Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is an author of historical fiction including her new release, TEMPTATION RAG: A NOVEL. Her medical thriller, THE BEAUTY DOCTOR, has been honored as a finalist in the 2018 Eric Hoffer Book Award and the 2017 Arizona Literary Awards, with a gold medallion from the Book Readers Appreciation Group, a 5-star rating from Readers' Favorite, and a recommendation by the Historical Novel Society's book review.
Describe your latest release, TEMPTATION RAG.
TEMPTATION RAG dramatically explores significant social and moral dilemmas of the early twentieth century—many of which still confront us today, including cultural appropriation, gender inequality and sexual abuse of power. Readers will see the ragtime era in an entirely new light and be left pondering the emotional journeys and ultimate fates of the book’s captivating characters. This is a story I felt was important to tell. I was drawn to it, at first, because my husband’s grandfather, Mike Bernard, was such a prominent part of the ragtime era in New York. But when my research led me to discover the significant controversies surrounding ragtime music, particularly regarding some of the injustices suffered by African American musicians during that time, I realized there was a much bigger story here. My goal as a writer was to craft a novel with historical color and emotional impact, and, in the course of a compelling and fast-moving tale, to raise some essential but perplexing questions about human nature.
Briefly, what is the story line of TEMPTATION RAG?
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 talented young 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. As Mike abandons serious music to ruthlessly defend his hard-won title, Ragtime King of the World, May struggles to find her voice as an artist and a woman. It is not until years after their youthful romance, when they cross paths again, that they must finally confront the truth about themselves and each other. TEMPTATION RAG is a remarkable story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness.
A remarkable story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness. From award-winning author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, this fictionalized historical saga set in ragtime-era New York includes an unforgettable cast of real-life characters from vaudeville and early African American musical theater.
In 1907, a doctor's involvement in the early twentieth century eugenics movement raises troubling questions for his young female assistant who becomes ensnared in a web of treachery that challenges her most cherished beliefs about a physician’s sacred duty and threatens to destroy all she loves.