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Grand Tour #1

Glamorous Illusions

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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. After burying the only father she's ever known, she lost her beau in a tragic accident. Then a stranger comes to call. 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 from England to 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.

413 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 2012

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About the author

Lisa Tawn Bergren

107 books3,614 followers

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 60 books, with more than 4.5 million copies sold. She recently released The Sugar Baron's Daughters Series (KETURAH, VERITY and SELAH), and recently finished a teen series called Remnants (SEASON OF WONDER, SEASON OF FIRE, and SEASON OF GLORY). She's also written the River of Time Series (WATERFALL, CASCADE, TORRENT, BOURNE & TRIBUTARY, DELUGE) and The Grand Tour Series (GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS, GRAVE CONSEQUENCES, GLITTERING PROMISES), time-slip romance duology called River of Time: California (THREE WISHES and FOUR WINDS), and some contemporary romances (ONCE UPON A MONTANA SUMMER and ONCE UPON AN IRISH SUMMER are the newest releases).

Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing, consulting and helping Tim with his business. Her husband Tim is a sculptor of ducks-out-of-fenceposts (RMRustic.com), graphic designer and musician. They have three big kids–Olivia (who just got married), Emma (who is about to get married) and Jack (who is a junior in high school).

The Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 558 reviews
Profile Image for Kelli.
1,081 reviews36 followers
June 21, 2012
I was weary about this one. It's a great storyline, the author is good at spinning those up. However, I had a problem with the authors last books the 'river of time' series. Because the writing was super cheesy and silly sometimes. It's like the skeleton of the plot as a whole is great, but what's inside is mush. This one, sadly, follows those lines half the time.

Glamorous Illusions starts out super polite, the writing is almost over explanatory. Everything is explained, even when it doesn't need to be. Or over analysed. It's also very melodramatic in the way it's handled. I can almost hear the soap opera music playing, especially in the first few chapters. The main character, Cora, has something to say about everything. I mean everything! This gets old. In the first few chapters, her stubborn nature keeps butting heads with everyone else's opinions for her family. Those emotions seem overkill. It doesn't help with connecting to her characters or even feeling bad for her. Their is just something about this author where the storyline draws one in, but the writing can draw one completely out just as fast. It's definitely a catch 22.
The author uses multiple points of view, and for once this actually helps with understanding the POV of the main characters. Their is a lot going on with the story line. The story does have some major culture holes riddled throughout. Illegitimacy among the upper class, in that time, was never recognized. Much alone talked about so freely with servants. So having a story based on an illegitimate daughter actually coming out in society is far fetched.

Lisa T. Bergren does have moments where she shines, and that includes her side characters. If she wrote her side characters half as funny or charming or complex as she writes her main characters, her books would be much better.
Profile Image for Sue.
2,729 reviews221 followers
October 9, 2019
This is definitely an historical fiction book. Christian based as there are lots of religious quotes in here, so if you are into that, you will enjoy this book a lot.
Personally I thought it was over done.

The storyline was very good. A nice bit of mild romance, but be aware, it’s a love triangle that has its ups and downs.

I slowly worked through my first chapters by audio, as I found it better to listen to it than read it, however by the 30% mark I went back to the book and I must say, I enjoyed the later half.

A fairly good grounding for a book 1
I’m not sure I’d go on with this series though as it was just a bit too preachy for my taste.
Profile Image for Katie.
522 reviews422 followers
April 20, 2012
Similar Books: Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame, Bright Young Things by Anna Godbersen

If you guys haven't noticed this yet, I'm sort of in love with Lisa T. Bergren's novels. I devoured the River of Time series, and I'm getting into her adult books now. So when this pretty title appeared on NetGalley, I snatched it up. And to no surprise, I wasn't disappointed.

Although this book is technically an adult novel, I think it falls into that new and nebulous category of "new adult," the stories that follow 20-somethings as they try to make their way in the world that they're now entering as an adult. I'm at this same stage in life, so it was nice to read about someone who's actually my age. (I mean, really, how many 21-year-olds are there in books these days? Not many.)

Anyway, this book wasn't exactly what I was expecting. I thought it would involve Cora hopping all over Europe, but the story focuses on England and France. Actually, it starts in Montana. We get a rather long set up of Cora and her family, giving us a lot of her background. Although I can understand why it was all included, it was a bit slow.

But once Cora sets out on her journey, there's never a dull moment. I loved all the juicy details of England and France, of the glamorous ship they ride across the Atlantic. But really, the best bits were the historical details. Bergren really does her homework, and you can totally tell in her novels! I love this time period - the Turn of the Century - and I kept getting marvelous flashbacks to "Downton Abbey."

The characters were all well-crafted. Cora is a bit angsty, although I understood why. She never came off as annoying or too dramatic. She definitely has a good head on her shoulders, although sometimes I wanted her to accept enjoying herself a little more. Also, I know we always criticize girls in books as being too romantic, but I thought maybe Cora could use a little more of a romantic spirit. Sometimes, she was a little too level-headed for me.

Then there was Will, our presumed love interest (judging by the fact that there are chapters told from his POV). He's a sweet boy, and it was nice to see a nice guy as the one we're supposed to be swooning over. But unfortunately, I found myself swooning over another guy...

