I have recently joined up with the Tommy Nelson publishing company to review new books. This is a win-win for me. I love to read, I don't like to spend money. Bam! Free books! Yes!
The first book I chose to read is the novel Surprised by Oxford by Carolyn Weber. This is the memoir of Ms. Weber's journey to Christianity. I believe that it is her first novel, however, she is a professor of romantics literature and has had much exposure to great writing. This comes across in her work.
I love the pictures she paints of Oxford! When I was a freshman in college, I had the opportunity to study for a semester at Oxford, but couldn't quite make it work. I've always wondered what that would have been like. Her description of the different colleges and the surrounding area are so beautifully described. I was able to "feel" like I was there experiencing the dank basements, the cold, wet air, and the glorious English country side. That was truly a treat to read!
I am always interested in hearing people's stories, so I am no stranger to a memoir. I actually have read two memoirs this month! This story was especially interesting to me as it was about her conversion to Christianity in the realm of academia. It comes across as a genuine story, and is interwoven with how she met her husband.
Overall I really liked this book. There were areas that fell flat for me, but I would recommend it as a good read. I think the most tedious thing about the writing is the redundancy of examples. When making a point Ms. Weber pulls from several sources (quotes) to drive the point home. It is heavy with references to CS Lewis and U2. Heavy. I grew tired of that after a while, but it wasn't a big enough factor to make me want to put the book down.
So in a nutshell, I would recommend this book. Had I not received the book for free, I probably would not have purchased it for myself, however, it definitely would be worth checking out from the library.