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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Review, Interview, and Giveaway: Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren
The Grand Tour Series: Book One
Find on: Amazon, Goodreads, Christianbook

About the book:

It's the summer of 1913 and Cora Kensington's life on the family farm has taken a dark turn. Not only are the crops failing, but someone dear to Cora is failing as well.

In one fateful afternoon, a stranger comes to call, and Cora discovers a terrible secret about her past. A secret that will radically change her future.

Cora is invited to take the "Grand Tour" of Europe, a journey intended to finish a person's eduction, to solidify an understanding of ancient culture and contemporary refinement. As she travels from England to France, with kin she's never known, Cora encounters the blessings of a family name, as well as the curses. But when an unbidden love begins to form, she realizes the journey is only beginning..

The first book in the Grand Tour series will take readers on a journey of cultural refinement, but moreover, explores what truly informs a person's sense of identity.

My rating:
My thoughts:

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.*

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An interview with Lisa T. Bergren, Author of Glamorous Illusions
(courtesy of Litfuse Publicity)

Glamorous Illusions, the first release in Lisa Bergren’s new Grand Tour series, is a beautiful exploration of the covenant connection between God the Father and His children. Through the story of Cora Kensington, Bergren takes her audience on a European adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awareness, and self-discovery.

A person often identifies themself by their family, profession, or circumstances. However, as Christians, what would happen if we began to better understand our true identity in Christ? It is this spiritual journey that author Bergren guides readers through in Glamorous Illusions.

Q: Why do you think it is so difficult for us as Christians to remember our first, true identity?

We’re so absorbed in how our contemporary culture identifies us—by looks, career, family, wealth, faith—that we forget that our primary identity is a child of God. That no matter where we work or what we accomplish, no matter what happens and who is in our life (or isn’t), our core identity makes us valuable, treasured, cherished, forgiven, free and mighty. We are stronger than we could ever believe, through him, here to do his good work. But we buy in to the false identities our world gives us—which leaves us feeling consistently weak and wanting and wimpy.

I get it. I really do. But if we could just seize that core identity and hold on to it, I believe we’d be as Catherine of Siena said “If you are what you should be, you will set the whole world on fire.” There’s a whole lot of untapped potential within each of us…and it’s tied to our understanding of our truest identity. Cora Diehl Kensington, my main character, is on an inner journey to discover that just as surely as she is on an outer journey through Europe.

Q: Before you begin a new series, how much time do you devote to research of a time period or location?

I like to be reading and researching a good six months before I begin writing. Research gives me context, as well as potential plot points to incorporate.

Q: Why do you think “Downtown Abbey” is so hot among the American audience? How does your Grand Tour series relate to that craze?

At its core, I think “Downtown Abbey” is a story about community, made up of many different personalities. There are two subsets to that community, obviously, between the servants and their wealthy employers. But those two circles intersect and they’re really all one. And many of their issues are the same—the quest to face sins and errors of the past, seek forgiveness, rise in status (or put it in its proper place), and find true love.  These are all themes that relate to us in America, regardless of where and how we live. They’re universal themes. And they appear in my book too. Add to that the European settings and I think it’s inevitable that there will be some comparisons.

Q: At one time, a world tour was a popular custom for young adults in Europe as a part of their education. Do you think young adults today would benefit from travel and seeing what other cultures are like?

I’m a huge champion for world travel for all. Given our current economic woes, that dream feels pretty distant for many Americans, but you can catch a glimpse of other culture, right here in the US too. Sometimes it only takes a day’s drive to feel something “foreign.” Sometimes it’s only an hour away! But the point is this—we get so absorbed in our little microcosm of life that we begin to think that our world is like everyone else’s. Or we have a hard time caring for anyone outside of our little bubble. Exploration, outside The Bubble, helps us identify differences and commonalities among all of God’s people, and sows seeds of understanding and grace.

Q: We’re introduced to Cora’s travel companions who have struggles of their own. What are some of the inner conflicts they face?

They all have principal vices and sins that they are struggling with. Pride, greed, lust, laziness, anger… I like that at first, Cora uses those sins to dismiss each of them. She uses them as a sort of barrier that she can justify. But as they travel together, she finds she herself struggles with a measure of each of those sins too. She is not immune. She is not perfect. And discovering that allows her to extend grace to each of them, which also encourages growth and healing.

Q: As an author, you have written books in several different genres, including children’s books. What has drawn you to historical women's fiction in your past few series?

I love that it provides such a rich backdrop to my story. It immediately feels like my tale has more depth and intrigue with a historical tapestry behind it. In this time period, the world is on the brink of so much—World War I, the right to vote for women, Prohibition—but at that moment, it’s rather innocent. Full of hope and promise, but with whispers of warning in the air that change was coming…

Learn more about the author and her books at lisatawnbergren.com.

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren ~ David C Cook ~ June 1, 2012 ~ ISBN: 978-1-4347-6430-0

Book Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of Glamorous Illusions! Open to the US and Canada!

Enter via the Rafflecopter below. The mandatory entry is to leave a comment on this blog post, after that the optional entries will become available. :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Thanks for the great review. This is a book I really look forward to reading.