Oh, Pierre. I loved him. Seriously. We don't meet him until more than halfway through the book, but I was pretty much fanning myself at his first appearance. He's rich and has a title and is French. He also is SO sweet and seriously into Cora, and when she didn't fall all over herself in love with him, I wanted to reach into the book and just shake her. What is wrong with her?! Why does she not snatch him up when she has the chance?!

We don't know who Cora will be with at the end of the series, but I'm just gonna take a stab in the dark and guess it's not Pierre. Which upsets me. Seriously, I love him. (What is with Bergren and creating these supporting characters that are so wonderful?! Lord Greco, Luca, now Pierre. I can't handle this, Ms. Bergren. They must have happy endings. Period.)

So yeah, I liked this book a lot. It was a nice change from the paranormal and dystopian books that take themselves so seriously. A little historical romance with an uplifting theme does the heart good sometimes. :)
Profile Image for Carissa (Regency Woman).
261 reviews50 followers
January 10, 2016
I grew up reading Lisa Tawn Bergren's work, lots of her contemporary romances passed through my hands when I was a teenager, but I honestly haven't picked up one of her books in years. This one I just happened to stumble over this last week, one I'd planned to read for awhile, but never got around to. Kindle had a deal, I bought Glamorous Illusions, and then proceeded to read it in about 2 days. I just enjoyed it and myself so much. This book is a transporting and diverting read and I loved losing myself for at least a couple of days. And to my surprise, I found out about 3/4 of the way through, that it's actually a little bit of a Cinderella story! Who knew!?

Just for a brief write-up on the plot, Cora Diehl, a young woman living on a small farm in Montana in 1913, discovers that she's actually the illegitimate half-daughter of insanely wealthy Wallace Kensington, a copper king. Just now introducing himself, Mr. Kensington is giving Cora an opportunity to try his lifestyle on for size, which includes meeting his 3 legitimate children, and even taking the Grand Tour of Europe with them. It will be an uphill battle, she didn't realize how much uphill, but Cora finds herself up to the challenge as a love of art and history and travel is awakened within her, as well as a deepening understanding of herself as a young woman in the early 1900s, of suffrage, and of her place as a believer in Jesus.

There we go, simply stated, but also downplayed because the book takes many twists and turns. Cora discovers that her siblings aren't as easy to get to know as she might have hoped, especially Vivian, she spurns unwanted attentions from the son of another family traveling with them, develops an attraction to the "bear" in-training (a glorified tour guide), William McCabe, and constantly wars within herself over her happy, humble beginnings versus the new world opening up before her. Which could involve being courted and wooed by a French aristocrat, Pierre de Richelieu.

And this leads me to the connection with Cinderella.

Of course, you already see it, a little bit. A rags to riches story of a young woman, except that the family she already had was loving and kind, while the one she's breaking into has its own sort of selfishness and vanity, but apart from that, the tales are very similar. Oh, and God sort of plays the fairy godmother, since He orchestrated a lot of what happens by simply being who He is. I love that part.

But it is the ball that Pierre hosts while they're under his care in Paris, where he owns a massive chateau that is absolutely stunning (at least the way I imagine it). The ball was already pre-planned, so he didn't do it just for the Kensingtons and their party, but it is so magical and it is a masked masquerade ball, with everyone dressed in Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette inspired garb, even Cora in a radiant blue gown and powdered wig.

Really, the entire part of Glamorous Illusions that happens at the ball is just stunning. Pierra, as the host, chooses Cora for the first dance, and then she wheels away for fresh air in the garden since she doesn't know what to do with the emotions he invokes in her. Afterwards while still in their costumes, he puts a scarf over his eyes and trails her through an outdoor hedge maze (a game she agreed to play) tracking her. If he finds her, she must surrender a kiss. If she evades him and escapes the maze before he catches her, he will row her across a lake, gifting her an hour of much-needed silence. Of course, he wins and she shares her first truly impassioned kiss, but being the gentleman he is, Pierre agrees to give her her boat ride as well. This is before she flees from Pierre, flustered by the kiss, and Will (the tour guide) thinks Pierre has sullied her honor and gives Pierre a mean right hook. Of course, there's always drama, and more than one love interest which is interesting because I truly like both men.

The masquerade sequence is magical, and Cora's half-sisters are frustrated by Pierre's attention to her, and even go so far as to make Cinderella references, with Vivian snarking "Was it not enough that she had to embarrass us all with her public proclamation to Lord de Richelieu (meaning telling him she was illegitimate) - now she envisions herself as Cinderella at the ball? Honestly, now she's disappeared again." To which an accompanying young man remarks, "Perhaps she's left behind a glass slipper." The little references to Cinderella made the book perfect.

I honestly wasn't sure if I would enjoy Glamorous Illusions when I first started it, but by the end, I loved it, and since it's a continuous series about this single Grand Tour, I expected the book to take its time getting from one place to another, which it does. No hurry, no fuss, just plenty of scenery, costuming, flirting, and travel, all while Cora tries to find herself. I doubt that the prince our Cinderella kissed at the ball will be her true love, but that's okay. It still made for a magical moment within the novel!

