Romance novelist Elin Hilderbrand has called on her publisher to removed an “offensive and tasteless” reference to Anne Frank from her latest book.
Earlier this month, the bestselling author – who has been called “the queen of beach reads” by New York Magazine – released her new book Golden Girl.
It centres around an author, Vivian Howe, who is killed in a hit-and-run accident and transported to the Beyond, where she watches her loved ones lives play out for one last summer.
However, one line from the novel in particular was criticised by readers, who accused Hilderbrand of “casual antisemitism”. In the scene, Vivian remembers staying in a friend’s attic as a child before comparing herself to the famous diarist who was killed in the Holocaust.
The passage reads: “‘You’re suggesting I hide here all summer?’ Vivi asks. ‘Like … like Anne Frank?’ This makes them both laugh – but is it really funny, and is Vivi so far off base?”
Following the backlash, Hildebrand posted a formal apology on Instagram Stories, writing that she had asked her publisher to remove the line from all digital versions and any future reprintings of Golden Girl.
“I want to wholeheartedly apologise for this,” she wrote. “It was meant as hyperbole, but was a poor choice that was offensive and tasteless.
“I always strive to write in good faith. Golden Girl is a novel I wrote for my children and I want them to be proud of every word. Thank you.”
Hilderbrand has released 17 novels since 2007, with another titled The Sixth Wedding: A 28 Summers Story due for release later this month.