A lot of people have asked me about Kate Breslin’s For Such a Time and how such an awful book could possibly have gotten a Romantic Times recommended read and a Library Journal starred review. In case you missed it, here’s the back cover copy:
Powerful Retelling of the Story of Esther
In 1944, blonde and blue-eyed Jewess Hadassah Benjamin feels abandoned by God when she is saved from a firing squad only to be handed over to a new enemy. Pressed into service by SS-Kommandant Colonel Aric von Schmidt at the transit camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia, she is able to hide behind the false identity of Stella Muller. However, in order to survive and maintain her cover as Aric’s secretary, she is forced to stand by as her own people are sent to Auschwitz.
Suspecting her employer is a man of hidden depths and sympathies, Stella cautiously appeals to him on behalf of those in the camp. Aric’s compassion gives her hope, and she finds herself battling a growing attraction for this man she knows she should despise as an enemy.
Stella pours herself into her efforts to keep even some of the camp’s prisoners safe, but she risks the revelation of her true identity with every attempt. When her bravery brings her to the point of the ultimate sacrifice, she has only her faith to lean upon. Perhaps God has placed her there for such a time as this, but how can she save her people when she is unable to save herself?
Now, this is patently offensive on all levels, but it got a freaking STARRED REVIEW in Library Journal and, as I said, no one would shut up about it. It was discussed on Jezebel, on Slate, on Salon, even in Newsweek. And people kept asking me how it was possible.
Why do they ask me? Because it’s being published as a romance, and the publisher or author nominated it for a romance award and somehow–through the perfect storm of events, it made it to the finals for an award. (No, it did not win.)
But it won’t go away, either and people have been asking me to justify my writing in a way that I have not had since Fifty Shades. So if you’re at all interested in my thoughts, I’ve posted them on my blog. Though the title should tell you how I felt: Yes, I Read “That Book” So you Don’t Have To.