Sunday, April 22, 2012

Review of "Glamorous Illusions" by Lisa T. Bergren

Rating: 5 Stars
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Summary from David C. Cook: The first book in the Grand Tour series, Glamorous Illusions will take readers on a pilgrimage through Europe-and straight into the soul.

It's the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. The crops are failing and worse, so is her father's health. Then a stranger comes to call and in one fateful afternoon, Cora discovers that her birth father is a copper king-a man who invites her to tour Europe with her new family. As she travels across America, then on to England and France, Cora faces the hardships as well as the privileges of assuming the family name. And though now she knows more of her true identity, she soon discovers the journey is only beginning.

Review: Glamorous Illusions is a captivating prelude to Lisa T. Bergren's newest series.  The novel's departure from the traditional settings of historical fiction is very refreshing. In a plot that takes us from Montana to Paris, France, Bergren's descriptions bring the locations alive from the relatable perspective of an average young woman. Amid the glamour of the Grand Tour, danger, romance, and family drama add levels of interest and intrigue.   

Despite difficult circumstances, Cora Kensington has the chance to embrace a lifestyle that many people can only live in their dreams. Although the plot is set in 1913, its message still rings true today.  It is easy to get caught up in dreams of the glamorous life, portrayed by the wealthy and the famous, but sometimes tarnish is revealed.  How much more obvious would the illusion of glamour become if we were give the opportunity witness a "privileged" lifestyle first-hand, like Cora?  For Cora, the Grand Tour is journey of growth and self-discovery.  Her doubts and questions are understandable; and her character is one with whom the reader can sympathize.  In addition to her struggles to claim her place in a newly discovered family and life, Cora must also contend with matters of the heart. Glamorous Illusions presents two potential but contrasting suitors.  Both have their charms, but will either win Cora's heart?   

Glamorous Illusions concludes in France, promising more European travels in the next novel. Bergren also leaves us with unanswered questions that pique our interest for the sequel.  I truly wish it was already released, but anticipation makes the wait more exciting. 

I received a complimentary e-copy of this book from NetGalley, courtesy of David C. Cook.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

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