Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Blog Tour and Review: Glamorous Illusions

Author: Lisa Bergren
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Publisher: David C. Cook
Series: Grand Tour Series #1

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.

As soon as I saw the Eiffel Tower pictured in the background I was so willing to read this book! I am all about some Paris. The cover is just beautiful and when you see the dress that Cora is wearing on the front cover it will just mesmerize you. The tan and pink colors add a vintage feel and it appears as if the sun is about to set. I honestly do not think I have view a more beautiful cover all year.  

Cora Kensington is a small town girl from Montana whose life changes in one swift moment and she is whisked away on a Grand Tour of Europe. This is truly a rags to riches story and Cora has a hard time believing it herself. At times she dreams of having nice things and pretty gowns, but she never actually thinks that all of that could ever possibly be hers. She is introduced to family that she has never known and journeys into a world that is far different from her own. She leaves her mother and father behind and becomes a beautiful and admirable young woman.

The whole premise of being whisked away to Europe in order to finish one’s education is quite intriguing. I found myself being rather envious of Cora at times. The talk of ballrooms, elegant gowns, and royal princes has Cora’s mind spinning and at the same time she cannot wait to grab her own little taste of adventure. This book only added to my appreciation to the European continent; so refined and picturesque. I was delighted to take this trip with Cora because at first she did not think that she deserved something as wonderful as a Grand Tour education and as her character developed she came to find that she was just as worth as anyone else.

I absolutely loved Cora as a character because once she reached past her hesitations she was quite adventurous. She thrived on it actually. Here is one of my favorite quotes by her, “In the last year, I’d decided I loved learning. It fed me. Expanded me. Shaped me” (14). Cora wanted to become a teacher and she had a deep passion that continued to instill a strong drive within her. She knew that there was more outside of her little sleepy hometown just waiting for her to seek it out. I could really connect with Cora and appreciate everything that she stood for.

Cora was up against many obstacles in this book, and one of those being her newly discovered siblings. They were not all as welcoming as she would have hoped they would be. Some, such as Vivian, saw Cora as unrefined and often feared that Cora would ruin their good name. Her siblings never had a worry in the world while she was raised in poverty and prayed every day for enough food and money for her parents to get by. She almost envied them at times and definitely had a very hard time connecting with them. She tried her best to reason with them and even to make them like her. Her oldest sibling Vivian spouted out, “She is not family to me. She is a stray dog my father brought home” (187). Cora had many barriers to break through and at times it was so heart wrenching to see the way she was treated.

My favorite part of this book was Cora’s relationship with their tour guide, Will McCabe. His job was to make sure that the Kensington children make the most of their trip to Europe and that they retain the historical importance of such a journey. His feelings, however, began to lie with Cora. Will was never pushy with Cora, but he made it clear from the start that he would do whatever he had to in order to protect her. He was charming and very sensitive. I admired Will so much because he never gave up on his feelings for Cora even when he was told that it would not be appropriate in the least to romanticize with her.

Did I mention that this is a series? Well, it is and I am so excited for the next book! Lisa Bergren wrote an amazing novel that can make anyone appreciate the grand beauty and elegance of Europe. I cannot compliment this book enough and I did not want to put it down. I am so very proud to add it to my forever growing collection. If you love historical romance and have any desire to see or have seen the marvelous European continent, then you should pick up a copy of this book as soon as possible!

**A copy of this book was provided to me by the Publisher for an honest review**

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 30 books, with more than 1.5 million copies sold. She just finished writing a Colorado historical trilogy (the first book, Breathe, Sing and Claim), and has begun a teen series called River of Time.

Lisa's time is split between managing home base, writing (including a fair amount of travel writing), consulting and freelance editing (with a little speaking here and there). She's married to Tim, a liturgical sculptor, graphic designer and musician. They have three kids-Olivia (15), Emma (12) and Jack (7).
All five of the Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

For more information on Lisa and to view other books written, please visit her website:


  1. If on a winter's night a traveler, outside the town of Malbork, leaning from the steep slope without fear of wind or vertigo, looks down in the gathering shadow in a network of lines that enlace, in a network of lines that intersect, on the carpet of leaves illuminated by the moon around an empty grave-What story down there awaits its end?-he asks, anxious to hear the story.
    Flights to Accra
    Flights to Dar Es Salaam

  2. Thank you for the lovely review! I always thought my English teachers were wonderful...Glad you're serving kids by leading them through great books.