Beguiled is the story of feisty Miriam Levine, first generation Russian Jewish girl from Boston’s West End of the early 1900s. The starry-eyed child, beset by obstacles, dreams of going on stage, introduced to theater by her culture-maven Pop.

Her fantasy of being a star in New York City is foiled because of an almost fatal misstep. Resilient as she is, she recovers by defying convention and doing the unthinkable. Her decision causes angst, but offers the thrill of living out her dream in 1920s New York and Provincetown, Massachusetts.

The backdrop of the flu epidemic, the Great War through the Roaring Twenties and the eventual stock market crash set the stage for tumultuous happenings that challenge Miriam’s spirit, mirroring dilemmas the US faces today.

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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.
"Karma Kitaj captures the excitement of the era and brings us on a journey through pulsing New York City in the 1920’s. With its jagged profiles and streamlined forms, the Art Deco style made the whole city seem like a design experiment.This architecturally splendid metropolis and the contrasting low scale enclave of Greenwich Village with its progressives, radicals and artists attracted young Miriam Levine, the protagonist in Beguiled. We walk its streets and feel its pace...a fascinating trip backward in time."

Robin Lynn
Guide to New York Urban Landscapes
W.W. Norton, 2013

2017-12-28T12:34:28+00:00

Robin Lynn
Guide to New York Urban Landscapes
W.W. Norton, 2013

"Karma Kitaj captures the excitement of the era and brings us on a journey through pulsing New York City in the 1920’s. With its jagged profiles and streamlined forms, the Art Deco style made the whole city seem like a design experiment.This architecturally splendid metropolis and the contrasting low scale enclave of Greenwich Village with its progressives, radicals and artists attracted young Miriam Levine, the protagonist in Beguiled. We walk its streets and feel its pace...a fascinating trip backward in time."
"A compelling, well-researched historical novel by a writer with a psychotherapist's understanding of human psychology. The dilemmas of the characters are fresh and modern and the action is fast-paced."

Ayelet Waldman
Author of Love and Treasure 

2018-01-24T08:01:53+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. The dilemmas of the characters are fresh and modern and the action is fast-paced."
"The first quarter of the American Century is reflected in the life of Miriam Levine, daughter of Russian Jews who fled devastating pogroms to settle in Boston’s West End. Miriam is a brave and compelling heroine. Her optimistic personality, resilience and social grace make her event-filled life a reader’s pleasure. Here’s hoping her story continues through the next part of the 20th century."

Eileen Charbonneau
Historical Romance Author, Watch Over Me

2018-01-24T08:01:26+00:00

Eileen Charbonneau
Historical Romance Author, Watch Over Me

"The first quarter of the American Century is reflected in the life of Miriam Levine, daughter of Russian Jews who fled devastating pogroms to settle in Boston’s West End. Miriam is a brave and compelling heroine. Her optimistic personality, resilience and social grace make her event-filled life a reader’s pleasure. Here’s hoping her story continues through the next part of the 20th century."
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.  
A gripping story, a wonderful journey for young --and not so young-- readers into the dramas of the early twentieth century. BEGUILED will take the reader into immigrant neighborhoods to experience how first generation American girls lived the American dream. As the protagonist Miriam Levine ventures into the big world, she learns much about 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

2018-03-12T19:07:54+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. BEGUILED will take the reader into immigrant neighborhoods to experience how first generation American girls lived the American dream. As the protagonist Miriam Levine ventures into the big world, she learns much about the limits and opportunities facing women as they dream of more than the ordinary.
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.

Look Inside

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?”