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Friday, January 24, 2014

The Accidental Marriage...Review

Accidental-Marriage,-TheAbout the book:
Standing on a Scottish tower high above the North Sea, Nina Rushforth gazed into the eyes of a lanky American and made a big mistake, she fell in love. Six months later, with a ring on her finger, she’s standing in front of a classroom of farm kids, discussing the dangers of dangling participles. How did this happen? Instead of the sophisticated life she had planned, she’s keeping house in a miniscule apartment and living with a young husband who doesn’t know any more about being married than she does. Well intentioned parents, as well as friends and siblings, join the fray, and the newlyweds teeter on the brink of disaster. Beset with classroom shenanigans, lesson plans, essays to correct, and faculty politics, Nina’s overwhelmed, and when the shenanigans at work take a dark and dangerous turn, who can she trust?

Award winning author, Annette Haws brilliantly captures the comic strife of young love caught in the turbulent social cross-currents of the 1970’s. The heartbreak of starter marriages–relationships that flounder after a year or two—is examined through the eyes of her delightful heroine who struggles to find dignity in the workplace and love at home.

While on a study abroad in Scotland, Nina meets a young missionary and falls in love.  When Elliot returns to America, he breaks up with the girl who waited for him and pursues Nina relentlessly.  Regardless of their differences in background; he is working class and her family is wealthy, they quickly decide to get married.  Elliot's domineering mother Rachel isn't happy with the new wife, who doesn't meet her standards and isn't the nice girl she had picked out for her beloved son. But Elliot and Nina are determined to marry and when the realities of life hit them, they discover they don't know each other as well as they thought.

This was not quite the light-hearted comedy romance I expected.  I appreciated the exploration of the ups and downs of marriage.  Simply being in love seems like it's enough, but good communication is key in a successful marriage and Elliot and Nina were not well equipped in communication skills.  Add to that a domineering mother-in-law who refuses to let her son go and demands that life as she knows it stays the same and you have a perfect cauldron of trouble.

Loved the 1970's setting.  Such a time of turbulence with Title IX and the ERA and the feminist movement.  I loved Nina and her independence.  In many ways I could relate to her thought processes.  I am fortunate to have grown up before and during that turbulent time in a family that encouraged education and independence along with marriage and motherhood.  I married a man who believes in me and my intelligence and abilities more than I believe in myself sometimes.  Because of that, it was difficult for me to see Elliot often dismiss his wife's wants and needs and his family's outright cruelty and unacceptance.

I grew frustrated with the lack of character development and how everyone remains fairly one-dimensional.  Nina and Elliot never grew as people or as a couple.  Their ideals were different and neither one would bend or listen to the other. I understood the growing pains of learning to live together, but I did not always understand their reactions to each other's situations. They kept secrets from each other but confided in friends and family about their troubles instead.  And with an interfering family like Elliot's that does not bode well for a newly married couple.  But with all that, there was no real growth, although through her school difficulties and resulting lawsuit, Nina began to find herself which was refreshing even as Elliot refused to see that his wife had a mind and needs and thoughts of her own.

The ending was disappointing.  We are left with hope, but not the satisfactory resolution I hoped to see.

This is light Christian with characters who happen to be LDS.  It's not an overtly religious book though, and faith is almost an afterthought.  The story is, however, compelling and thought-provoking and one that I read in an evening.  It has stayed with me for several days as I have formulated my thoughts for this review.  Because of that, I can recommend it.

Thanks to Cedar Fort for the opportunity to review this book.  You can learn more about Annette Haws here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 1/14

* * *
3/5 Stars

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