Temptation Rag is a historical fiction novel that draws from the real history of the ragtime era. Throughout her novel Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard examines the temptations that exist within the world of fame and influence. Her work connects a number of figures through their choices within the culture of ragtime.
Temptation Rag spans from 1895 to 1943, though the primary actions of the story end before 1930 and the Great Depression. We are first introduced to Mary Convery when she is seventeen and desperately in love with her piano teacher, Mike Bernard. The two begin a secret affair, but Mike cares little for the young Mary and instead pushes her away when her family threatens his career. Shocked by this Mary finds herself struggling to cope with her life after Bernard and for a time loses her ability to delve into her own creative pursuits. As the story unfolds a number of other characters are introduced who begin to reconnect the tie between Mary and Mike, though both have changed a great deal since she was a young girl.
Throughout her novel Bernard examines the choices that people make and how they cope with the temptations around them. As we see Mary begin to grow and mature, we watch as Mike become entirely fixated on fame and money. When they do being to interact again the dynamic has shifted, but neither is entirely prepared for what lies between them. Beyond these two characters we also follow the relationships of other couples who are connected to what will become known as the ragtime era and the choices they make either for themselves or the ones they love. As a dramatic historical fiction novel, Temptation Rag is an engaging read. Bernard works to develop every character that she presents by sharing a number of details about their lives before the became connected to Mary or Mike. You can find Temptation Rag out in December, but you can pre-order it today.
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