Book Review: Glamorous Illusions

8 Jun
It was the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, so is her father’s health. Cora is carrying on, helping her mother run their Montana farm until a stranger comes to call, and everything changes. Cora then learns a secret that will radically change her future: she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king who has come to claim her.Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person’s education, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings she’s never known, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father, new family, and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King – a Father who is the only One who can truly heal.

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

My Impressions:

Cora Diehl is a simple farm girl.  Her childhood was rich in love and faith, if not in material wealth.  Her dream is to become a teacher after finishing her studies at the Normal School.  But when she returns home at the end of the school term, her world is turned upside down.  Her beloved father suffers a stroke and the farm is on the brink of ruin due to drought.  Determined to keep the farm solvent, Cora considers sacrificing her dreams.  But a startling revelation from the richest man in Montana sweeps Cora into a world she could not even imagine — opulent surroundings, beautiful clothes, undreamed of travel and servants to meet her every need.   But the fairy tale world has a dark side — new and resentful siblings and the temptation to forget her upbringing and identity.  Lisa Bergren brings the early years of the twentieth century to life in the pages of Glamorous Illusions, book 1 in the Grand Tour series.

Billed as a means to find their place in society, the Grand Tour introduced the children of the wealthy to European society and culture.  As the characters embark on their journey of discovery, the reader is swept into the grand homes, ballrooms and museums right along with them.  The cities of London and especially Paris come to life as Cora and her companions take horseback rides down the Champs Elysees and and picnic at the Trianon.  The setting is rich in detail.  The characters are also well-drawn.  Cora’s story is told in the first person giving a glimpse into her thoughts, fears and struggles.  Will’s (the assistant to the bear or tour guide) story is told in the third person creating an objective balance.

Bergren explores the theme of identity and how our past, experiences and perceptions of others shape who we think we are.  Added to the mix is the identity we find through our relationship with God.  Cora’s struggle is very real.  Just who is she — Cora Diehl or Cora Kensington?  I found Bergren’s handling of the question compelling.  Towards the end of the book, Cora comes to a decision, but this is just book 1 in the series.  Cora, Will, and the Morgan and Kensington families have many more places to visit.

This is a book for lover’s of historical fiction.  You feel you are indeed in Cora’s world.  But it is also for those who love a well-written story with complex characters, a setting that comes to life and themes to get you thinking.  And the cover is simply gorgeous.  I really liked Glamorous Illusions and am betting you will too.

Highly Recommended.

(I received Glamorous Illusions in conjunction with LitFuse.  The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

To read what others have to say, click HERE.

What is our “true” identity? Join the conversation at Lisa Tawn Begren’s Author Chat Facebook Event Page. On the evening of 6/27 we’ll gather to talk about our spiritual journey, share our stories and a few laughs.

In the meantime, celebrate with Lisa by entering her Glamorous Illusions Giveaway!

One “glamorous” winner will receive a “Glam Prize Pack”:

  • A $350 Visa Cash Card (Oh … think of what you could do: treat yourself to a mani/pedi, a fabulous new dress, dinner for two, or even a two-night escape in a lovely hotel – you’re only limited by your imagination!)
  • Glamorous Illusions (by Lisa Tawn Begren)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends 6/26/12. Winner will be announced at Lisa’s “Glamorous Illusions” Facebook Party on  6/27 {Fun begins at 5pm PDT / 8pm EDT}. Lisa will be hosting an evening of meaningful chat, fun trivia, laughter, and encouragement – bring your friends! She’ll also be giving away some GREAT prizes: gift certificates, books, and a Book Club Prize Pack! (Ten copies of the book for your small group or book club and a live chat with Lisa via video or phone.)

So grab a few of your friends and your copy of Glamorous Illusions and join Lisa on the evening of June 27th for an evening of fun.

Don’t miss a moment of the fun. RSVP TODAY and tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 27th!

2 Responses to “Book Review: Glamorous Illusions”

  1. Julie @ My Favorite Pastime June 8, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    I enjoyed your review! I also enjoyed the book and will post my review on the 14th.

    • rbclibrary June 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm #

      Thanks. I will check out yours on the 14th.

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