Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on April 24, 2018
Buy on Amazon
Major Motion Picture Already in Development with Temple Hill Entertainment
Set amidst the breathtaking beauty of Oxford, this sparkling debut novel tells the unforgettable story about a determined young woman eager to make her mark in the world and the handsome man who introduces her to an incredible love that will irrevocably alter her future—perfect for fans of JoJo Moyes and Nicholas Sparks.
American Ella Durran has had the same plan for her life since she was thirteen: Study at Oxford. At 24, she’s finally made it to England on a Rhodes Scholarship when she’s offered an unbelievable position in a rising political star’s presidential campaign. With the promise that she’ll work remotely and return to DC at the end of her Oxford year, she’s free to enjoy her Once in a Lifetime Experience. That is, until a smart-mouthed local who is too quick with his tongue and his car ruins her shirt and her first day.
When Ella discovers that her English literature course will be taught by none other than that same local, Jamie Davenport, she thinks for the first time that Oxford might not be all she’s envisioned. But a late-night drink reveals a connection she wasn’t anticipating finding and what begins as a casual fling soon develops into something much more when Ella learns Jamie has a life-changing secret.
Immediately, Ella is faced with a seemingly impossible decision: turn her back on the man she’s falling in love with to follow her political dreams or be there for him during a trial neither are truly prepared for. As the end of her year in Oxford rapidly approaches, Ella must decide if the dreams she’s always wanted are the same ones she’s now yearning for.
Take two on audio. Unfortunately, still the same result. This one was just not for me, but I gave it a good ol’ college try for Oxford’s sake anyway.
I think part of the problems stems from my expectations being more in line with a rom-com. The first portion certainly frames the work in this manner with a very funny meet-cute and effortless friends with benefits set-up. Later, when the plot turns MEGA serious – like Nicholas Sparks and John Green has a melodramatic love child of a book level serious – I wasn’t emotionally prepared enough to take the leap.
I’m not quite sure how, but even though I didn’t dig the plot and the characterization and development was severely lacking, the writing was still somehow good? Especially given that this is Julia Whelan’s debut. As always, her narration was brilliant (and on a personal level, how freaking cool she finally got to narrate her own book).
I know this will be a great tearjerker of a movie that I will surely watch. And ditto for Whelan’s next book – I’m still totally down to give it a go. I wish this book had been more successful for me, but there is a lot of promise to look forward to in future releases.