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Book review: 'The Accidental Marriage' is a realistic love story

"THE ACCIDENTAL MARRIAGE," by Annette Haws, Bonneville Books, $16.99, 336 pages (f)

"The Accidental Marriage" by Utah resident Annette Haws is perfectly titled as she writes the story of two young people who fall in love so quickly that they need their first year of marriage to realize what was happening and how to get through their differences.

When Nina and Elliot meet, she is studying abroad in Scotland and he is serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the same town. Although she is dating someone else and their relationship is limited due to his calling as a Mormon missionary, they fall in love.

When they both return to the states, they reconnect and find out that even though they had different upbringings and disagree on some major issues like the role of a woman in the home, they are so passionately in love with each other that they decide those things don't matter.

But they do. Their first few months of marriage are plagued by an overbearing mother-in-law, two sets of disapproving parents, and both of them noticing each other's faults before their good points.

As if there weren't enough troubles inside the home, Elliot is a busy student and working full-time, and Nina accepts a new job teaching English in a middle school where women still aren't accepted in the workplace and she suffers through sexual harassment every day in a time before it had a name or a consequence.

Nina and Elliot will have to realize that marriage is hard work, times are changing and they need to decide what is worth holding onto and what things they need to let go.

Haws combines realistic anecdotes about the ups and downs of marriage and the changing political landscape during the civil rights movement in the 1970s to form a journal-like story of passion, love and compromises.

Her experience as a schoolteacher and a small-town Utah resident are evident throughout the story as she writes about Nina's escapades and triumphs in the classroom and the tangled web of relationships Elliot and Nina are a part of.

It includes mature content about marriage and intimate relationships, but does not contain any explicit material.

If you go ...

What: "The Accidental Marriage" launch party; Annette Haws book signing

When: Monday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City


Note: Places in the signing line are reserved for those who purchase a copy of the featured book from The King's English.

Tara Creel is a Logan native and mother of three boys. Her email is and she blogs at