On one final note, lovers of Downton Abbey will undoubtedly adore this series. It's perfectly Edwardian most of the time, except for the Louis XVI masquerade ball which just adds to the allure and mystique of the novel! ❤
Profile Image for Cindy.
813 reviews40 followers
May 18, 2012
I LOVED this story, and couldn't put it down. We start off with Cora and her family in 1913 Montana on a little dry farm trying to mill out an existence. Events transpire that lead to a mysteries man arriving on her front door step clamming to be her father. He wishes to get to know her and for her to get to know her siblings. He has arranged for her and her siblings to go on a Grand Tour, ( Okay I want to come too, well I guess I did in a way lol). The tour for this book takes place in England and France. Cora knows it will not be easy to be excepted by her siblings or society. She is an illegitimate daughter of a very wealthy and powerful man, society was not very excepting of situations like this. So Cora's self discovery begins, who is she deep down inside, who does she want to be, what is worth working for and fighting for. Cora is a bright, witty, kind, frustrated, sometimes immature, carrying, strong, and flawed young woman. I really enjoyed her story, how she interacts with her new found family, how they treat her which is definitely bumpy, and will take time and trust on both their parts. The Grand Tour is pretty grand they get to go to all sorts of neat places and social events. There is also a mini love triangle which is fine with me. She is trying to figure out who she is. The men are sweet chivalrous and a little mysteries. Mrs. Bergren's writing is wonderful and flows beautifully. It has been a lot of fun watching Cora begin to come into her own. I enjoyed every minute of it and can't wait for the next one. I received this as an arc for my e-reader, but I have already pr-ordered it for my own personal library to share with friends and family. The cover is a perfect fit and gorgeous.

Clean read

Thank you to David Cook Publishing and Netgalley
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,250 reviews212 followers
April 7, 2018
I loved Bergan's Waterfall series so much that I bought it all and read it to my girls and they all loved it. I picked up her series Breath and just couldn't even finish the first book. I was worried I wouldn't like this one either so I put off reading it and finally picked it up and enjoyed this first book a lot. It pulls you in with a compelling story of Cora and her dying farm and then sweeps you away to England and France and Cora's journey to find herself. This story had good characters and great settings and Bergren tells a good story. This is Christian fiction with a bit or romance and adventure. It takes place in the early 1900's in America. This story in no way finishes and I am picking up the next book right away, I'm glad I got it and have it and don't have to wait.
Profile Image for Sierra Abrams.
Author 2 books457 followers
July 9, 2012
Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren (#1)
Pages: 416
Release Date: June 1st, 2012
Date Read: 2012, May 8th-13th
Received: ARC via NetGalley
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommended to: 13+

Cora's life may not be grand or full of wealth, but there's one thing she's sure of: who she is. Even when tragedy strikes her father's farm and her education to be a teacher is in jeopardy, Cora works hard to do what needs to be done.
But when her true parentage is revealed, everything falls apart. She is whisked away into a fantasy world where she is not yet accepted. Her new siblings, her new cousins, the long trip - the Grand Tour - she is to take with them... It seems everything has fallen apart. Her growing friendship - and possibly something more - with the tour guide's nephew, Will, and her desire to discover who she keeps Cora busy...and who are the people who might be following them? In the end, it might come down to Cora to put her bravery to the test.

Lisa Bergren recently became one of my favorite authors when I read this book and this book and this book. I'm madly in love with those books, lemme tell you. And apparently there are more books that are coming out to ease my desire for more.

But for now, I am happy happy happy with Glamorous Illusions. OMG. I seriously adore this book! Maybe not as much as the River of Time, but by golly it was a riot! I love Cora's character, for one. She's a strong-willed, clear-headed girl who loves God and wants to do what's right. I loved her journey of faith and how even though she wasn't quite sure who she was, she always knew she was a child of God. She's such a feisty girl, too! She made me laugh more than once.

And, erm...I have a weakness for boys/men named Will. First, it's the little boy I've babysat for nearly 7 years, ever since he was 1 year old. He loves me, I love him... He tells me stories and we play video games together...and he tells me that if I don't let him climb that tree he'll never love me again and I tell him to get down from that tree or else and he climbs right on down and gives me the biggest hug ever. Other than that Will, there's my magical love for Will Turner...I'm a Pirates junkie. So yeah. I have good associations with the name Will. And this Will - he is NO exception. He's amaaaazing!! I seriously adore him so so so much. His growing love for Cora (even though he's certain they can never be together) is soooo sweet and adorable and innocent...and still passionate at the same time.

Come on now, don't tell me you don't want to read this book. Not only do you have awesome characters such as Cora and Will, but you also have fancy dresses, romantic boat rides (more than one!), castles and masked balls, a (possibly) dangerous game in a large maze, and more! Seriously, though, the first boat ride and the maze scene were my favorite scenes in the book! Ca-ra-zy! CRAZY!

My only drawback - the end seemed a liiiittle bit fast. Rushed, kind of. Not terrible, and totally fascinating and lovable, but just, given the length of the book, a little too quick for my liking. Oh, and the alternating POV's were a bit disappointing. I wanted it to be all from Cora's perspective, but there was some from Will's and some from Cora's real father. Not bad, just me wishing it was all Cora!

All in all, this was a great book with an awesome story and a promise for more and greater adventures! And we have yet to get to Italy, where Lisa works her magic! Eeeep! So excited!

