Sunday, January 13, 2013

Glamorous Illusions - Lisa T. Bergren

Title: Glamorous Illusions (The Grand Tour Series #1)
Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Paperback: 402 pages
Publisher: David C Cook
Published date: June 2012
FTC: Won from Cara Putman's blog

I'm not sure what internet links catapulted me one day to Cara Putman's (Christian author) blog.  I've never read one of her books but they do sound interesting.  Anyway, she was giving away a copy of Glamorous Illusions and the cover and synopsis sounded fun.  I'm in love with the cover girl's dress.  Over the holiday season this past year I was just so tired of depressing books (I had started and stopped a couple of them) and I just wanted a light fun read.  This was perfect for that moment.

Back of the book:

It's the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.

One fateful afternoon, a stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her past...a secret that will radically changer her future.

Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a trip intended to finish a person's education and solidify an understanding of refinement and ancient culture. As she travels from England to France with kin she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes there are far greater challenges ahead...

The first book in the Grand Tour series will take you on a journey of cultural refinement -- but, moreover, on an inner journey of self-discovery.

My thoughts:

I just realized by typing the synopsis that it is kind of vague.  So here's a tad bit more:

Cora isn't just a farm girl but she's on break from college - her family scrimped and saved to send their only daughter to college to become a teacher.  So while she can milk cows and kill and pluck a chicken, she's also fairly educated and loves to learn.

It definitely alludes to Cora finding out that unbeknownst to her, she's related to one of the most wealthiest men in the country, a Montana copper king.  To finally atone for his past and include her in his family, he is sending her with his other children on a Grand Tour of Europe.

This series is definitely about a young girl's journey of self-discovery - she needs to figure out who she is and how her new family, her old family, her new wealth, her faith -- how everything fits and how to be true to her real self.

I had fun with this book.  I loved that the author is making it a series because it really gives her room to give each character depth.  The narration isn't only through Cora's eyes but chapters are given to Cora's new found father, the copper king, as well as the young and handsome tour guide assistant who is leading the Grand Tour.  I actually really enjoyed the tour guide Will's perspective and character and loved that it is included.  Cora is a fun character to follow because she has spunk but not a crazy amount to be unbelievable.  I also thought her struggles where realistic as she tries to navigate the new world she's thrust into and not sure if she wants.

Just FYI, this is a Christian fiction series but it's very well done and not annoyingly overt.  Cora's character is strengthened by the fact that she sometimes prays a quick sentence or two which shows how she is struggling in certain areas.  If you are not used to reading Christian books I don't think this one would put you off at all.  There's also a bit of romance as Cora obviously catches the eye of a gentleman or two which made for a fun read.  While this book is 400 pages it's definitely easy to read in a day or two.

Obviously a fun aspect of the book/series is the Grand Tour - I love popping through the countries in the early 1900s and sightseeing with the characters.  This is a fun period in history when things were still pretty lighthearted before two world wars helped devastate a continent.

While I won't be waiting on pins and needles, I'd still love to grab book #2 when it comes out and follow the characters on the rest of their journey.

Ooo a bit of GoodReads searching showed me that book #2 is coming out in Spring of this year and is called Grave Consequences and book #3, Glittering Promises, comes out in the Fall.

Also Reviewed By:

Bookish in a Box (4.5/5 stars)
A Bookish Libraria (4/5 stars)
Luxury Reading  (5/5 stars)

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