I was so busy the whole summer, that I never thought I will get enough time to really binge on books, let alone the summer-y type. Well, fortunately that did happen and in the last couple of weeks I’ve really caught up with the “light” titles of the year.
Well, at least I thought they were! But My Oxford Year left me nostalgic a little bit sad, a little bit happy. It also made me a bit uncomfortable, as every book that shares a certain truth does.
My Oxford Year is the first novel by our favorite audiobook narrator and it takes us to the City Of Dreaming Spires (this served as the title of the Bulgarian edition, which I surprisingly find more accurate both in terms of title and of cover).
This book was definitely and quite literally a surprise. The blurb doesn’t give away the very essence of the plot and I expected something different. In a way I felt blindsided, but now I am happy it turned out that way, because I wouldn’t have picked it up if I knew. And I am happy I did pick it up, because it’s a solid book with a lot of enjoyable moments, witty dialogue, and a message you want to keep to heart.
Having read it so soon after Julia Whelan’s second novel Thank You for Listening I can appreciate the somewhat unexpected depth of her stories. She is a master in building characters and tension, as well as hot male leads. Here, like in TYL, there is a tiny piece of the puzzle missing when it comes to Ella and Jamie’s relationship, a missed opportunity to cement them before all goes to “shite”. But I did love them, I loved how Oxford lives and breathes on the page and I absolutely loved the poems at the beginning of each chapter.
I LOVE it when a book is about literature – not bookstores, or books, or reading, but literature. When the author weaves timeless words into the narrative to evoke larger truths, to amplify their meaning, not borrow it in service of the plot. It’s what I wished many books had actually been (The Bromance Club comes to mind) and where My Oxford Year excels.