The Grand Tour Series details the life of Cora Diehl Kensington, a woman of the Montana plains, swept up into a life of riches and privilege. Belatedly finding out a terrible secret about her parentage, Cora struggles to find out who she really is–as a child of God–in the midst of an enlightening, as well as dangerous, trip across Europe. (http://lisatawnbergren.com/books/)Why I have I waited so long to read a book by Lisa T. Bergren? I have no idea. I would say that her books are a step above Tracie Peterson's and on par with Julie Klassen's (no offence to either author).
Set in the early 1900s, Glamorous Illusions is a beautiful book from cover to cover. I loved every bit of it, which isn't something I say too often about the books I read. From the first pages I fell in love with Cora. She's a spirited, often stubborn, young woman, but she truly wants to trust God in all parts of her life. It's just not that easy. I can relate.
When Cora is told a secret about her parentage, she's whisked off to a new family and a new life, starting with a grand tour to Europe. It's the perfect setting for discovery: of Europe, of her family, of herself. And of course, we have to throw in a couple of love interests to make it all the more interesting. Bergren crafts the most interesting characters like William, Pierre, and, most fascinating to me, Mr. Kensington. I just can't figure him out. At the beginning I did not like him, but when he writes that letter to Cora... I'm having a hard time making up my mind! Hopefully I'll get a chance to figure him out in book two, Grave Consequences, which doesn't come out until (sigh) March 2013. The best part about the characters is that they seem so real. I'm tired of books that idealize people, or make them so one-sided; Glamorous Illusions does not disappoint.
Glamorous Illusions is written in first person but switches from the point of view of Cora to a narrator (third -person) view of Will. That's interesting but at times a bit odd to me. I think it would have been better if both were in first person, but maybe Bergren felt that would be too confusing to the reader (which it definitely could be). Still, I liked seeing Will's perspective. And of course, since this is the start of a series, the ending was unfortunately abrupt and left me dangling off the cliff by a small thread.
Shockingly, I got this book free on my Kindle several months ago. Soon after I finished Glamorous Illusions I looked up when the second book is coming out. So far away! (Ha, not really.) Thankfully, I found Bergren's first book in the River of Time Series, Waterfall, on sale for $1.99. :) A good way to cope, I thought, but it only took me a day to read. Review of that coming soon, because it was good.
2012 Goal: Book 38 of 50