  2. This was such a great book. I love the river of time series and loved this book too. I'm looking forward to the next one!

    Kathryn @ Clean Teen Fiction

  3. I love the idea of the Grand Tour! I would totally read the book just for that :D

  4. Oh my goodness! I literally almost squealed when I saw that you were givinng away a copy of this book, since I have wanted to read it REALLY bad! I really hope I can win! :)

  5. Wow! This book sounds amazing. Would love the chance to win. julierupert@gmail.com

  6. i love Lisa Tawn Bergren's novels (except the YA time travel ones) and am so glad she's got another one out. Thanks for the chance to win. I'll wait with baited breath!

  7. I love the idea of the Grand Tour series. What a perfect way to tell a group of related stories with new content in each one. That must have been such an exciting time to live. Thanks for bringing this series to my attention.

  8. Sounds really good! Thanks for the chance to win!

  9. Enter me this book looks great!!

  10. She is one of my favorite authers. Thanks for the give away.

  11. I was just told yesterday that I absolutely MUST READ THIS BOOK! LOL

    I was eyeing it up today, at my workplace! So please DO ENTER ME! :D :D

    (I go by Bekah on Rafflecopter too)

  12. This sounds and looks like an amazing book!

  13. This book and series sounds lovely. I definitely would be interested in reading. Please enter me in the giveaway. :)

  14. This looks like a really amazing story. I have yet to read a book by this author and hope to start with this one.

  15. I would LOVE to win this book! Lisa is a favorite author of mine ever since River of Time and the Homeward Trilogy. :) Cannot wait to read this!

  16. This author is great! Would love to read this.


  17. Great interview! Loved all the unique questions. Thanks for the chance to win!

  18. This is awesome! I love this author! Her books are fantastic! Anyway, thank you so much for hosting this giveaway. So many of us love to read but don't have the finances to afford the books. It's giveaways like this that make it possible for me to have such a wonderful library! Thank you!

    With Hope and Love,
    Stephanie Cook

  19. Neat giveaway! I would love to read this book so please enter me!

  20. Honestly that book sounds amazing! Thanks for letting me know about it!

    ykatrina at hotmail dot com

  21. I love the era of Glamorous Illusions and a world tour sounds wonderful via Lisa's newest book.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

  23. I heard this book is a good one to read! The "Grand Tour" sounds beautiful for the time and setting of the book. I hope to win a copy to read and submerge myself in this historical romance.Thanks:)
    Cyndee Thomas

  24. I can't wait to get started on this new series! I LOVED the River of Time series and have heard nothing but good reviews for this book. Plus the cover for Glamorous Illusions and Grave Consequences are gorgeous, can't wait to see the last one! I'm also looking forward to Lisa's new dystopian series.

  25. So excited to read this!

  26. any book by Lisa has my attention!
    great interview too ~ always fun to hear the author's inside stories
    TY for posting...

  27. Sounds like a wonderful read! And the cover is gorgeous.

    Mrs. Pedersen (Rafflecopter: JoshandHeatherPedersen

  28. I read that book and loved it! =D

  29. Love the cover, thanks so much for the giveaway !


  30. Great book. Looking coward to the second. Would love to pass this book along.


  31. How wonderful it would be to have a grand tour, the story sounds like one I would like to read. thanks for sharing
    Paula O(kyflo130@yahoo.com)

  32. Thank you for the giveaway..


  33. Thank you for the review and the chance to win the book. I have been looking forward to reading this for a while. There aren't a lot of authors writing in this particular time period and I find it fascinating.

  34. Hi there!
    This book looks so good! I look forward to reading it.

  35. Thanks for the awesome giveaway - this book was amaaaazing! :D

  36. Haven't read it yet, but I've been wanting to for awhile!!!


  37. Great review and interview. I have got to watch Downtown Abbey. Everywhere I go, I see it mentioned.

  38. I love Lisa's River of Time series! I am dying to read this book!
    Thanks for the chance!

  39. desitheblondeatmsndot com
    ilike teh book blurb and then the cover is great i love to romance and then i do my own rreview for you

  40. I love her books! Thanks!

  41. I have heard a lot about this author but haven't had the chance to read anything by her yet! Thanks for the chance!
    katsaddress AT gmail. DOT com

  42. This book sounds very interesting & historical fiction is my favorite genre!

  43. This book sounds great! I enjoy your reviews but I don't find any Melanie on any at Amazon. Do you review by a different name?
    Would love the opportunity to win.

  44. LAWonder - Here is the link to my Amazon review - http://www.amazon.com/review/R3B8ZZIC98TBLG/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

    Thanks for entering! :)

  45. looks interesting!

  46. Please please please PLEASE PLEASE please please keep me entered...I'm desperate for a copy of this book. As time goes on, I'm getting more desperate. :P CANNOT wait to read it! I love Lisa Bergren's books and really look forward to reading this, her newest one. Thank you so much for this giveaway! And yes, I know I'm already entered. But I'm leaving another comment for good measure. :)

  47. I'm looking forward to reading this book, thanks for the giveaway!

  48. Sounds like a great read!


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