Glamorous Illusions

Glamorous Illusions

4.4 57
by Lisa Tawn Bergren

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When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening,

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When Cora Kensington learns she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper king, her life changes forever. Even as she explores Europe with her new family, she discovers that the most valuable journey is within. The first book in the Grand Tour series takes you from the farms of Montana through England and France on an adventure of forgiveness, spiritual awakening, and self-discovery.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Cora Kensington has completed her first year of training as a teacher and returned to Montana in the wake of her father's death, only to learn that her family is about to lose their farm. Then a visitor informs her that she is the illegitimate daughter of a copper tycoon who now wants to get to know his daughter. He sends her on a whirlwind tour of Europe, along with Sir Stuart McCabe and his nephew, William. VERDICT Well-developed characters and a hint of romance make this an enjoyable read, but the abrupt ending disappoints. Still, this is the first book in a trilogy, so readers may eagerly await the next installment. Grave Consequences and Glittering Promises will be released in 2013. Recommend it to fans of Michael R. Phillips.

Product Details

Cook, David C
Publication date:
Grand Tour Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.06(h) x 1.14(d)

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Glamorous Illusions

By Lisa T. Bergren

David C. Cook

Copyright © 2012 Lisa T. Bergren
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-43476-430-0

Chapter One

Montana, 1913


As the locomotive reached the train station, I strained so hard to see my folks that my eyes hurt. I looked left and right, but the town was as sleepy as always. It wasn't as if I had to search for them among throngs—I saw no one but old Clifford Miller across the street, climbing into his wagon with some effort, and Susan Johnson entering her hardware store.

Likely just late, I decided, making my way forward between the seats before we had fully stopped, then climbing down the steep steps to the wooden platform.

"Miss?" asked a man's voice behind me.

I turned in surprise, holding my hand up to my old hat as I felt a pin slip, and then—embarrassed that I'd forgotten to even look for it—took my valise from the conductor's hand. "Thank you."

The railroad man looked beyond me to the vacant platform and street. "Someone comin' for you, miss?"

I nodded eagerly. "Yes. My parents. They must've been delayed. They'll be along shortly." A long whistle sounded. Not that there was anyone around to rush aboard. Protocol, I supposed. That whistle, usually heard from three miles distant, was a part of all my childhood years. A warm sense of home filtered through me, making me smile.

The man lifted his brows and nodded back with a curious smile as the train began to chug into motion. "Good day, then."

"Good day," I returned, watching as he stepped aboard the steps and disappeared inside the train.

The train station—little more than a water tower, a platform, and a tiny hut of a shelter—was in the center of Main Street, which was all of two blocks long. I shaded my eyes and looked to the massive mountains behind the station, which were a pale blue in the afternoon sun. Dunnigan had once been a gold-rush town, established to supply the miners who had streamed into the mountains, seeking their fortune. But it had seen its heyday come and go. Now the buildings were in need of paint, and half the storefronts were abandoned. These days, it existed solely to supply the local farmers who stubbornly eked out an existence on the prairie in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains' peaks, farming and ranching.

But oh, did it feel good to see those mountains again. I closed my eyes and lifted my face to feel the cool breeze coming off them, down to us on the eastern plains. The feel of it, the scent of pine and sage and dust ... all were of home. I craned my neck again, eagerly looking down the road in the direction Mama and Papa should be coming from. But no one was on the road—and I could see a good mile before it disappeared over a hill.

Mr. Miller, with his balding head, giant, flapping ears, and sagging jowls, pulled up alongside the platform. "Well, if it isn't Cora Diehl," he said with a smile. "Welcome home, girl."

"Thank you, Mr. Miller. I don't suppose you've seen my folks today, have you?" A stab of anxiety shot through me. What if something was wrong?

"No, miss. Drove right by your place on the way in. Didn't see hide nor hair of 'em. But I can take you out." He nodded toward the foothills, in the direction of home.

"Oh, that's all right," I said. I could walk the three miles faster than Clifford Miller's old mare could haul us.

"Nonsense, girl. I'll take you. And if we meet your folks on the road, then that's less time on the road for them."

"Oh, Mr. Miller. I don't wish to burden your mare ..."

