Well rounded tale, with an excellent portrayal of class distinction in the years before WWI.
I absolutely loved this book, with a setting and time period that is so in vogue right now, (think Downton Abbey), and a leading character that won my heart over from the start.
When her father has a stroke, Cora's life changes forever in ways that she could never imagine in her wildest dreams, and I liked the way that she handled herself in the many tough situations that she had to endure.
The characters were really well developed, and many were not straight up what I thought they were on first meeting them.
I liked the quick and steady pace of the plot, and how parts of the story were told in first person by Cora, and others in third person by others, such as Wallace and Will.
Overall, I think this is a book that I would most certainly recommend to fans of historical novels with a wonderful depth to them. And I loved going on the grand tour with Cora and her new found companions. Highly recommend!
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Christian historical fiction is a genre that I've become more involved in reading lately. Lisa T. Bergren's Glamorous Illusions is the beginning of a series set during a time period I've not read much about -- the early 20th century.
In the summer of 1913, Cora returns home from a year of study in her preparation to become a teacher. There is no way she could have guessed the turn her life is about to take when a long-kept secret is revealed. Cora moves from trying to help her parents maintain the failing family farm to a life of privilege with the family of a copper king. She reluctantly agrees to accompany newly found relatives on a Grand Tour of Europe.
As Cora travels through England, France, and Italy, experiencing things she never would have dreamed possible, she struggles to "find herself." She is torn between loyalty to her parents and the life they've given her and the possibilities opening up in her new life. How can she reconcile the two completely different worlds and maintain a sense of who she really is? And what will she make of the opportunities for love that come along when she least expects them?
One of the things I really enjoy about historical fiction is the opportunity to learn facts of the time period, in the setting of an interesting story. I had never heard of the practice of the Grand Tour, which was evidently a part of the education of privileged young people (especially young gentlemen) in past centuries. The group was led by a tutor/chaperone, called a bear, who was responsible for exposing the young people to different cultures, teaching and protecting their clients as they traveled.
Lisa Bergen tells an interesting story that kept me involved in the twists and turns of the plot. And the ending . . . well, she definitely left me hanging and wanting more. I'll be anxiously awaiting the second book of this series.
This book was provided by Litfuse Publicity Group for my honest review.
What would it be like to be raised on a Montana farm, a farm that barely eek's out a living, struggling to pay the essential bills and put food you didn't raise on the table. Cora Diehl and her parents know all too well what it is like. With a drought, and her fathers ill health, Cora is wondering how she will continue her schooling at Normal School (teacher's college).
Now imagine that a man, Wallace Kensington, a Montana Copper King, comes to your door. He tells you that he is your biological father, and tells you that you have siblings. He also offers to pay for your father's medical expenses, take care of the farm's debts, pay for your schooling, and send you on an European tour. What would you do? This was Cora's dilemma.
Cora decides, with the encouragement of her mother, to go with Mr. Kensington, which opens up a new world for her. Suddenly money isn't an issue, but, not being raised in it, it is like entering a whole new world. A world of butlers, personal maids, formal dining and fancy clothes.
I enjoyed the story, meeting Cora, Mr. Kensington and his children, the Morgans and Will. The journey across the Atlantic on the Olympic, the Titanic's sister ship, was almost uneventful. England and France, the places I only get to visit in books, was romantic, heartbreaking, exciting, as well as, suspenseful.
I am looking forward to the next books in the series,and I hope that these same characters will be featured as the story continues.
I give Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren 5 out of 5 stars.
**Glamorous Illusions (book one in the Grand Tour Series) by Lisa Tawn Bergren was provided for me free by Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review.
The setting is the early 1900s, when it was the tradition for wealthy young adults to take a â€˜Grand Tour of Europe' to broaden their minds and see other cultures. Cora Diehl just arrived off the train from her first year at normal school where she is training to become a teacher. When her father suffers a stroke, her whole world turns upside down. Cora is determined to keep the farm running so her parents can pay off loans and she can return to college, but her father's health takes a turn for the worse, and Cora's life turns upside down when her previously unknown birth father, shows up and presents her with a shocking choice. Cora returns to Butte, Montana with him to join with her half siblings on a grand tour of Europe. Cora must deal with her worry for her parents, her anger over their decision to not tell her of her parentage, a new father, and siblings who are shocked and angry, all while traveling around Europe.
This is a great read. I cannot wait for the next installment; I will definitely read them all. The characters are strong with a desire to turn to the Lord for his strength, and Bergren tells the story through multiple eyes allowing the reader to develop a relationship with them. Bergeren does a beautiful job of describing the fashions and the scenery. This is a great choice for readers who prefer their romances to come with a little extra including suspense, history, and heart tugging sorrow.
Glamorous Illusions is the first book in the new series entitled Grand Tour Series. I am anxiously awaiting the rest of the series after reading this book. I absolutely love the cover of this book and I wanted to read it from the moment I opened it in the mail!
Set in 1913, Cora Kensington discovers that her life isn't what she once thought it was. She always thought she was a farmer's daughter. However, she has learned from a series of events that she is really the daughter of a copper king. Her biological father now wants to have Cora in his life. Through a new twist of events, Cora is given the opportunity to get to know her siblings on a trip around Europe.
I wouldn't necessarily call this an extremely pleasant trip at first. Her siblings dislike her and scorn her, even though it wasn't her fault that her parents had her out of wedlock.
While trying to accept this new life and new family, she has to learn on the one constant ....God. She has to find her self-worth in Him and rely on Him to make sense of this for her. She comes to realize things about herself that she never would have learned had she not walked through what some people might call, a mess.
I love how this book is written some in the first person and some in the third. It always makes me feel like I know the character more personally because I'm inside their head. I also get the "big picture" look to give me an overview look. Can't wait to see what is revealed in the rest of the series!
I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest opinion of this book.