June 21, 2012 8 Comments

‘GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS,’ by Lisa T. Bergren. Review of the 2012 novel, the first in the Grand Tour historical fiction series. All text © Rissi JC

Synopsis: It’s the summer of 1913, and Cora Kensington’s life on the family farm takes a dark turn. Not only do the crops fail, so does her father’s health. Cora carries, 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.

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Cora is invited to take the “Grand Tour” of Europe, a journey intended to finish the education of his children. As she travels from England to France with half-siblings didn’t know she had, Cora encounters the blessings of the Kensington family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love forms, she realizes the journey is only beginning.

Faced with the challenge of accepting her father and the identity that comes with it, Cora also struggles to accept that she is also the daughter of the one true King.

Glamorous Illusions, by Lisa T. Bergren | Book Review

REVIEW: This is the first novel I’ve read by Bergren and I must say, this novel’s premise did intrigue me like no other. Furthermore, when an author I do read compares this to Downton Abbey, I’m pretty much “sold” on the idea that this novel would be a keeper. The journey these pages take Cora on deals with identity (in the sense of emotional responsibility) and the importance of being true. Something each of us will be able to relate to in some form or another. 

Before I rave about everything beautiful in this novel, I will just lay out the cons; or in the interest of accuracy I should use the word singularly not plural. It’s written in its mass in the first person. Pinpointing exactly what it is about the style I don’t like is impossible. If the plot is good and the characters aren’t wimpy or unforgettable, it’s a prose easily overcome. However it seems to stifle so much potential but here Lisa uses a unique tactic by inviting us into the minds of other minor characters. Cora is the primary and her thoughts engage us in a more journal like format, but it’s a nice trade-off to get into the minds of her father and the young tour guide. Their perspective lends a lot to this first novel that is a rich historical novel. (Plus, let’s not forget the beautiful, descriptive costumes!)

That time I *finally* read a novel by Lisa T. Bergren. ‘GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS,’ by Lisa T. Bergren. #BookReviews #HistoricalFiction #FWArchives Click To Tweet

This is easily one of those stories that sweeps you up and makes the reader want to read the end first! Seriously, I did want to know how it was going to end. It’s such an intriguing premise. I suspect that most readers are rooting for Will, but I do rather like the dashing young Frenchman, Pierre. There is something about him that makes me want to see he and Cora’s relationship explored in future novels.

Everything weaves richly into a world in which the exquisite beauty of overseas travel is easy to picture. Cora’s temptation fight is genuine and well-written; who among us wouldn’t be drawn into this kind of comfortable world. In this regard, the author has a terrific handle on these emotions. This may be the first novel I ever read by this author but it won’t be the last. Of that I am sure.

IN CONCLUSION: Book one of Lisa’s new series is, in a word, exquisite. The characters are interesting and the setting couldn’t be more beautiful. Glamorous Illusions is a story that stands on its own – and then some. 

About the book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: 2012
Series: The Grand Tour – Book 1
Genre: Fiction, Christian Historical
Shop the Book: Amazon | Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Rating: 5 out of 5

Many thanks to the publisher for providing this copy for reviewing purposes

About Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

Rissi JC

amateur photog. #bookblogger. downton abbey. inspys. internet-photo-shy. writer. the aspiration is to someday write professionally. a girl can dream, right?

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  • Sierra June 21, 2012 at 1:09 PM

    This book sure looks interesting…I want to read it :) Doesn't it have the cutest cover???? Sierra
    Keep Growing Beautiful♥ (Because You Are!) Philippians 4:8

  • AnnaKate June 21, 2012 at 1:37 PM

    The adorable French cover is what intrigued me on this one, haha! I would simply love to dig into this one and lose myself in something a little less heavy than my last read (Les Miserables). Looks very intriguing! Thanks for the review, Rissi; it was loverly, as always. =)

  • Allison Taylor June 21, 2012 at 4:29 PM

    This is an interesting blog! I've never read one where it's a review of books. I've never heard of Glamorous Illusions before, but this sounds great!

  • Rissi June 21, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Sierra – hey, girl! Long time, no talk. ;-)

    It was – this wound up being one of the most intriguing novels I've read in a long time. Hope you enjoy!

    The cover = lovely!

    AnnaKate – I am just surmising here, but yeah, this would have to be lots "lighter" than 'Les.' ;-)

    Intriguing is the right word – hope you enjoy. :-)

    Allison – thank you. I have a lot of fun with it. :-)

    Glamorous Illusions is Bergren's brand-new novel (it hasn't been out long at all), and it is charming. Hope you enjoy if you ever read it. :-)

    Thanks for stopping by; hope you do so again.

  • Rachel Danielle June 22, 2012 at 12:50 AM

    Oh- I agree it does have the most adorable cover. Excited to read it!

  • Rissi June 22, 2012 at 3:23 AM

    The cover is indeed very 'glamorous,' Rachel. :-)

    Hope you enjoy this one – I sure did!

  • Ruth July 6, 2012 at 2:59 PM

    I can't wait to see what the publisher comes up with for the sequel's cover…this one, this is just two gorgeous for words!

  • Rissi July 6, 2012 at 5:11 PM

    The cover is here, Ruth! Check it out at this link – it is equally gorgeous in my opinion but also has a hint of mystery! Love it!

    Wanna guess if that is Pierre or Will? ;-)


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