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Comments on: Melting Pot Challenge: Jewish Characters http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975 Thu, 30 Jul 2015 19:45:27 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: LFL/Janine Ballard http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-77798 Thu, 18 Oct 2012 23:06:51 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-77798 Maggie, thanks so much for this column. I’m Jewish myself so it was lovely to see it.

If you want to read a romantic book with Hassidic Jews in it, I recommend Jephte’s Daughter by Naomi Ragen. It’s a Jewish inspie/women’s fiction/romance hybrid.

As for romances or romantic books with more mainstream Jewish characters:

Alisa Kwitney’s chick lit is pretty romantic and usually has a least one Jewish main character. My favorite of her books is probably The Dominant Blonde, which has a Jewish heroine.

Megan Hart’s erotic novels frequently have at least one Jewish protagonist as well. I would start with Dirty, which has a Jewish hero.

Patricia Gaffney’s historical romance Crooked Hearts has a Jewish hero, though this fact doesn’t come out until late in the book.

Laura Leone’s contemporary romance, Fallen From Grace, mentioned above, has a Jewish heroine. The hero is a male prostitute.

I’ll also second Bed of Spices by Barbara Samuels, a historical romance which has a Jewish hero.

I hesitate to mention Meagan McKinney, an author who was convicted of hurricane Katrina fraud, but she has a couple of books with Jewish heroines as well. My favorite of these is A Man to Slay Dragons (romantic suspense).

I’ve heard good things about Nita Abrams’ spy series of historical romances but haven’t gotten around to trying them.

There’s also Eva Ibbotson’s The Morning Gift, with an Austrian Jewish heroine who escapes the Holocaust with the hero’s help. I wasn’t so keen on it but I know a lot of readers who loved it.

By: Lilly http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-77009 Mon, 15 Oct 2012 19:16:40 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-77009 It goes all the way back to the origins of the modern romance novel and Sir Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe. Saxon Wilfred may love Norman Rowena, but he’s willing to fight and perhaps die in an attempt to right the injustices done to Jewish Rebecca [as is the Black Knight (King Richard in disguise)]. The novel played a part in the UK’s changing view towards Jews and the improving laws and rights of the 19th century.

By: Katja http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76888 Mon, 15 Oct 2012 06:32:24 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76888 The books that immediately come to my mind when I think of Jewish heroines (and heroes) are Rashi’s daughters by Maggie Anton. They’re probably more historicals than romance, but I’d say with very strong romantic elements. I personallyjust love the amount of information about mediaval Jewish life, the Talmud etc. etc,; absolutely fascinating books.
The first book was even reviewed on AAR http://www.likesbooks.com/cgi-bin/bookReview.pl?BookReviewId=5201

By: Anne http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76878 Mon, 15 Oct 2012 03:57:26 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76878 If you don’t mind going outside of the romace genre, check out the Faye Kellerman series featuring LAPD lieutenant detective Peter Decker and his wife Rina Lazarus. A warning, however. Start with the first in this series where Decker meets the widow Rina in the course of an investigation. By starting at the beginning, you’ll be able to follow the developing romance of Decker (a non-religious gentile eventually converted to Judeaism) and the extremely religious Rina. Her influence on him is profound.

By: Connie http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76851 Sun, 14 Oct 2012 15:10:24 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76851 Wow, I just went to download Daniel Deronda on my Kindle and it is free!

By: Connie http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76825 Sat, 13 Oct 2012 23:13:31 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76825 Sarah, I forgot about Daniel Deronda. I haven’t read it in years, but thanks for the reminder, It is time for a reread. On Susan’s recommendation I have been reading Miss Jacobson’s Journey and am enjoying it. As in Nita Abrams books it also recounts the role of the Rothchild family in transporting money during the Napoleonic Wars and of course the anti-semitism towards Jews as money lenders. This is an excellent thread and I have enjoyed the posts and recommendations. Thank you all!

By: Kimberly http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76823 Sat, 13 Oct 2012 22:46:14 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76823 Wendy Wax’ Hostile Makeover had a Jewish lead character…I think one or two of her other novels may as well.

By: Sarah http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76821 Sat, 13 Oct 2012 22:20:04 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76821 I’ve been looking for books with jewish characters for a while – it’s tough, particularly when that selection is further limited by books that I think I’d actually like! I’ll definitely have to check out some of the books on this list. Someone mentioned Lady X’s Cowboy above – I’d add that it’s a good book, but neither character is actually jewish. The hero was raised by a jew, and the heroine has some jewish ancestry, but this is essentially used as an excuse to have them throw around some yiddish words and phrases here and there (which is really weird, but it fits with the bizarre zannyness of the book as a whole). The main characters are definitely not jewish, nor is jewishness explored in any significant way. It is a fun read, though!

I’d suggest going back to Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot. For me, it’s still the best romance with jewish characters out there. It also doesn’t shy away from exploring the characters’ jewishness and what that means to them in their (19th cent. British) world in a realistic manner, without resorting to cliches. I dislike the way contemporary romances with jewish characters tend to convey this jewishness through the apparently typically jewish overbearing family and/or jewish american princess tropes. It’s terribly tiresome, and begs the question of why the characters needed to be portrayed as jewish in the first place. George Eliot, on the other hand, has a whole range of jewish characters who act and think and relate to their jewishness in a variety of believable ways. It also has a very strong romance. I want more like this. :(

I’d also add that I’m ambivalent about using a Christian inspy as a book about Jews. Sure, the characters may be jewish…. but really, the point is that they’re Christian or end up as Christians.

By: Susanna Kearsley http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76796 Sat, 13 Oct 2012 13:11:07 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76796 Close Relations definitely has an HEA. The whole set-up, in fact (successful woman in questionable relationship is “helped” by her well-meaning family to find true love) reminds me a lot of one of my favourite films, Crossing Delancey.

By: maggie b. http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975&cpage=1#comment-76795 Sat, 13 Oct 2012 13:09:47 +0000 http://www.likesbooks.com/blog/?p=8975#comment-76795 Thank you everyone for the terrific recs! Please keep them coming!