Book Summary: Elliot was taller than Nina was, but not by much, and her blocky heels gave her the inch or two needed to engage him eye to eye. “I am woman. Hear me roar. Welcome to the seventies,” she said.
Standing on a Scottish tower high above the North Sea, Nina Rushforth gazed into the eyes of a lanky young man and made a big mistake—she fell in love. Six months later, she’s back in Utah with a ring on her finger, standing in front of a classroom of farm kids, discussing the dangers of dangling participles.
Instead of the sophisticated life she had imagined, Nina is keeping house in a miniscule apartment and living with a young husband who knows nothing more about being married than she does. Beset with cooking mishaps, lesson plans, and interfering in-laws, the newlyweds find themselves teetering on the brink of disaster—and neither knows know how to stop from going over the edge.
Award-winning author Annette Haws brilliantly captures the comic strife of young LDS love caught in the turbulent social crosscurrents of the 1970s. As Nina and her husband struggle with these first-year missteps, they must learn to trust the love that brought them together.
My Review: Nina Rushforth was raised to be her own kind of woman. Her dad has always wanted her to go to law school and join his successful law firm in Salt Lake City. But Nina has her heart set on teaching and she loves poetry, which is how she finds herself in a study abroad program in Scotland. It's in Scotland that she meets Elliot Spencer, also known as Elder Spencer, since he's still serving his mission. Elliot grew up in a large family, dominated by his mother, never daring to do anything that she would consider inappropriate, until now. Elliot sends a "Dear Jane" letter to his high school sweetheart and young lady that he's been planning on marrying, the perfect Beth. Elliot just knows that he is in love with Nina, he'll convince her to marry him, they'll move to Logan to be close to his family and life will just be perfect. But the best laid plans are easy to derail, and soon Elliot and Nina find themselves married, living in a tiny apartment in Logan with both marriage partners unhappy with their in-laws. Elliot feels that Nina's parents see him as a gold digger, which they probably do given the fact that Nina's dad refuses to give them even a penny for anything that they might need. Nina feels that Elliot's mother sees her as completely incompetent and not good enough for her perfect son. Nina's job teaching school is also a stressful subject for both of them. Nina's year is not going at all as she planned, she's constantly being objectified and put down for being a woman. Elliot is a poor college student and is always gone studying or working. Will all of these external pressures be able to break down Nina and Elliot's marriage and love? Or will they make them stronger?
This book took me a few chapters to get into. But when I did, I loved it! I loved the feisty, independent Nina. She's also stubborn and unwilling to really let anyone teach her anything, especially Elliot's mom who she feels hates her or Elliot who she feels is constantly critical of her. I liked Elliot, I liked that we were also able to see the situation through his eyes. I think that the situations in this book were more fully defined because of that ability. I was amazed at the amount of persecution that Nina went through at her job, but that was probably pretty normal for women who worked outside the home in the 1970's. I liked the plot, and the ending was good too. Can't wait to read more of Annette Haws' books soon!
I was sent an e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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About the author: After fourteen years teaching in the public school system, Annette Haws set aside her denim jumpers and sturdy shoes to pursue her interest in writing fiction. A native of a small college town on the northern edge of Utah and a people watcher from an early age, Ms. Haws examines the tribulations and the foibles of characters playing their parts on a small stage. Her first novel, Waiting for the Light to Change, won Best of State, A Whitney Award for Best Fiction, and the League of Utah Writers award for best published fiction. She’s been published in Sunstone and Dialogue. She is the mother of four above average children and is the spouse of a patient husband.
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Labels: Annette Haws, Cedar Fort, LDS fiction