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Review: Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Tawn Bergren (Grand Tour series #1)

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Synopsis from Goodreads
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 education, 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.


Amazon  US/UK | Amazon kindle UK | The Book Depository US/UK | Fishpond

8/10

* * *
 I really enjoyed this book, not only because it beautifully shows Belle Epoque at its end, but because Lisa Tawn Bergren's writing is pretty vivid in itself. I remember her River of Time trilogy, and I have to admire her for massive amount of historical research of different eras she must have done for each of her books.


Cora is a strong-willed and lovely young woman who wants to be a teacher. Her family is poor, her dad just had a stroke and the drought in the region is so severe that the family is facing losing their farm altogether.

However, a visit from a copper mines king Wallace Kensington reveals that she is closely related to him, and he is willing to help her mom and dad to get medical help and send Cora on a Grand Tour around Europe with his 3 children, so she can receive marvellous education, expand her horizons and decide what to do with her life later on.

Cora doesn't want to leave her family but both sides beg her to take this opportunity and find out what she really wants in life. Wallace also hopes that she will influence his 3 spoiled kids and make them appreciate what they have more.

The Tour itself is planned and executed by two guides - Stuart and his nephew, William. William is quite taken by Cora, and despite mutual attraction tries his best to stay professional and keep his distance from her.

It's a lovely sweet story, where people despite the prejudices and differences in status stay nice to each other and learn from their experiences. Cora slowly gains respect and admiration from other Kensingtons, and when a charming rich French aristocrat, Pierre Richelieu, starts courting her... Well, things get really exciting and make her really question what it is that she wants from her life? What starts like an absurd dream for a farm girl from Montana becomes an even stranger reality.

This book was a sorely needed breath of fresh air among darker fiction which I usually read. Recommended.

Please, make a note that this is Christian fiction, so there will be plenty references to Lord and His ways. I don't mind reading it, but I know that plenty of people find it a bit irritating.

Other works by Lisa T. Bergren I recommend: Waterfall, Cascade & Torrent.

* * *
Несмотря на то, что мисс Бергрен пишет христианские романы, пишет она очень хорошо, и иногда, садясь за её книгу я просто отдыхаю душой.

Вот и в этот раз, она не подвела мои ожидания. Замечательная эра - Belle Epoque или Золотой Век, который заканчивается как раз перед Первой Мировой Войной. Балы, наряды, излишества и эмансипация женщин.

Кора - простая сельская девушка из Монтаны, которая только что вернулась домой перед тем как закончить своё образование и стать учителем. Но отец её внезапно получает инсульт и нуждается в медицинской помощи, а ферма стоит на грани банкротства из-за чрезвычайно сухого лета.

В один день семью навещает король медных шахт и бывший сенатор Уоллес Кенсингтон. Оказывается, Кора его незаконнорожденная дочь и он настаивает на том, чтобы вмешаться и помочь всей семье. Кора отправляется в Гранд Тур по всей Европе вместе с остальными детьми Уоллеса, которые изначально враждебны к ней, но со временем начинают ей симпатизировать и даже её уважать. 

Сама Кора проходит через несколько стадий изменений, ей нравится Уилл - один из гидов, занимающихся туром и когда они приплывают во Францию, она также становится объектом ухаживания очаровательного и очень богатого аристократа Пьерра Ришелье, что заставляет её задаться вопросом, а чего она действительно хочет от жизни?

Хорошо под эту книгу отдыхать и остаёшься после неё в приподнятом настроении. Рекомендую.
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