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Temptation Rag

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  49 reviews
The world of ragtime is the backdrop for a remarkable story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness. Seventeen-year-old May Convery, unhappy with her privileged life in turn-of-the-century New York City, dreams of becoming a poet. When she meets the poor but talented Mike Bernard, an aspiring concert pianist, she imme ...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published December 3rd 2018 by Belle Epoque Publishing
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Amy Bruno
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Ragtime comes alive in Bernard's Temptation Rag: A Novel!

Temptation Rag follows the lives of May Convery, a socialite who dreams of becoming a poet, and Mike Bernard, a determined musician who eventually becomes the Ragtime King of the World, and their relationship over the course of decades. We also get POVs from the supporting cast of characters so that the readers get a rounded view of the their lives, the times and most importantly, the music.

I haven't read any books set during this time or
When I was a little girl I was forced loved to play the piano, but dreaded really never came unto my own musically until my tutor decided, after she had lost all of her hair, to introduce me to Ragtime. At last!! There was something about the syncopated rhythm that found its way into my heart and suddenly, quite literally, overnight my fingers were flying all over the keyboard. Forget hymns, Bach, even Stravinsky, all I wanted was Scott Joplin, Duke Ellington and Tommy Turpin from morning until ...more
Nov 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Temptation Rag is the story of the people who brought Ragtime to the mainstream, fueled its epic rise, and for a while glided on the coattails of faddism until the next big thing came along--Jazz.

It is the story of racism and Anti-semitism, the quest for fame and the fickleness of the public, the entertainment industry's birth, and the growing power of women over the early 20th c.

In the Gay Nineties, no one knew how big Ragtime would become, how Tin Pan Alley would be filled with white songwrite
Marcia Fine
Aug 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The cover of TEMPTATION RAG drew me in like no other. May Convery, a wealthy New Yorker of the Victorian era, and Mike Bernard, an aspiring pianist of another class, cross paths and fall in love. The ragtime ride that follows will make you a fan of the music that crossed color lines. The author gives us all the details of a country changing at the turn of the century and the people who encounter racism, corruption and women's desire for the vote. It's a great literary history lesson and a captiv ...more
Davida Chazan
Ragtime. The only thing I know about it was that Scott Joplin was one of its composers. So learning about this era of American musical history, and the genre through a biographical, historical fiction novel was truly tempting! Find out what I thought of this book in my newest #bookreview on my blog now. ...more leonardo
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I must admit before reading this book I knew very little about Rag-Time Music. I have heard of Scott Joplin and always just associated Rag-Time with the the type of music in the movie The Sting. But the history of where it came from and who the major players were I had no idea.As I was reading this temptationrag full 4well researched book I planned on googleing the characters I read about in this work of Historical Fiction to see who was real and who was fiction. But guess what? The author alrea ...more
Nov 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I accepted a free paperback ARC from the publisher and this is my honest review.

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard originally intended to write a book focused on male protagonist Mike Bernard who was a prominent ragtime musician and the grandfather of the author's husband. She decided to expand her focus by creating a fictional life for Mike Bernard's first wife, May Convery, about whom almost nothing is known.

This fictionalized May Convery became a published poet and a women's suffrage activist. Her
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
What begins as an ill-fated romance between an impetuous and spoiled young woman from a well to do banking family and her talented, ambitious piano teacher who hides his Jewish heritage turns quickly into a portrait of an era.

After marrying in haste, the lives of May Convery and Mike Bernard take widely different paths.  As he abandons his classical training for a bid at Ragtime glory, May finds herself in the unhappy society marriage she had married Mike to avoid.  The trajectories of their liv
Kimberly Mussell
Sep 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love the era of ragtime, but was unfamiliar with some of the names. Temptation Rag is a great introduction! The characters are based on real individuals and some similarities/truths guided the story line. I liked Mike, I despised Mike, I liked Mike... the story is so well rounded that it brings you full circle. I had some hopes for certain characters, but in the end they were not met. I really enjoyed this one as it was different in many ways from the other books I read. It was refreshing. Tha ...more
Richard Tearle
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Mike Bernard is a musician with ambition. Having walked out of his job as piano teacher to May Convery and her sister, the daughters of a rich banker, he applies for a job as musical director at Tony Pastor's Music Hall. Surprisingly, for he is only nineteen, he succeeds and begins making a reputation for himself.