This book reminds me of...
Downton Abbey (the time period and the dresses - the story was completely original)
The trip to France I'm someday going to take
Traveling to exotic places
Evil stepsisters
Roguish gentlemen (oxymoron, I know)
Castles I want to see
Adorable, slow-moving romances (that I wish would move faster!!!)

For the Parents -
A bit of adventure, a few flirtatious characters, but nothing improper! Great for ages 13+

Read more reviews at Yearning to Read!
Profile Image for Melissa.
2,299 reviews
June 25, 2017
This series has been on my to-read list for a couple years. This is an interesting series about a poor young woman in a small town is suddenly thrust into the aristocratic would when at age 20 the truth of her parentage is revealed and she finds out her biological father is a copper magnate with wealth and power beyond her wildest dreams. Within a matter on days she is on a Grand Tour of Europe with 3 siblings she barely knows, leaving everything familiar behind. The story is intriguing, the locales fantastic and some twists and turns I didn't see coming. A good read that I enjoyed.
129 reviews
December 12, 2012
On the positive side, this book's (main) characters had depth to them and were multidimensional. I especially liked Cora's thoughts during the first few chapters when she is faced with the truth of her past and the unwelcome opportunities it presents to her. For the most part, Cora's emotional struggles seem very realistic. However, as the book wore on, I felt like Cora kept going through the same thought processes- I can't recall how many times she says she's had some great revelation about how to face her half-siblings and what she wants out of the trip, only to somehow forget and then come to the same conclusion again.

Another positive of the book is that while it is about a religious person using religion to help navigate their life, it is not a book that preaches at the reader.

There were long stretches of the book that I found boring. In part this might be because the book is generally realistic, with little in terms of the fighting and world-saving found in many novels, but I usually enjoy the occasional realistic novel. Whenever some dramatic event did happen in the book, it seemed forced and sometimes just plain ridiculous. For instance, during a storm, it felt very cliched that two love interests just happened to be rocked into a compromising position. The final scenes are full of action, but felt entirely out of place, like some medieval spy novel's chapters had been accidentally slipped in.

I considered giving this book 3 stars because its characters are a lot fuller than usual in a novel of this kind, but for some reason the story just did not click with me and I struggled through many sections.
Profile Image for Rachel :).
84 reviews30 followers
April 7, 2016
Glamorous Illusions is an interesting novel about Cora Diehl, a pain, young farm girl who loves her parents dearly. When she finds out that her real father is Mr. Kensington, a rich copper miner, she is mortified and does not want anything to do with him. But the ailing health of the father who raised her and Mr. Kensington's offer to provide him healthcare pulls Cora into excepting his invitation to the Grand Tour with her three half siblings and their three friends, the Morgans.

This book details Cora's journey as she struggles to understand who she is. Is she a Kensington or is she a Diehl? With two romances forming, one forbidden and the other flirty and shallow, what will Cora do? Will her siblings except her or reject her simple upbringing?

If you are looking for an exciting or suspenseful book, this is not for you. The book moves slowly, but if you are patient has just the right amount of action to keep it flowing. Cora is well developed and she is relatable and pleasant. The romances are chaste.

At first I found the switches between Cora's first person and Will's third person a bit confusing. But as time went on, I enjoyed it. In books that switch between characters, I forget who the "I" is, and who is speaking. In this book I knew outright who was who and after a bit of the confusion wore off.

All in all, this book was not as good as Waterfall or Remnants, but definitely still quite interesting. I enjoy Lisa's writing a lot and will look foreword to continuing the series.

Profile Image for Aerykah.
461 reviews26 followers
June 1, 2016
I tried so hard to read this book! I tried reading it several times. And then I tried listening to it when I discovered my library had the audio version. But I just could not get into it! I'm so disappointed because I'd heard good things about this series... but I'm giving up now and taking the rest of the series off of my to-read list. :(
Profile Image for Erica (storybookend).
372 reviews286 followers
May 10, 2012
Glamorous Illusions follows the journey of a young woman as she tries to discover who she is, and what she can become. At the beginning, she learns about a secret her parents kept from her her whole life. She feels betrayed by what happened, and that they never told her. Then she is offered a chance to go on the Grand Tour of Europe with her new found siblings, who may just hate her for who she is. She goes a little grudgingly, wary of the man who she knows now as her blood father. But she finds as she travels with her siblings, and comes to accept who she is, that she can’t be mad at any of her parents, her mother or her two fathers, because they each gave her a life that helped shape her into the woman that she is, and is becoming.

Cora was a nice protagonist. I didn’t always like being in her head. Not that she was annoying, or stupid, I just couldn’t quite connect with her. It helped that her narrative was broken up by the viewpoints of Will. I did like seeing Cora’s journey, and how she coped with her new, extravagant life, and having to leave the people she loved. She was strong, and didn’t let her siblings dislike of her keep her down. I appreciated her humility, and determination to stand firm, and her accepting herself for who she is, no matter what her past is. People could treat her however they may, but she knew there were people who cared about her, so their disdain couldn’t hurt her. But, I also felt that she was kind of boring. She’s just a normal girl, trying to find where she fits in; which is, you know, cliché. And nothing terribly original or exciting happened to put a twist on that storyline. So maybe that’s partly why I couldn’t connect with her.

