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Say what?

I got this link to some Amazon reviews for a Harlequin Presents book entitled The Life She Left Behind via a Retweet from Victoria Dahl.

Two of the reviewers are annoyed that Maisey Yates, the author of the book, has taken writerly liberties by having the middle eastern hero treat the heroine with respect, *shock, horror*.

One of the reviewers, L.Smith from Carmel, CA, writes:

“This is a short story (novella). It is the most incredibly unbelievable story about an Arabian sheik falling in love with a Texas debutante. I have a feeling this author has no clue of the Arabian culture and women (falling somewhere below cattle). What planet are you on?”

So L. Smith from Carmel in California, we’re expected to believe that hot, gorgeous men can stay faithful to one person for the rest of their lives, but an Arab man can’t treat a woman with respect? Surely both of the above are romance urban myths? You can’t suspend disbelief for one and not the other surely?

If you really wanna complain about something, how about having an heiress heroine who decides to ditch her diamonds to go work as a nanny for other people’s kids, without it being a reality TV programme? I mean come on, how realistic is that????

7 Comments »

  • Ugh, these reviewers are complaining because their prejudice assumptions aren’t followed up in a book?

    I would say that there’s the danger of the single story right there: http://youtu.be/D9Ihs241zeg

    But I think that’s giving them too much credit – this is just plain racism.

    And I join you in snarking what readers cosnider too unrealistic. After book after book of the most convoluted, ridiculous tropes and stories and mind bogglingly ridiculous behaviour – THIS is what they find just too unrealistic to stand?

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  • @Fangs I’d almost understand it if the ladies were from the middle east, but I’m not convinced that L.Smith who lives in Carmel hangs around with sheiks and sultans etc that often. I could be wrong of course…

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  • LVLMLeah@yahoo.com
    March 3
    3:00 pm

    I lived in Israel for a year. I’ve traveled in Middle Eastern countries. I lived in countries and areas with a high immigration population of Arabs and Middle eastern people. I’ve had a lot of contact.

    I’ve been sexually harassed many times by such men in such places. But…but…I’ve met just as many such men who were kind, respectful and didn’t judge me as a slut just because I was a western woman.

    And really, one only has to look at the old white American men in the US who are treating women in as much a disrespectful way as those reviewers feel all Arabs do. Wake up and smell your own country’s misogyny– reviewers.

    There are good and bad people in every culture and race.

    They shouldn’t make comments like that if they’ve never had contact with any “real” Arab or Middle-eastern men.

    Like you said though, most romance books require a significant suspension of disbelief. snort

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  • I’ve not traveled outside the western hemisphere, but I haven’t found Arab men to be more inclined to disrespect toward me. I got similar comments about my book with a Muslim kick ass heroine. “that could never happen.” uh, in fact it did happen. I lifted the idea directly from Quadaff’s all-female bodyguards. I talked to a lot of Muslim women while developing the character. Like any other group, they’re not a monolith. I hate the way simple minded people create these stereotypes in their head, especially when we now have the ability to reach out to other groups in a way we never had before. If I want to know what life is like in a Muslim country there are thousands of blogs and message boards at my fingertips. I could emil people and simply ask. Most speak English and don’t mind respectful questions. Some were horrified that I was I was writing a sexy book about a Muslim woman. Others were intrigued, but no one took out a fatwa against me. When, oh when are we going to try to see people as individuals?

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  • I went around with my co-author about this. He assumed because a character was middle-eastern, that the character (Ariel benEzra, if you please!) was Muslim and naturally hated all women.

    I pointed out to him that misogyny is a function and feature of fundamentalism in all three Abrahamic faiths, not a defining feature of most practitioners.

    I have had a number of Muslim doctors over the years, and they all treated me with great respect, to the point of refusing to shave my head when it would have made the surgery they were doing much easier. (My American doctors tended to give me mohawks)

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  • To be fair, the Republican party in America treat women with far less respect than anybody I’ve ever met from the mid-east.

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  • Anon 76
    March 14
    10:40 pm

    I live very close to many Amish communities. I’ve worked in those communities, but I’m a “Yank” and therefore not worthy of common decency. The whole thing shocked me at first, men with full beards and all the Amish dress, members of their church, leering and catcalling like stereo-typical NYC construction workers. This with me in business clothes and no skirts.

    PLEASE!

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