All that glitters

is not gold.

In the early 20th century, a starry-eyed child dreams of acting in New York City only to discover that life fails to glitter.

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The recklessness

of youth and desire

When Miriam Levine’s plans of acting in New York City are foiled because of an almost fatal mis-step, she recovers by doing the unthinkable. This decision causes her angst, but allows her to live out her dream in 1920s New York and Provincetown, MA, where she hobnobs with famous people like Eugene O’Neill.

Inspired by real people

and historical settings

The impetus for Beguiled was the life that author Karma Kitaj’s mother, Jeanne Brooks Kitaj, could have had, if she’d had the gumption. The setting is Boston’s ethnically diverse old West End in the early 1900s, then Greenwich Village and Provincetown during the Roaring Twenties.

About the Author

Karma Kitaj

In publishing books about high-achieving people, Karma Kitaj (pronounced “Key-Tie”) has tied together a long-standing love of books with a family emphasis on lifelong learning. As a teenager, Karma devoured Great Books – Dostoevsky, Proust, Kafka. Her mother, an English teacher, grilled her on grammar so she could place first in state English and Latin competitions. In the mid-1980s, when she was turning 40, Karma, a licensed social worker with a thriving private practice, returned to school to complete her Ph.D., responding to her elderly Viennese grandmother’s insistent question: “When are you going to finish your studies?”

Meet the Strong Female Characters

in Karma’s Books

Do you want to delve into the life stories of awe-inspiring people, women who’ve overcome obstacles to get to the top of their profession? Or read about the life of a starry-eyed girl who dreams of acting in New York City in the early 20th century only to discover that life fails to glitter?

Beguiled takes its place among a handful of memorable novels set in early twentieth-century Jewish Boston.  Well-researched and highly readable, it is especially noteworthy for its focus on women.

Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, and coauthor of The Jews of Boston.  
2018-02-14T17:21:30+00:00
Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, and coauthor of The Jews of Boston.  
Beguiled takes its place among a handful of memorable novels set in early twentieth-century Jewish Boston.  Well-researched and highly readable, it is especially noteworthy for its focus on women.
tour de force. This “coming of age” novel set in the early 20th century reminds us how far we have come, despite setbacks, for women’s sexual and reproductive rights and lifestyle choices. Beguiled is an inspiring expression of Kitaj’s personal growth, in mastering skills of historical fiction and creating a process to better understand her family heritage. Bravo, for this literary and personal accomplishment.

 

Joan Ditzion, an “aging activist,” LICSW, Co-Founder of Our Bodies,Ourselves and co-author of 9 Editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves, Ourselves and Our Children, Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause.

 

2018-02-10T11:01:02+00:00

Joan Ditzion, an “aging activist,” LICSW, Co-Founder of Our Bodies,Ourselves and co-author of 9 Editions of Our Bodies, Ourselves, Ourselves and Our Children, Our Bodies, Ourselves: Menopause.

 

A tour de force. This “coming of age” novel set in the early 20th century reminds us how far we have come, despite setbacks, for women’s sexual and reproductive rights and lifestyle choices. Beguiled is an inspiring expression of Kitaj’s personal growth, in mastering skills of historical fiction and creating a process to better understand her family heritage. Bravo, for this literary and personal accomplishment.  
Karma Kitaj’s Beguiled is a wonderful read in the style of Mary Antin’s Promised Land. The story, about a young aspiring actress (Miriam Levine) from Boston’s West End, is a vivid snapshot into the life of an immigrant family in the 1920s.

Duane Lucia, Director, West End Museum, Boston

2018-03-19T20:59:13+00:00

Duane Lucia, Director, West End Museum, Boston

Karma Kitaj’s Beguiled is a wonderful read in the style of Mary Antin’s Promised Land. The story, about a young aspiring actress (Miriam Levine) from Boston’s West End, is a vivid snapshot into the life of an immigrant family in the 1920s.
A gripping story, a wonderful journey for young --and not so young-- readers into the dramas of the early twentieth century. As the protagonist Miriam Levine ventures into the big world, she learns the limits and opportunities facing women as they dream of more than the ordinary.

Hasia R. Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History
Director, Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University

2018-03-12T19:11:37+00:00

Hasia R. Diner, Paul S. and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History
Director, Goldstein-Goren Center for American Jewish History, New York University

A gripping story, a wonderful journey for young --and not so young-- readers into the dramas of the early twentieth century. As the protagonist Miriam Levine ventures into the big world, she learns the limits and opportunities facing women as they dream of more than the ordinary.
"Miriam is a brave and compelling heroine. Her optimistic personality, resilience and social grace make her event-filled life a reader’s pleasure."

Eileen Charbonneau, Historical Romance Author, Watch Over Me

2018-01-24T08:04:34+00:00

Eileen Charbonneau, Historical Romance Author, Watch Over Me

"Miriam is a brave and compelling heroine. Her optimistic personality, resilience and social grace make her event-filled life a reader’s pleasure."
Beguiled takes its place among a handful of memorable novels set in early twentieth-century Jewish Boston.  Well-researched and highly readable, it is especially noteworthy for its focus on women.

Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, and coauthor of The Jews of Boston.  
2018-01-29T13:12:45+00:00
Jonathan D. Sarna, University Professor and Joseph H. & Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, Brandeis University, and coauthor of The Jews of Boston.  
Beguiled takes its place among a handful of memorable novels set in early twentieth-century Jewish Boston.  Well-researched and highly readable, it is especially noteworthy for its focus on women.
"Karma Kitaj captures the excitement of the era and brings us on a journey through pulsing New York City in the 1920’s..."

Robin Lynn, Guide to New York Urban Landscapes

2018-01-24T08:03:46+00:00

Robin Lynn, Guide to New York Urban Landscapes

"Karma Kitaj captures the excitement of the era and brings us on a journey through pulsing New York City in the 1920’s..."
"A compelling, well-researched historical novel by a writer with a psychotherapist's understanding of human psychology."

Ayelet Waldman, Author of Love and Treasure 

2018-01-24T08:05:07+00:00

Ayelet Waldman, Author of Love and Treasure 

"A compelling, well-researched historical novel by a writer with a psychotherapist's understanding of human psychology."

News & Events

Brattleboro VT Literary Festival hosted Beguiled on 10/13-14

Brattleboro, VT, the vibrant literary community that once honored Saul Bellow, hosts the Literary Festival every year. Too late to submit an application to speak at this fabled event, I opted instead to buy a table at the attractive Main Street building, with the...

Journalist Susie Davidson wrote lovely review of Beguiled

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of giving a book event at the WEST END MUSEUM, the neighborhood of Miriam Levine's family, in my historical novel BEGUILED. Duane Lucia interviewed me. He was the former director of the Museum that honors this multi-ethnic immigrant...

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