Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard


Praise & Reviews

“An unusual, exciting and turbulent time comes alive in Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard’s talented hands. Fascinating real-life characters make Temptation Rag an emotional and page-turning story of passion, ambition and desire.” MEGAN CHANCE, bestselling author of Bone River and Inamorata

“Author Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard captures the style of the ragtime era. Music, art and culture spring from every page of this delightfully artistic work.” READERS’ FAVORITE Book Review,

“Temptation Rag” by Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is a richly satisfying and beautifully rendered tale of . . . those who inhabited the gritty world of New York’s City’s vaudeville theaters and ragtime bars . . . Ms. Bernard has used poetic license to fill in the voids that history has left blank. Her style and subject matter reminded me in many ways of the late great E. L. Doctorow. . . What is the price of freedom? How do we leave a legacy? How does one forgive the unforgivable? These questions and many more under-gird this well told tale.” THE WHITE RHINO REPORT 

“Terrific historical research and deft writing provide a striking portrait of racial and gender inequality in the ragtime era. An unforgettable and deeply human story.” —FREDRIC TULSKY, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist

“Bernard weaves a tale of real and fictional characters set during the rise and fall of ragtime music in the U.S., between 1895 and 1929. . . By 1912, there are hints that the musical scene is evolving: ragtime is on the way out and jazz in. The characters must all cope with a fast-changing world . . . I learned some things about the early music business and enjoyed the story.” B. J. SEDLOCK, HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY Book Reviews

“The author immediately picked me up and set me down right in the middle of the time period. She fleshed Mike and May out to perfection and brought them to life, complete with flaws, ambitions, dreams, poor decisions and all that encompasses being a human being. The plot moved quickly, spiraling posthaste to its stunning conclusion. I couldn’t put it down, Friends. The cast of characters itself is enough to make this novel unforgettable. Absolutely beautifully done, and a definite recommend.”PURSUING STACIE: LIVING BEYOND THE TITLE Book Reviews

“Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard shows us through the life of Mike Bernard how and why the history of ragtime was re-written. This book allows readers to understand that cultural appropriation is all about racism. The suppression of African American musicians is very much a part of Temptation Rag…Recommended for people who want to know what life was like for women and minorities at the turn of the 20th century in the U.S., and for those who are interested in the history of music.” FLYING-HIGH REVIEWS,

“Although this novel is fiction, I felt as though it was non-fiction throughout the entire book.  I was so caught up in the lives of [Bernard’s] characters, that I even heard ragtime music in my head. I could not put the book down. Great idea for your next Book Club reading.”JUDY SHIELDS, THE HOLLYWOOD TIMES

Temptation Rag is a gripping page-turner that has romance, history and music and is recommended for readers who appreciate a smart retelling of history through multiple points of view. It might even introduce some readers to the joyful sounds of ragtime.” SA EXAMINER Book Review

“The author’s character development is fantastic. Her characters are honest and far from perfect, especially our male protagonist Mike Bernard. There were times throughout this book that I loved him . . . and then there were other times that I despised the man.  It says a lot about an author’s writing when they can create that type of internal push and pull around a character’s personality and life. It kept me reading late into the night . . . Fantastically written, a quick read, and an addicting page turner.” RAD BABES READ Book Review

“Bernard has a great way of setting the scene and making the reader feel like they are really there. In addition to the music, Temptation Rag touches on the racial tensions of the time, and the plight of women as they fight for their rights. It’s a story of passion, grit, ambition, love, and hope. It was an intriguing read that I highly recommend!”PASSAGES TO THE PAST Book Review

“The author . . . allows you to follow the characters in such a way that you can see how each character plays a part in the rise and fall of the ragging era . . . I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Make sure you read the ‘Author’s Note’ because it tells you a little more about the real people involved and history behind the story. It’s very interesting.” SSOUTHERNLIFESTYLE Book Review

“Bernard was drawn to the story because her husband’s grandfather was Mike Bernard, a prominent part of the ragtime era in New York City. Her resulting research, however, led her to discover significant controversies surrounding ragtime music and provided a colorful backdrop for a compelling and fast-moving tale.” UPSTATE LAKE LIVING

“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.” BROADWAY WORLD

“Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard brought us a cast of characters that practically jump off the page, most of whom are heartily flawed . . . [yet are treated] with a level of kindness that makes . . . them garner the reader’s sympathy. [Her] writing style never felt artificial, allowing just enough jargon and dialect to feel authentic without it overpowering or distracting from the narrative. Changing points of view for different characters is not an unknown literary mechanic, but sometimes it can be jarring for the reader. Not so with this novel. . .Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard is a very talented writer who did an impressive job of balancing fiction with history and biography.” THE CHOCOLATE LADY’S Book Review Blog 

“A captivating tale based on tremendous research and on family history. The poems of Paul Laurence Dunbar, a sensitive African-American writer of the era, are incorporated and add fluidity. A ground-breaking novel, and a story we haven’t heard, that will leave the music of ragtime ringing in your ears!” MARCIA FINE, award-winning author of Paper Children: An Immigrant’s Legacy

“This beautifully written book is so candid and alive it unfolds like a movie. I was instantly drawn into its compelling pages . . . I highly recommend [it].”—CONNIE WERNER REICHERT, THE BADASS WRITER Book Reviews

“Ms. Bernard weaves her knowledge of music (both classical and ragtime) with true historical characters and fictionalized ones into a syncopated symphony of human drama. Through her deft use of character-specific dialogue and seamless descriptions of fashion and architecture, the author wields her literary baton in an efficient and impassioned manner, placing us comfortably (and for the 21st century reader, sometimes, uncomfortably) in the United States from 1895 to 1929. I recommend Temptation Rag for readers interested in the inner-workings of early 20th century America, historically popular music, and the human soul.” KATHRYN WOOD, author of Sea Snow: the gentle haunting of a 19th century lighthouse

“I was invested in May, the poet of the story, and Mike Bernard the pianist and musician . . . The author has a unique connection to the characters and it showed throughout the book. I’m not a big fan of historical fiction, but after reading this book, I may just have a change of heart. I recommend Temptation Rag to those who love history, music and the theater.” AUTHORS AND READERS BOOK CORNER 

“Throughout her novel Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard examines the temptations that exist within the world of fame and influence . . . As a dramatic historical fiction novel, Temptation Rag is an engaging read.” NGE Book Review

“Although historical fiction isn’t my favorite genre, I was very excited to read Temptation Rag. We meet May Convery, a rich girl from the upper class of society, who falls in love with her piano teacher Mike Bernard. Elizabeth Huthison Bernard weaves the stories of the lives of May and Mike throughout the decades. We see how May joins the Suffragettes (for women’s rights) and . . . becomes an inspiration for other women of her time. Although the story is fictional it . . . tells you the story of the music of that era. A wonderful read.” NEXTBOOKAROUNDTHECORNER

“If you have an interest in Ragtime music or the New York music scene of the early 1900’s, you’ll enjoy Temptation Rag. It’s a novel of love, loss, defiance, and ambition wrapped in musical flair.” PS ILLUSTRATED

“A sweeping historical novel of the Ragtime era.”100 PAGES A DAY 

“Every chapter was a new adventure. If you’re looking for a book that will delight and inspire you, then I highly recommend Temptation Rag.” MADLINE BROWN, PLAYINGALLTHEWAY Book Review

“Elizabeth Hutchison Bernard richly intertwines [her] characters to make the reader want to keep turning those pages to see what happens next . . . A fascinating read.” DICK LEONARDO, BOOK ROOM REVIEWS