When Ivy Morgan decided to start the Church of Cana, she realized that the stay at her father’s old church would be brief. While many of his parishioners were busy worrying about their eternal souls, a few could read the papers and would find her op-eds preaching a decadent lifestyle without boundaries or regrets both subversive and blasphemous.
The abandoned Baptist church in Sugar Hill served two purposes. It put Ivy smack dab in the middle of the cultural epicenter of the United States; nowhere was the moral fabric of the country changing more rapidly than in Harlem. And it put New York City’s rich and famous within earshot of Ivy’s message.
In the children of New York City’s elite, Ivy found open minds, open sexuality, and open wallets. Her message of decadence appealed to the spoiled sons of bankers and politicians, who had never known a hard day’s work in their lives, and found Ivy’s brashness sexy. Young, educated women, fearing a life of submissiveness and torment at the hands of a misogynistic husband, have flocked to Ivy’s banner.
Whether they truly believed what she said, looked to her as some sort of spiritual guru, or merely found her desirable, was of little consequence to Ivy. They were all going to burn, so it didn’t matter. They provided Ivy with the money she needed to fund her lifestyle, and the company she needed to stay sane. Although it had been nine years, the feverish vision of the end of the world Ivy experienced as a teenager still plagued her when she was alone.
Unfortunately for Ivy, New York’s rich and famous enjoy the fine weather in the Hamptons, not in Sugar Hill. As May turns to June, her group of followers dwindles, and Ivy is forced to look elsewhere for her good time. A frequenter of Harlem’s upscale clubs and speakeasies, Ivy finds herself at the Blue Heaven Ballroom, where the manager smiles and leads her to a nearly empty table…