July 6, 2012

Glamorous Illusions - Lisa T. Bergren

New Adult
Pages: 416
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: June 1, 2012

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….

If you've read the River of Time series, you know what a wonderful writer Lisa is. If you haven't, you should read it. This new series is different in many ways. First, it's not technically Young Adult, it's "New Adult" which is basically college age. Second, it's full-on historical fiction, not time travel. And third, it includes a bit more faith.

First, New Adult? Gah, can we have more of this please? I mean seriously, I hadn't really thought about it but do you know how many books I've read with college age characters in my life? Not many. How come literature "classifications" jumps from High School to adulthood? SO unfair. This should be fixed.

Second, the historical aspect of it was fascinating! Even to non-historical readers I'm sure this will be more than an enjoyable read. There's a new surprising plot twist every few pages, and that's one of the things I love about Lisa's books: you can never predict what will happen. She will surprise you in every chapter. This takes place a year after the Titanic fiasco, and travels around Europe, mostly England and France. The writing makes you feel the setting right along with the characters. I felt I saw all these places along with them. I felt I time-traveled myself, and that's what any great historical fiction book should feel like. The pace was somewhat slow at times, but the story and vividness of places, made up for that.

Now to the third point. I have NOT read Christian or any other type of religious fiction before, so I have nothing to compare this to, BUT I don't judge people by their beliefs or lack of, so I wouldn't be one to judge characters by this either. I felt that in this book the faith aspect is not only fitting but it needs to be part of the story. Just like (for example) in Grave Mercy, Ismae's blind beliefs are part of the story. Neither one bothered me at all, they just fit in the story. I would never know that this book was anything other than fiction if I hadn't been warned.

Overall, don't let the different aspects of this book shy you away from it, because it's a wonderful adventure waiting to happen. It involves a sigh-worthy romance, and travel across seas in the same line of the Titanic, and sashaying through Europe amongst the elite, and the importance between family and self, and new bumps on the road every now and then, and an ending that will leave you begging for more. I even ADORE the cover! One of my favorite covers of 2012.


  1. Oh, yay! I was so nervous you wouldn't like it, since it's so different from River. Thanks for giving it a whirl...and for your honest review. xoxo

  2. I really loved this book (more than River) especially the romance (ah, Will <3 ) and Cora and the historical elements and traveling through Europe and well, pretty much everything. Can't wait for the next installment!


Say something...