The plot also, was kind of boring. It wasn’t bad, or completely disinteresting, but it wasn’t interesting enough to keep my attention focused solely on the book, so that I couldn’t bear to be stop reading. I did enjoy learning about the history, and whatnot. I can tell that Bergren did her research well, and cared enough to get the details right. It wasn’t until the ending, where the real excitement began, that I became really interested, and excited, and couldn’t stop reading. Too bad that happened at the end, and not sooner. Don’t get me wrong, not all books have to be exciting and adventurous to be worth reading, or to have deep meaning. I love books that are slow, and contemplative, with lush descriptions and wonderful characters who triumph not by fighting a dragon, but by coming to know their heart and the hearts of others. And Glamorous Illusions did do this. It did have wonderful descriptions of the places the characters visited, and well-rounded characters that the reader comes to understand and like. I just felt that something was missing, for me at least.

I did like the romance, and actually, the biggest reason why I would consider reading the second book would be to see that romance develop. I’m interested to see where it goes, and to see Will and Cora fall in love. Will was a wonderful hero. He was a gentlemen who only wanted to teach his clients history, and to protect them on the tour. He just wasn’t ready to have his heart stolen. And he tries to fight it. Cora is above his station, and he isn’t supposed to get involved with the clients. But he can’t help what he feels. I liked seeing his perspective. Being able to see his side and Cora’s, seeing both of their uncertainties, and wondering if the other could possibly like them, but then telling themselves that it could never work. And then there’s Pierre, a Frenchman who falls for Cora, and she can’t help but be pleased by his attention. So, there’s a little love triangle, which will probably be explored more in the coming novels. But this triangle isn’t angsty or annoying, where the girl flip flops between the guys. It’s done well, and is believable.

So, in the end, I liked Glamorous Illusions well enough. I loved the ending, and would like to see more of Cora and Will. I think fans of the River of Time series will like this novel, and probably history fiction buffs. As for me, I’ll just have to see what the next novel has to offer before I invest in it.

Thank you to David C. Cook and Netgalley for the arc.
Profile Image for Tweety.
433 reviews203 followers
March 20, 2015
This book has me torn in two.

What I loved about it was the characters and the added historical detail.

Cora, was not only an unusual name, but also an unusual heroine. She wasn't a county bumpkin, and she wasn't spoiled. So, she was a wonderful relief! I can't say I liked her all the time, but for most of the book I did.

William, (our love interest and supposed hero), one of the tour guides, had some problems. Most of which where with himself and his lot in life. He was on the bitter side of things. I find it hard to relate to people who are so unsettled in their life. I liked him anyhow. That is good going for an author to make me like a character I don't relate to. But I feel like I never got to know him. Most people out there will find him "swoon worthy". I didn't feel the heat, but that's just me.

Felix, How could anyone not like him?
He was a flawed, caring and understanding character. Out of all of them I liked him best.

Pierre, I also liked. And yet I don't care for flirts or pretty boys. For some reason though, I liked him and found him interesting. And he was the other side to the love triangle. (*Groan*)
I really hate love triangles because you either end up thinking the one who can't make up their mind fickle, or you are heartbroken for the one not chosen. Anyway I don't want to spoil the book for anyone; I did enjoy it after all!

In the end I don't know that I want to read the others because, this one ended how I wanted, the others end the way I know it should.

Now one little nit-picky thing.

A British maid asks Cora if she would like "A Spot of Tea".
I am British, my dad is and we have lot of family and friends dotted about England. Never have I heard them say "Would you like a Spot of Tea?" They have asked if I would like a cup of tea, however. It's just a little corny sounding. But I could be mistaken, maybe some posh British say that.

If you are wondering about this book being preachy, it's not. You wont get any sermon till the end and that is easily skipped. After all my complaints, I Am glad I read this book as I found some things out about Paris that l didn't know. So, I will recommend this book to some people.
Profile Image for Christine.
519 reviews86 followers
April 19, 2012
I am a huge Lisa Bergren fan. It's probably no surprise, then, that I absolutely LOVED this book! There was no time during reading this that I wanted to put it down. The whole idea of being a rich, copper king's illegitimate daughter without knowing it your whole life, that is SUCH an intriguing premise. And, Ms. Bergren, did NOT disappoint with the execution. I loved the characters in this book! Loved them! I think even the more "flawed" characters are redeeming, as the story goes on.

I really appreciate being able to relate to the main character in a book, and I completely did, with GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS. I could FEEL the anxiety over Cora meeting family that she's never met before, right along with her. Family that, even she knows, has no reason to accept her. Cora is so human and real. Every time she reacted to a situation or something bad happened to her, I found myself thinking, "I could TOTALLY see why she would do/think/say that." Cora Diehl (Kensington) is a character that starts out strong and sure of what her future holds for her and then the unthinkable happens. Her life goes crazy, and she finds herself wondering and asking God what exactly is she going to do?! What does He have in store for her future? This whole book takes Cora on just a part of that journey.

There are moments when Cora is completely unsure of herself, and who she is, and desires most to be loved and accepted, but she also has such a profound moral compass that she's not afraid to do what's right. I could totally relate to Cora's struggles with faith and forgiveness, even though I've never had quite those same issues. Lisa T. Bergren wraps up a fantastic story with a very appropriate message. I can't think of anyone who couldn't take something away from this book.

