the US vs the UK.

Harvee said...

You might like it!

Harvee said...

The Oxford experience seems unique.

Harvee said...

I got the book from the library. Great you have it on your bookshelves!

Harvee said...

It's very British, Sassy Brit!

Katherine P said...

I've been curious about this one and with the comparison to Me Before You and Love Story I'm especially curious! I need to read this one.

Harvee said...


That was a hard hitting romance!

Tea said...

I would love to read about her days at Oxford. I've always wanted to know more about that big, big school across the pond.

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