May Convery, two years younger than Bernard, is rebellious and wants to escape the proposed plans for her life which include a profitable marriage. She writes her emotions down as poetr
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Historical fiction has always been a genre that I’ve really enjoyed. When I was getting my undergrad, I studied for a degree in secondary education, with an emphasis on History. I loved my history classes, and excelled in the program. It also cementated by infatuation with all types of historical literature (including historical romance…those books are full of well researched facts about the time period!). I don’t read nearly as much historical fiction as I used to do to time constraints and jus ...more
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
May Convery is a young woman living in New York City's upper class neighborhood in 1895. More than anything, May wants to make decisions of her own, including her love life and pursuit of poetry. May plans on going after her dreams beginning by sharing her romantic poetry with her piano teacher and love interest, Mike Bernard. Mike is faking it in the world in order to become a renowned musician. Mike and May's romance comes crashing down quickly as May's parents have other plans for May as Mrs. ...more
lady ansel
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all who enjoy reading fictional/factual historical well written stories.
Temptation Rag is a fictional/factional story of the Ragtime King, Mike Bernard, brought to life by an actual family member. Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard wife of one of the King’s descendants wrote about real individuals who were part of Mike’s life wove together with fiction which added drama that kept me turning the pages.

The story is centered around Mike and his first wife, May Convery, and how the decisions they made, or didn’t make, effected not only their lives but others as well. Mike and
Helen Hollick
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book has received a Discovering Diamonds Review:
Helen Hollick
founder #DDRevs

"This is so much more than the story of Mike and May. It traces the rise of ragtime music, an essentially 'black' music in 'white' America."
Becca Evans
Dec 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
So, I'm one of those... those that pick the book by the cover. If it catches my attention, I'll grab it and look at the back. Thankfully, I was sent this book by Smith Publicity. If not, I probably wouldn't have picked this one up!

This book was full of so much! So much everything... by page 17, I was hooked by a forbidden kiss between a piano teacher and his student! Every time I hit a good stride, something HUGE would happen and I'd be hollering, "Who could've known that was coming??" I said t
Phyllis Krall
Dec 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The ragtime era is the backdrop for this historical novel that is based on the author’s husband’s grandfather. Mile Bernard is a musician whose world revolves around Rag. It forces him to make bad decisions in his personal life to remain the King of Rag.

May Covery, a poet, cones from a privileged family and falls in love with Mike when he is her piano teacher. She pursues him and they eventually marry but the marriage is doomed . May’s father interferes and she is forced to move back home. Devas
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
Mary Convery is tired of her privileged life and dreams of becoming a poet. She meets the very talented Mike Bernard and falls in love. The story is centered around the Ragtime era in the tun of the century. A remarkable story of love, racism and rich in historical issues of the time. An amazing read. I loved it.
I was given this copy from NetGalley for an honest review.
Dawn Ruby-BookGypsy
Novels N Latte Book Blog
Novels & Latte Book Club
Hudson Valley NY
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Temptation Rag immerses readers into a historical novel set during the heydey of ragtime (1895-1919) and vaudeville (1880 - 1920) with a cast of real and fictional characters grappling for love, freedom, and artistry in New York City. Ragtime gave way to jazz and vaudeville gave way to the cinema so, like almost every period in music and theater, the times were short, competitive, and bittersweet as talents and fortunes rose and fell depending on the inequalities imposed by the rich and famous, ...more
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Temptation Rag is a historical novel that tells the story of May Convery and Mike Bernard over a number of years. May is a 17 year old society girl in New York City. Mike is a ragtime musician. The book also is about ragtime and early African American performers in vaudeville and musical theater.

I was very intrigued by Temptation Rag because of the element of ragtime music. I grew up playing the piano and loved playing Scott Joplin's ragtime songs. Those songs were my main exposure to ragtime; I
Andrea Hicks
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This novel has everything; a foray into the history of ragtime music by a member of Mike Bernard's family, Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, a story of unrequited love, and the sadness of how black people were treated by those who should have known better. When wealthy 17 year old May Convery falls for her piano teacher, Mike Bernard, he is uncertain how to react. At only 19, he allows her to encourage him into a marriage that she obviously craves because she needs some normality in her life. He goes ...more
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, I do enjoy stories with an actual historical background. Having read The Other Einstein and Carnegie’s Maid, I was very excited to read Temptation Rag. And it was a wonderful read. It shows the life of the ton in New York at the beginning of the nineteenth century. We meet May Convery, a rich girl from the upper class of society, who falls in love with her piano teacher: Mike Bernard. They elope and get married, but when Mike is confronted by ...more
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My first introduction to ragtime music was through the old black and white movies my dad loved to watch when I was a child. By the time that I was in high school, I was more familiar with the classic actors and actresses than I was with any modern-day famous personality. So I dove into Temptation Rag with high hopes; would I love the characters? Would the author do justice to the time era?

