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.
Love this story...talk about rags to riches! Cora Deihl comes home from Normal School to find her Dad collapsed from a stroke. She ends up doing all the chores on the farm...including carrying water to water the wheat. Which in the end dying, after all the hard work, there is no return and they are going to loose the farm.
Enter a complete stranger and her world is turned upside. She is no longer the poor farm girl...she is now a member of the Ultra Rich!!!
So begins her new journey of meeting unknown relatives, and being waited on! She begins a "Grand Tour"...never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined this. Such sites and splendor, and unbelievable food and lush surroundings.
There is also some romance thrown in...but with whom. I feel like I've been left on a cliff hanger, and thank goodness there are some more answers to come.
This is such an enjoyable read...loved the descriptions and be prepared for possible kidnappings, and murder. Don't miss this one!
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Tours and the Publisher David C Cook, and was not required to give a positive review.
Cora Diehl has only known Alan and Alma Diehl as her parents, at least until the summer of 1913. It was an extremely dry summer, with questionable hope of keeping their farm in Montana up and running. When her dad suffers two strokes, Cora's life changes abruptly. Her life dramatically changes even more when a stranger comes to their farm and Cora discovers that her dad isn't her real father. This stranger, Mr. Wallace Kensington, is her real father. Her mother's secret has been unfolded.
Cora Kensington is escorted off with her father while her parents head to Minneapolis for additional treatment for her dad. As she comes to terms with her parentage, she finds herself invited to take a "Grand Tour" of Europe with her two half-sisters, one half-brother, and the three Morgan siblings. She's fitted for glamorous new gowns and introduced to her siblings and their friends a week before touring Europe, along with their two guides-an uncle and his nephew, William. The Tour is â€˜intended to finish a person's education and solidify an understanding of refinement and ancient culture.'
Lisa skillfully and intimately describes the initial animosity between Cora and her siblings, along with their close friends, the Morgans. Her feelings of loneliness and isolation resonate within you. As they make their way to Europe aboard ship, the animosity remains kindled, though small instances seem to break down the walls when they weather a horrific storm just one year after the sinking of the Titanic. Your hopes rise right along with those of Cora's and get dashed just as quickly.
Insight into the world of the wealthy and elite are richly elaborated through the eyes of Cora-the beauty of the countryside, the elegant mansions, the elaborate decor, and the refined living of the wealthy friends of Mr. Kensington. However, though wealthy and refined, we find these very human hosts reacting negatively to Cora's lineage.
This is when the adventures really start to take place. Lisa engages you in the new festivity of plans in England all the way to the grandeur city of Paris. The â€˜ideal' of refinement and ancient culture had begun! There's love and romance stirring in the air for Cora, with not just one romantic encounter, but two, leaving her sisters in a jealous fit. So apropos for family sibling rivalry!
The dual points of view of Cora and William set the stage for this whole "Grand Tour" rendezvous. Having familiarized myself with the code of dress for the times through Pinterest, I found reading Lisa's book so vivid and exciting. I felt as though I was seeing and experiencing things right along with Cora-the gowns, the dancing, the ballroom, the romance. I even found myself questioning whether I fit would fit in after living on a quiet ranch in Wyoming.
From rags to riches, Cora tries to find her place in this new world of wealth and beauty. Just who is she amidst all this glamor? Does she really belong in this lifestyle? Will she find a place within the Kensington family? What is she really like?
This is a fabulous read for historical value as well as the excitement of the times! The cover says it all! I just hate to think I have to wait for the next books in the series!
This book was provided by Amy Lathrop and Christen Krumm of Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my honest review. No monetary compensation was exchanged.
In Glamorous Illusions, Lisa T. Bergren sweeps the reader away on a journey that begins on a struggling farm, to the copper mines of Montana; to the gorgeous cathedrals, chateaus, and palaces of the very wealthy in England and Paris. Our heroine, Cora Diehl, has come home to her farm in Montana to visit her parents after attending college, only to have her father suffer a stroke and is now unable to work the farm. Then a stranger arrives on her doorstep with a shocking secret and a proposition...one that she realizes she cannot refuse.
Cora finds herself on a fabulous journey of self discovery and adventure with her siblings--siblings she never even knew existed, in a world quite different than her own. With much trepidation and anticipation, Cora joins them on The Grand Tour of Europe led by tour guides, Will McCabe and his uncle. Suddenly thrust into a world of masked balls, gorgeous gowns, art museums, and magnificent palaces, Cora begins to question who she is and where she really belongs. And two very different men are falling for her; one an extremely wealthy, French Prince Charming, and her tour guide, Will. Where does Cora's path to self discovery lead her, and will she ever feel comfortable in this opulent lifestyle, and with her haughty siblings? Is she a Kensington or a Diehl?
Lisa T. Bergren takes us on a wonderful journey of places most of us only dream of visiting! Her use of imagery, and firsthand knowledge of Europe will fascinate and draw the reader in with a novel that is nigh unto impossible to put down. I loved the unpredictability and excitement of this book-one never knows what is going to happen next, not even which honorable character our heroine is going to end up with. With a wonderful cliff-hanger of a conclusion (to be continued in next book of series) and a spiritual thread throughout...this is an absolute must read! Nicely done, Lisa Bergren!
Cora Diehl is returning to Dunnigan, Montana, near Glacier National Park, after completing her first year of training to be a teacher. Her father suffers a stroke and the family is about to lose their farm, when a wealthy visitor appears on their doorstep with news that will change Cora's life.
Apparently, she is not Cora Diehl, daughter of an impoverished farmer, after all. She is Cora Kensington, daughter of an ex-senator and Montana copper-mining baron. A man who now wants an opportunity to develop a relationship with his illegitimate daughter, to introduce her to her half-siblings, and to send her on the Grand Tour of Europe under the supervision of Sir Stuart McCabe and his nephew, William McCabe.
Cora has been raised with a strong Christian faith, and this comes through constantly in her speech and thoughts. Travelling in England and Europe challenges Cora to consider and confirm her beliefs and priorities as she consorts with the rich and titled. It also provides the promise of romance and the beginnings of suspense that will no doubt be continued in the rest of the trilogy. The final two books, Grave Consequences and Glittering Promises, will be released in 2013.
I recently reviewed Leaving Lancaster, and commented that I found the changing points of view distracting. Glamorous Illusions is another book that is written with first person chapters (from Cora's point of view) alternating with chapters in the third person. Unlike Leaving Lancaster, each chapter is headed with the name of the point of view character, each has a distinctly different voice, and neither voice reads like that of a petulant teenager. I'm still not convinced of the technique of alternating between the first person and the third person point of view. But, in Glamorous Illusions, Lisa T Bergren proves that it can work in the hands of a competent writer.
Glamorous Illusions is well researched, but with a touch of modern sensibilities (e.g. the ongoing debate about whether treasures such as the Egyptian obelisks should be returned). There were a few annoying unanswered questions and one repeated plot point that I'm not convinced is historically accurate (and has the potential to derail the plot if it actually becomes important). This appears to be one of those trilogies that is the ongoing story of one main character, rather than three entirely separate stories about three related characters. For this reason, some readers may well prefer to wait until the final book is released before reading.
Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.