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 immediately falls in love. But after their secret liaison is discovered, neither is prepared for the far-reaching consequences that will haunt them for decades. Mike abandons his concert career to become "Ragtime King of the World." But as his professional rivalry with the self-proclaimed Originator of Ragtime, Ben Harney, escalates into obsession, he sinks deeper into a life of self-indulgence and moral depravity. May, trapped in an abusive marriage arranged by her parents, struggles to find freedom through her poetry, involvement in the women's suffrage movement, and yet another forbidden relationship, this one possibly more scandalous than the first. Both May and Mike continue to conceal painful truths until a chance meeting offers the opportunity to make a life-changing choice. From vaudeville's greatest stars to the geniuses of early African American musical theater, an unforgettable cast of real-life characters populates this richly fictionalized historical saga.
Temptation Rag: A Novel is a Medallion Honoree of the Book Readers Appreciation Group.
Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is author of the historical thriller The Beauty Doctor, Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, National Indie Excellence Awards, AZ Literary Awards, and Medallion Honoree of the Book Readers Appreciation Group. Her second novel, Temptation Rag, is based in part on the life of her husband's grandfather, Mike Bernard, who won the title "Ragtime King of the World" in 1900.
Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including two Amazon best-sellers. Her latest novel, SISTERS OF CASTLE LEOD (release date: January 19, 2023) is the haunting, emotionally charged story of two sisters torn apart by jealousy and superstition, and the impossible leap of faith that could finally bring them together.
“Heartbreaking and redemptive, inspired by a true story of two very different, equally passionate sisters who were both destined to forge new paths for women in a tumultuous time. A richly imagined and thoroughly engrossing tale that will have readers quickly turning the pages.” --Megan Chance, bestselling author of A SPLENDID RUIN
In researching her novel, Elizabeth traveled to Scotland to tour Castle Leod and meet with the 5th Earl of Cromartie, grandson of one of the sisters, Sibell Lilian Mackenzie--countess, spiritualist, and romantic novelist. Lord Cromartie talked about the mystery of the fifteenth-century castle’s resident ghost, The Night Watchman, which plays a role in the novel. Elizabeth’s exploration of the psychic realm, key to Sibell’s life and character, led her to London and the Spiritualist Association of Great Britain, where she met with several psychics who attempted to contact the departed countess. But Elizabeth’s travels to the Highlands and London were only the beginning. Upon her return, she spent three years on further research and writing. Telling the story of the Mackenzie sisters in Sibell’s voice, Elizabeth deftly transports readers to another time and place, introducing them to two incredible women who, in many ways, were ahead of their time.
"This expertly written novel is a beautiful example of how historical facts can be researched and transformed into a work of art. To say this novel was difficult to put down would be an understatement. From the first page, I knew this would become one of my favorite historical novels." --Sublime Book Reviews, 5 stars
Elizabeth's other novels have received honors including: Finalist, Eric Hoffer Book Award; Finalist, National Indie Excellence Awards; Finalist, Arizona Literary Contest; Gold Medallion, Book Readers Appreciation Group; Discovered Diamond award for historical fiction; and Readers' Favorite 5-star pick.
TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL. 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 musical theater, an unforgettable cast of real-life characters populates this richly fictionalized historical saga.
THE BEAUTY DOCTOR. In 1907, a young woman’s quest to become a physician entangles her in a web of treachery that challenges her most cherished beliefs about a doctor’s sacred duty and threatens to destroy all she loves. Set in New York City, this gripping historical thriller delves into the early practice of cosmetic surgery.
Elizabeth is a summa cum laude graduate of Northwestern University (Evanston, Illinois) and a former public relations executive. She and her family live near Phoenix, Arizona.