Might as well just slap my forehead right here and now, because of course Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard did a
Apr 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
I chose this book because it is historical fiction, one of my favorite genres, and the fact that it spans the life of its two major characters. The author was related to the real Mike Bernard and thought this would be a cool take albeit fictionalized account. It also had fairly good reviews. I found that I didn't like or relate to either of the main characters and therefore didn't enjoy the book as much as I had hoped.

May Convery is introduced to us as a 17 year old girl from an affluent family
Mari Kent
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Temptation Rag is one of those rare books full of surprises from beginning to end
Something new for me was learning about the Ragtime era, the Author’s detailed account of that period in American history made me feel like I was transported back in time,
I absolutely loved the Author’s description of the characters, places and the country’s challenges
Although I felt all the characters were fully developed and their dialogue realistic, I especially liked May, for me May represented a women growing
Kathryn Wood
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Having received Temptation Rag as an Advance Reading Copy, I was prepared for the usual number of typos and misspellings I often see in ARCs (even in professionally published 1st Editions.) I was amazed to discover none, whatsoever! That is an achievement in itself but, coupled with the smooth writing style and attention to historic detail, I was more than pleasantly surprised with Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard’s musical family saga. Ms. Bernard weaves her knowledge of music (both classical and ra ...more
Tamara Moerer
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was given an Advance Reading Copy of Temptation Rag which was read in about two summation, ENTHRALLING.

Bernard, yet again, has uniquely captured another fascinating story about tenacious women in a transitioning historical era in the late 1800's/early 1900's. (In 2017, The Beauty Doctor was her first publication). In Temptation Rag, fact and fiction intertwine, emerging in a story line that takes one back to a time when May Convery struggled with the lack of women's love
Margareta Smith Knopik
Jan 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Temptation Rag is the second book I've read written by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard and it didn't disappoint. The story, apparently loosely based on the life of a family patriarch, is told through the use of a fictional character, May Convery, and takes place in New York City against the backdrop of American music--rag and jazz. While we are focused on May's experiences and thoughts, Mr. Bernard's life unfolds in an easy-to-follow chronology ranging from the late 1880s through the mid 1940s and i ...more
Katherine Hayward Pérez
I'll admit I did not know much about Ragtime music or the era before I requested this.

May is only 17 when she falls for her piano teacher and what follows is a romance they want to keep secret at all costs. Will they be able to or be discovered? What will a future encounter hold for them?

Temptation Rag is so rich in detail that it propelled me forward and there were themes of fighting for your dreams, whether to conform to the ideals of society and those close to you, and social change was pre
Johnna Hill
Oct 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Seventeen year old May Convery lives the pampered life in New York city. She day dreams of one day becoming a poet. When she meets aspiring concert pianist Mike Bernard, she falls head over heals for him. Their forbidden romance is discovered and the two are torn apart and the consequences will torment them for decades.

This book isn't the kind of book that I would normally read but sometimes its good for readers to step out of their comfort zones. Sometimes historical books can be a bit boring f
Becky Porter
Aug 30, 2018 rated it liked it
#partner | Relationships, racism, ragtime—this character-driven historical fiction set in turn-of-the-century New York touches on all these topics and more. TEMPTATION RAG is a historical saga of the musical and theatre groups in America during the time of vaudeville, rag, and early jazz.

I really enjoyed learning more about this era, and I got swept up in the stories of the individuals, but I wanted the book to end on a little more hopeful note so I am giving it 3.5/5 🌟. Fans of music, historic
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AMERICAN HISTORIC...: Interview with Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard 9 12 Nov 07, 2019 04:02AM  

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Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is an author of historical fiction. Her latest book, TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL, received a 5-star rating from Readers' Favorite Book Reviews. The world of ragtime is the backdrop for a remarkable story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness. From vaudeville's greatest stars to the geniuses of early African American ...more

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