Evocative of the turn-of-the-century ragtime era in New York City, Temptation Rag: A Novel is the second release by award-winning historical fiction novelist Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard, which is now available.

A remarkable story about the price of freedom, the longing for immortality, and the human need to find forgiveness, this richly fictionalized historical saga spans 30 years and features an unforgettable cast of real-life characters, from vaudeville's greatest stars to the geniuses of early African-American musical theater.

Temptation Rag's female protagonist is May Convery, a privileged yet unhappy young woman living in Victorian-era New York City who dreams of becoming a poet. Against her parents' wishes, she boldly pursues a relationship with Mike Bernard, a poor but talented aspiring concert pianist. 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 isn't until years after their youthful romance, when they cross paths again, that they must finally confront the truth about themselves and each other. But is it too late?

Temptation Rag brilliantly explores historically significant social and moral dilemmas of the early twentieth century era-many of which still confront us today, including cultural appropriation, gender inequality and sexual abuse of power. Readers of this fascinating tale 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," says Bernard. "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."

Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is an award-winning author of historical fiction. Her first novel, The Beauty Doctor, has been recognized by the Eric Hoffer Book Award (2018, Fiction Finalist), the Arizona Literary Awards (2017, Honorable Mention, Published Fiction), and the Book Readers Appreciation Group (Medallion Honoree). She toured for nearly a decade as a professional vocalist, flutist and songwriter. Her first album was produced by former Santana keyboardist Tom Coster. A summa cum laude Communications graduate of Northwestern University, Bernard eventually traded her microphone for a pen. She settled in California, promoting international expositions for the music trade (Director of Public Relations, NAMM). She later moved to New York City, where she was the Communications Director for the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. She was instrumental in founding the internationally-subscribed Aesthetic Surgery Journal and served as its Executive Editor. Later, she was a primary consultant to the National Cosmetic Network, in partnership with the plastic surgery program of Johns Hopkins University, and an editorial consultant for the book Be Your Best: A Comprehensive Guide to Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. Currently a full-time author, Bernard lives in Arizona with her husband and their black lab, Pearly Mae.

Connect with Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and at www.ehbernard.com.

Temptation Rag: A Novel is now in paperback and e-book editions on Amazon and other retailers.

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