I think it'll be a while before the next installment in this series comes out, so I guess I'll just have to keep myself occupied with TRIBUTARY when it comes out soon. :)
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,073 reviews605 followers
April 26, 2017
I’ve been looking forward to this for quite some time and was really excited to see it available on NetGalley. I just have to say, I love the cover. It’s just so pretty and inviting.

Anyway, I thought this was enjoyable. I admit, I think the last 30% was probably the best part of the whole story. The story almost has a Cinderella feel to it. Cora’s life is turned upside down early in the story. She goes from living a poor life with her parents, to that of an heiress with an unwelcoming family she never knew. The book focuses on her adjustments and also a focus on their travels through England and France. There is of course a love-triangle. It’s pretty subtle for now, but I’m sure it will play a much larger part in future books. I already know who I’m rooting for, although both are charming. I’m not a super big fan of love-triangles and I hope Cora doesn’t become wishy-washy. It’s annoying when they expect two guys to pursue them and not realize that by spending so much time with one suitor it might just turn the other away. I would have liked a little more between Cora and one of the guys, but I also appreciate a slow buildup which allows a strong foundation for something more. Again, I think the last part of the book was the best and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

This would probably fall into the Christian Historical Fiction genre. The history part is written well and woven into the story nicely. The same goes for the Christian elements, although it’s still a little much for my personal taste. Not over the top though.

Content: Clean.

Reading Order:
Glamorous Illusions
Grave Consequences
Glittering Promises
Profile Image for Margaret Chind.
3,169 reviews218 followers
July 24, 2015
Lisa Tawn Bergren is one of those authors that writes across several genres and she is good at it as well. I initially discovered her writing in Christian Historical Fiction and while I love her Non Fiction and Children's Books, her Christian Historical Fiction enters my dreams at night. Glamorous Illusions is the first in her new Grand Tour Series and it is one to make you think. Starting on the fields of Montana and coming to a close in a mansion of Paris with a promise of more to come in the sequel and rest of the trilogy.

Readers will get a western prairie opener with a regency romance continuance. While initially I'd say that this is not a very eventful book as not much time and actual "events" occur by finishing the book I can promise you that there are quite a few of edge of the seat, gasp in suspense moments that will make your pages turn faster. Yet overall this book is about an individual and her life. What it is, and what it should be, where she came from and where she is going. This is a great read for entertainment, but it is also capable of causing a reader to look back on themselves.

Now... to patiently wait for the rest of the series...

*Thanks to David C. Cook for providing a copy for review through Litfuse Publicity and loaning an eBook through Netgalley.*
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,871 reviews476 followers
May 31, 2012
Love this story...talk about rags to riches! Cora Deihl comes home from Normal School to find her Dad collapsed from a stroke. She ends up doing all the chores on the farm...including carrying water to water the wheat. Which in the end dying, after all the hard work, there is no return and they are going to loose the farm.
Enter a complete stranger and her world is turned upside. She is no longer the poor farm girl...she is now a member of the Ultra Rich!!!
So begins her new journey of meeting unknown relatives, and being waited on! She begins a "Grand Tour"...never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined this. Such sites and splendor, and unbelievable food and lush surroundings.
There is also some romance thrown in...but with whom. I feel like I've been left on a cliff hanger, and thank goodness there are some more answers to come.
This is such an enjoyable read...loved the descriptions and be prepared for possible kidnappings, and murder. Don't miss this one!

I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Tours and the Publisher David C Cook, and was not required to give a positive review.
Profile Image for Hannah.
492 reviews
May 30, 2012
This book is way Glamorous. And Gorgeous. And Incredible.

I was SO excited to get an ARC of this book through Netgalley! I loved it! I LOVE Lisa's Waterfall trilogy and so once I heard the news about this I couldn't wait to get on it. Oh the cover, the premise, the book! Eeep! I totally think Lisa has created yet another master-piece. I was just FABULOUS. But she left me hanging at quite an interesting point in the story. I must get the next book!

Let me get over this euphoria and I shall post a full review on my blog!

Content: CLEAN READ!
Note: This is a work of Christian Fic.

Find full review @ bookhavenextraordinaire.blogspot.com
Profile Image for Leah.
1,868 reviews
August 11, 2019
This is a Christian historical romance. It wasn't preachy, but there is religion. Also, there is a love triangle, but I already know who she picks, even though it isn't in this book. It lessened the excitement of the romance. This one ends with a bit of violence and an unresolved mystery. The rest of the story wasn't like that. I liked the trip through England and France but not the way it came about.
Profile Image for Rachel Crain.
190 reviews3 followers
March 6, 2021
I just love this author! This was outstanding! Loved it from the beginning to the end and had to immediately get next book! Highly Recommend. Clean, action, Romance!
Profile Image for Amanda.
261 reviews41 followers
April 30, 2013
Review originally posted on The Book Babe. Click to go the original post.

First of all, before going into my review let's take a moment to talk about the cover. Look at that girl's face. She looks like she stepped on a rodent or a Parisian flasher just showed her the goods. I think what's supposed to be a look of wariness turned into a look of disgust lol. Oh well, it's still pretty when viewed from afar. But, I don't imagine Cora having such a snobby face, this actually looks more like Vivian to me.

