Book Review: My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan


Title: My Oxford Year

Author: Julia Whelan

Published: April 2018

Rating: ★★

Summary: When Ella secures a Rhodes Scholarship to study literature at Oxford, she is on the cusp of getting her dream job for an up-and-coming political candidate’s campaign. She is looking forward to having a beautiful year studying beautiful literature and then heading back home to work full-time on the campaign. Living in England for this finite period of time leaves very little room for attachment, which is what she thinks she is doing until she finds strings attaching herself to a professor.

Thoughts: I picked up this book because Julia Whelan is a very prolific audiobook narrator, narrating some of the biggest books. I thought it would be promising for an author to have that experience of reading so many other author’s works before writing her own book. I also found the synopsis appealing, I love a book following an American to a European setting (see: The Royal We and Anna and the French Kiss). Unfortunately, I found this book to be quite average and a little unfocused. If you were to read the first bit of this book then flip toward the end and read, you would think you are looking at two different books. There wasn’t a graceful transition from contemporary romance to the direction it goes in later, which I won’t disclose so I don’t spoil for those who plan to read this book. I didn’t really understand why the political career was added to this story at all. It’s very easy to imagine the story without its existence and it not lose any of the key plot points. It seemed to me like Julia maybe just has a political interest and wanted to inject it into this story for some reason. Maybe she thought it made Ella seem more credible or something? I don’t know, it seemed half-baked to me. I hope Julia takes another crack at a novel, but perhaps with a different editor? I wouldn’t completely write her off because I think there were moments of greatness in this otherwise mediocre story.

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