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Two passages from a moving post, written today:

In the book, the commander is the head of Theresienstadt. For those who don’t know, Theresienstadt was the ‘model camp’ used to show the Red Cross that things weren’t “so bad”. In reality, 140,000 people were interned there and just over 17,000 people survived it and the deportations to Auschwitz. The commander of that camp made people stand out in freezing temperatures until they literally dropped dead. He killed thousands of children. He oversaw the deportations to Auschwitz where a small percentage survived. He watched tens of thousands of people die of disease and starvation in his ‘model camp’. And Breslin, her publishers, her readers, and RWA judges found that person worthy of redemption. Not only worthy of, but exceptional. Romantic.

What happened here is that Kate Breslin stole a tragedy that wasn’t hers to promote her own personal agenda. And in doing so, she contributed to the erasure of both victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Her book is anti-Semitic, violent, and dangerous. It glorifies and redeems a Nazi, while removing all of the Jewish woman’s agency and forcing her to convert to Christianity in order for her arc to be considered redemption. It is, in fact, exactly what has been done to the Jewish people throughout history. For longer than Christianity has been a religion, Jews across the world have been forced to convert or to hide their Judaism to save their lives. That is violence. That is erasure. Kate Breslin’s book is violence and erasure.

I recommend reading the whole thing, here: http://bibliogato.tumblr.com/post/125928615686/on-for-such-a-time-by-kate-breslin-and-writing-the

I may update with comments from others.
moira_j_moore1: (Default)
For Such a Time, by Kate Breslin, is a Christian inspirational romance novel that takes place during WWII. It was published April 1, 2014. The half-Jewish female character falls in love with the Nazi commander of a concentration camp. Then, she converts to Christianity.

That is the simple plot of the story, according to the reviews I've read. It is also, I think, supposed to be a sort of retelling of a Biblical story, the Book of Esther. I have no knowledge of that story beyond it's description in the review by Smart Bitches, Trashy Books:

"For those unfamiliar with that text, it is the story of how a young Jewish woman appeals to her husband, the not-Jewish King of Persia, in order to save her people from the genocidal designs of his abhorrent adviser."

Full review here: http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/reviews/for-such-a-time-by-kate-breslin/

I have not read the book, and have no intention of doing so, as I think the premise is horrific. From what I understand, the romance is portrayed as a healthy one, in which the female character and Jesus redeem a person who participates in genocide and, by the way, literally has the power of life and death over the female character.

She's his secretary, not living in the camp.

The book has 269 reviews on Amazon, 70% 5 stars. It was nominated by the Romance Writers of America for Best First Book and Best Inspirational Romance in 2014, though it won neither.

The Smart Bitches review gave the book a D not for the quality of the writing but for it's subject matter, pointing out the problems of having a relationship, which she suggested was similar to Stockholm Syndrome, portrayed as romantic. The review is dated June 29, 2015.

On July 27, 2015, Sarah Wendell, a member of the RWA, sent a letter to the RWA expressing her distress that a book that portrayed a participant of genocide as the hero and that had the Jewish character converting to Christianity - particularly offensive given the setting - was nominated for these awards.

On August 4, 2015, Sarah posted on her tumblr that she had written this letter as well as the letter itself. http://sarahwendell.tumblr.com/post/125859299894/letter-to-the-rwa-board-regarding-for-such-a-time

Today, August 5, the thread Problematic Romances: For Such a Time was started in the Absolute Write forum. http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?309647-Problematic-Romances-For-Such-a-Time

And about an hour ago, the first one star review that criticised the book for its premise rather than the quality showed up on Amazon. I have no reason to believe the reviewer actually read the book.

I don't know how I feel about people going to Amazon just to trash the premise. You can be sure that I'd love to ask if everyone involved in the creation and nomination of that book was high the whole time, and I'm heartbroken that it took over a year for someone to point out how deeply unhealthy and twisted such a relationship would be, but does that mean a flood of people should go to the Amazon site to express their disgust?

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