Let me start my review by saying this book was a-mazing. It had everything. Glamorous Illusions is about a poor farm girl who returns from teaching college to find that her dad has taken very ill. Her parents don't even pick her up from the train station due to a medical emergency, she has to hitch a ride with a pokey old man and that's no fun at all. Cora is very determined to put on her big girl panties and be a strong woman and take care of the farm alone with her bare hands, in place of her father. However, her plans are ruined when she discovers her dad isn't her real dad. Her real dad is actually a very, very wealthy man and he has slightly different plans for Cora's future which brings us to The Grand Tour.

The first 100 pages or so of this book are based "in the wilds of Montana". Here, Cora leaves her home and gets to know her biological family in the big city of... Butte. She has a few siblings, as well as their close family friends and soon-to-be travel companions- and everyone reacts differently to her. The overall reaction is not too good. However, soon they are on their way to Europe to embark on The Grand Tour. This is the first book in the series and this book takes us from Montana, on a scary trip across the Atlantic and on to London. Let's just say Cora's time in The UK is a big bummer. Luckily, after a few days we travel across the English Channel and into France. Here's where the story really heats up. We meet Pierre de Richelieu, who has his eyes on Cora. Unfortunately the "bear" hired to oversee Cora's family and friends, Will, also has eyes on her. Both romances are not approved of though. Romance along the way is frowned upon, especially with the person hired as your glorified tour guide.

Cora's time in Paris is thrilling. France is somewhere I've always had very little interest in reading about, but I loved the Paris the author described and it wasn't the stereotypical viewpoint and atmosphere that most authors would have given it. Without giving away spoilers, but to prove her trip to Paris was, let's just say... very exciting... here's a few things that happen in Paris. A masquerade ball that ends in a game of hide-and-seek in a maze, someone almost falls off the Eiffel Tower, and there's a hostage situation. If that's not a fun family vacation, then I don't know what is.

To top it all off this book is a Christian Historical Fiction and I believe it also falls into the Young Adult category. Glamorous Illusions had two faith-based quotes that I really loved and shared on my Instagram. Those can be found HERE and HERE, or by clicking the link to the original post in my blog at the top of this review.

All in all, I gave Glamorous Illusions 5 out of 5 stars. Job well done.
Profile Image for L_manning.
289 reviews42 followers
June 18, 2012
Cora has been living a fairly good life. She's been given the chance to get off her parents' farm and go to teaching college. When her dad suffers a stroke, Cora realizes going back to finish her teaching certificate may not be possible. All her time and money is going in to keeping the farm afloat. Her dad needs more help than anyone in town can give him though. All this leads to the biggest surprise of Cora's life. The only father she has ever know has turned out to not be her biological father. In truth, Cora is the daughter of a huge mining baron. Her biological father comes to offer Cora's family the care her father needs, but he also wants to take Cora under his wing and declare her his daughter. When he won't accept no for an answer, Cora finds herself embarking on the experience of a lifetime- the Grand Tour of Europe. Cora will see and do things she never imagined, all while trying to determine what her future truly holds.

This book was a joy to read on many levels. First, the whole idea of the Grand Tour enthralls me. How cool would it be to be able to just travel around Europe, seeing amazing sights and meeting amazing people? Of course, only the very wealthy could go, so I would have been out. It's a brilliant concept though. Having Cora be an illegitimate daughter allows the reader to relate to her more. Cora has a very hard time adjusting to her new situation in life, and she definitely does not get easy acceptance into these new social services. She can't help but be amazed and excited at her circumstances though. Who can blame her? I found it very interesting to watch Cora struggle with her duel identities. Her past and her future were so vastly different, so it was fun to see her deciding to forge her own path.

Of course, no grand novel would be complete without some romance. In this case, there are two potential beaus competing for Cora. One seems to represent her past, while the other is clearly a part of this new reality. While it was interesting to watch things play out, I know which one I preferred. I was frustrated (in a good way) by the ending. I was dying for more, and I cannot wait for the next book in the series! The ending wraps up well, but there are some loose ends that definitely left me hanging. This book will be appealing to a lot of people. The travel, history, and romance aspects are very enjoyable. I even found the fashion to be enthralling. I seriously enjoyed this book, and I will be looking out for the next in the series. I highly recommend this book.

Book provided for review.
Profile Image for Bluerose's  Heart.
532 reviews27 followers
July 11, 2012
After arriving home from school, Cora Diehl discovers her father in extremely bad health. Soon after, she discovers that she is actually Cora Kensington, the illegitimate daughter of Wallace Kensington. She's invited on a "Grand Tour" as a way to expand her education and get to know her half-siblings, Felix, Vivian, and Lillian.

The chapters mostly swap between Cora's viewpoint(1st person) and Will(3rd person), but Wallace(also 3rd person) gets a couple of sections to himself. Although it was a little different from what I'm used to, I really liked this feature.

I enjoyed getting to learn about so many characters. I did get a couple of the guys confused just a little at the beginning, but it was pretty easy to keep up with all of them after that. The Kensingtons are traveling with another family, so with the "bears" there's 8 traveling, not counting the servants. I also really enjoyed getting to be a part of the "tour". It was fun getting to "see" the artwork and monuments through someone's eyes in 1913.

