Thursday, March 10, 2016

Surprised by Oxford

Surprised by Oxford
By Carolyn Weber

I am generally a fiction junkie. Biographies and histories put me to sleep. And don’t get me started on the self-help section . . . please—do not buy one of those for me. But every once in a while, I stumble across a piece of non-fiction that stirs my soul. Surprised by Oxford is my latest foray into the world of non-fiction.

Take an economically challenged girl from Iowa, a scholarship to Oxford and add a heavy dose of poetry and pubs. This memoir reads like a novel and charts a journey of faith that is honest to the core, but filled with doubt…and wonder. Carolyn Weber is an intellectual through and through, and when she trips into conversations about faith, she pursues those thoughts like she would any other line of thinking until she reaches a point where she realizes--with great consternation--she actually believes in God.

Her journey is peppered with wonderful professors, friends, family members, and laced with poems which spoke to her as she studied and struggled with the concept of faith. If you like C.S. Lewis, you will adore this girl. The juxtaposition of intellectual pursuits and child-like faith combine to show a true examination and discovery of truth in a romantic and highly intellectual setting.

The author references many literary works as she processes this journey and her discoveries will become your discoveries. There are moments the reader will feel like she’s turned a corner and come upon the loveliest unexpected surprise. And that’s exactly what this entire book was for me: a lovely, unexpected surprise.

I studied at Oxford in summer years ago and revisiting that beautiful city through Weber’s eyes reminded me what a special place it is. What do you know about Oxford? Would you go if you could?

Don't forget to leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for Love, Stock & Barrel by Crystal L. Barns. Winner announced in the Weekly Windup on the 14th. Check out all of our great prizes on the Prizes Galore page!


  1. I actually do enjoy a well written biography or piece of non-fiction.

    I like the sound of this.

  2. I would love to visit Oxford! This sounds like a book I would enjoy.

  3. I visited Oxford several years ago...went to C.S. Lewis's home too, sat in his favorite arm chair, and met briefly with his former secretary, Walter Hooper. It was one of the highlights of my trip to England.

    1. Love the Kilns! Walking in the footsteps of one of the great Oxford dons!

  4. I have always been familiar with the term Oxford Scholars and how prestigious it is to be one. I enjoy biographies and inspirational nonfiction. Thanks for sharing.