My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
Updated: Apr 10
★★★★ (Mama Scale)
Ella Durran arrives at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and ends up leaving with so much more than an academic education.
I used to think that romance books were totally devoid of substance. I'm sure this idea stemmed mostly from pure judgement of the genre, but let's be real, there is a definite correlative cause for this stereotype. So, I avoided them like an ex-boyfriend.
And then, I had kids and my time and attention began to wane. No longer was I able to really digest the more dense or heavy books — with complex structure and heart-wrenching topics — without some serious time to devote or a brain that wasn't already swimming with anxiety and concern for everything around me (heellloooo motherhood).
SO... I started reading RomComs. And I haven't. ever. looked. back! Y'all this genre is straight up DELIGHTFUL! And, MY OXFORD YEAR is right up among the best of them.
WHAT I LOVED: This book had so much substance! Ella's journey at Oxford is one of so much growth. She learns how to take herself less seriously, how to find her voice, how to grieve her father, and, ultimately, how to love. Ugh. It sounds so corny but it wasn't!! Julia Whelan did such a tremendous job of allowing Ella to mature on her own, in her own way and the love story that develops between her and Jaime is truly lovely.
WHAT I DIDN'T LOVE: This is typically my biggest complaint with this genre: The 0-60 romance. Sometimes it doesn't feel believable. Love and devotion to another takes time. But, I know a handful of people (in real life) who met and were married within a year, so I guess their 6 month romance is not so unrealistic.
Overall, an absolutely delightful little book.
100% a book to read when you need a little pick-me-up. Also, the audiobook production of this book is super lovely to listen to: ★★★★!
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