I'm used to Christian books in a series mostly being stand alones. Glamorous Illusions is the first part of the whole story. The ending is very abrupt, and I'm very disappointed in that. If I'd known, I would have waited until the whole series was out before reading it.

It was fun after just reading Lisa's River of Time Series to see the writing similarities, especially when this series is COMPLETELY different.

MAY cause you concern:

-There was a good bit of drinking.

-There was also gambling.

Honestly, I'm just surprised about some of the content, considering this is Christian fiction.

Overall, I really did like it. Without the issues I mentioned, I LOVED it! If you enjoy Christian fiction just a little on the edgier side, definitely give this series a try!

*A huge thanks to David C. Cook via Litfuse Publicity for my review copy!
Profile Image for Melanie.
2,027 reviews559 followers
August 13, 2012
Review on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/review/R3B8ZZIC...
Review on my blog (to be posted 8/15): http://christianbookshelfreviews.blog...

Lisa Bergren is the author of one of my favorite YA series (The River of Time Series), so I was really excited to read this first book in her new adult series, The Grand Tour.

Glamorous Illusions was a great and unique story! I loved the characters - especially Will and Cora - and found myself engrossed in the story and what was going to happen! When I reached that final page, I was like "Nooooo! This can't be the end!" So, it definitely leaves you hanging and anticipating the next book, Grave Consequences, very much!

I loved all of the different locations in Glamorous Illusions, including Montana and Paris, and how the story switched POV's from Cora, Will, and Wallace (I think those were the only three).

Overall, I loved Glamorous Illusions and recommend it! Especially if you enjoy historical novels, but (if you are like me) be prepared to be left wanting to read Grave Consequences as soon as you finish this book, only it doesn't release until March 2013!

*I received a copy of this book for free for my review. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.*
Profile Image for Amanda Casper.
11 reviews5 followers
June 21, 2012
This book was truly glamorous... and like nothing I have read before. I enjoyed the ride it took me on. All the talk about travel and such was so exciting. And makes me wish I could have a Grand Tour of my own. I really liked the switch up of main characters in the chapters (for instance from William to Cora) I felt so connected to the main character Cora. When she was sad, happy, hurt or whatever emotion she was feeling, I felt it right along with her. I so enjoyed this pauper to princess kind of story. As well as the full explanation of Cora's feelings when dealing with this monumental change in her life. The author painted a beautiful picture of each location the group traveled to and it helped me to have a clearer picture of what things were like... not only concerning places, but also the things that happened at these places. (i.e Eiffel tower scene) Anyway, as I ended this book the reoccurring thought in my mind is... who will Cora get with Will or the French guy? I mean seriously.. what a way to end a book. I'm just saying what everyone is thinking!! (or at least the only ones reading this review... you know who you are *-*)

Oh, and if you read further after the end of the book... there is a little interview with the author. She talks about how she took her daughter to travel when she was in middle school. Like a mini Grand Tour... how cool is that?
Profile Image for T.
151 reviews42 followers
August 24, 2016
I eagerly went into this book thinking I would love it as much as the River of Time series, but unfortunately, it didn't really meet my expectations. I'm not really sure why I'm not fangirling over this novel, but I think it has to do with the pacing of the book and the romance. After all, the real action didn't really begin until the last few chapters, so the majority of this novel was just exposition.

But the biggest problem was the romance, hands down. I mean the writing is good. The characters are actually really well developed. I loved Cora's new family members and traveling companions. I loved Cora. I loved Will. I hated the love triangle. It felt not only unnecessary, but I found myself rolling my eyes quite a few times. Plus we all know that Will is really who Cora is gonna end up with, so the whole "sophisticated Frenchman chasing after Cora" thing gets me annoyed. The ending though was very suspenseful, but I don't think I can muster up any energy to read the second book. Especially if it's gonna contain more angst from Cora about having to make the right decision and choose between kindhearted sweet Will or sophisticated rich French dude that I'm not bothered to remember the name of. Ugh le barf
Profile Image for Faith.
1,819 reviews
April 15, 2020
Well rounded tale, with an excellent portrayal of class distinction in the years before WWI.

I absolutely loved this book, with a setting and time period that is so in vogue right now, (think Downton Abbey), and a leading character that won my heart over from the start.
When her father has a stroke, Cora's life changes forever in ways that she could never imagine in her wildest dreams, and I liked the way that she handled herself in the many tough situations that she had to endure.
The characters were really well developed, and many were not straight up what I thought they were on first meeting them.
I liked the quick and steady pace of the plot, and how parts of the story were told in first person by Cora, and others in third person by others, such as Wallace and Will.

Overall, I think this is a book that I would most certainly recommend to fans of historical novels with a wonderful depth to them. And I loved going on the grand tour with Cora and her new found companions. Highly recommend!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Profile Image for Loraine.
3,021 reviews
July 19, 2012
Once again Lisa Tawn Bergren has introduced a new series that will keep us waiting til the next book appears. Based upon the early 1900's idea, of the European Grand Tour for young adults, we are introduced to two connected families of young people who are thrown for a loop when Cora Diehl becomes part of their entourage as the illegitimate daughter of one of the families. This adventure turns into a journey of discovery for all seven of the young people as well as one of their tour guides. I look forward to finding out more about the young people and seeing how each of them grows and changes.
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