|Source: Wikipedia/British Museum|
I've been tweeting my ongoing Amelia Peabody reread the last month or so. A reader on Twitter recently shared that the Amelia Peabody series, or —more specifically— Crocodile on the Sandbank made her uncomfortable because of all of the stereotyping of Egyptians. And then pointed to a novel by Mary Jo Putney as an example of how a historical novel set in the Middle East could avoid that.
I will be honest: The stereotyping in the Peabody series doesn't bother me. Or at least, I can understand why it's there. It serves a purpose. Aside from the story being told in the first person, a not insignificant difference from most romances, we as readers are supposed to view Amelia as flawed. She's supposed to be irritating, snobby, racist, bossy, and completely self deluded about her own personality flaws. We're supposed to recognize her stereotyped observations of Egyptians and understand that she as a character represents the upper class, British sensibilities of the time.