"Come, come," he said, waving me forward. "If old Star can haul hay, she can haul a bit of a girl like you. Unless that valise is full of bricks." Even though his tone was gruff, his watery eyes twinkled.

I smiled. I was hardly a bit of a girl. I was a woman grown, but I supposed my old neighbor would always see me as the five-year-old who would come to call, uninvited, and trail him around his homestead. "As long as you're certain it's no imposition."

"Imposition? Pshaw. Just being neighborly. Did they not teach you that in teacher college?" He reached over across the seat to take my hand as I clambered up.

I met his teasing grin. "No, we didn't cover that particular subject."

"Hmph," he said, flicking the reins.

We moved out, down the road. Mr. Jennings, the saddler, came outside to sweep his front stoop and waved as we went by. "Welcome home, Cora."

"Thanks, Mr. Jennings! See you soon!"

"Hope so! You stop by and tell me all about that teacher college, all right?"

"I will!"

I didn't know what was keeping my folks, but it didn't really matter—I felt welcomed already. The welcome sight of sleepy Main Street; the warm, dry wind as it swept dust across the road; the cheery red barns and tidy fence posts ... After the busy bustle and noise of the city, the quiet and normalcy of the long summer stretching before me felt peaceful, like a blanket settling in around my shoulders, urging me into a porch swing.

"So I take it that Normal School over there in Dillon still suits you," Mr. Miller said.

"It's wonderful," I said. "I've learned a great deal. Two more years, and I can teach anywhere in the state."

"Should come home. Settle down with Lorrie Cramer."

I lifted my brows. "Isn't Lorrie Cramer seeing Louisa Anderson?" I said politely. Not that I really cared. Lorrie Cramer was a nice boy. Quiet. Hardworking. But all he ever thought about—all he ever wanted to think about—was farming. In the last year, I'd decided I loved learning. It fed me. Expanded me. Shaped me. I'd be eager to return to school, come fall. And I knew I needed a man who longed for the same.

"Ach. He doesn't care about Louisa. He's always had an eye for you." Mr. Miller gave me a sidelong glance, and I smiled. While I couldn't help but find Lorrie's attention flattering, I didn't want him to set his cap for me. Because he and I would never be more than friends. We just weren't well matched.

Mr. Miller and I chattered on about his rheumatism, the strange, dry winter followed by the dry spring, the shortage of spring lambs, calves, and foals. "Wind started in January," he said, "and hasn't let up yet."

In all my years on the farm, I could only remember one year when my papa was happy with how much rain we'd had—when it came, how it came, how long it lasted. Every other year, it was the common refrain of every farmer I knew—if only the weather ... But even in Dillon, we'd noted the uncommonly warm winter, the lack of snow at Christmas. Papa would likely be fretting too.

I squinted my eyes, trying to see the house now that we were over the hill and about a half mile distant. The wind was gathering in strength as we neared the mountains, sending waves of dust across our path. All along, I was certain we'd meet up with my folks, and with each bend in the road, I grew more anxious.

My heartbeat accelerated. Something was wrong. Or was it simply my imagination running wild?

I thought back to the last time I'd heard from my mother—a letter two weeks ago, with the ticket enclosed. Perhaps they never got my reply confirming I'd be on this train, on this day? That was likely it. Everything was fine. Just a misunderstanding.

But the words inside my mind didn't match the fear gathering in my chest, making me fight for breath.

They'd know I would be on that train. They'd expect me. Today. An hour ago.

As we neared the farm, I could see that the wagon was pulled up to the house—Sugarbeet ready for a run to town. So what had kept them?

Mr. Miller gave me a sidelong glance. He had fallen conspicuously silent. At last, we turned onto our farm's long lane, and I could bear the slow pace no longer. "Please. Stop the wagon, Mr. Miller. I need to get out."

"Just a bit farther, Cora. I'll deliver you to your stoop."

"No," I said, shaking my head. "Please."

When he only frowned, I half stood and jumped to the ground, even as he abruptly pulled back on Star's reins. I was out and running before he came to a full stop, tearing down the lane as if a mad dog were after me. I lifted my skirts and ran across our yard and into the house. "Mama?" I called, opening the door. "Papa?" The house was quiet.

I turned and saw that Mr. Miller was only halfway up the lane. I ran across the yard to the barn, hesitating at the door. I peered into the dark recesses. "Papa?"

That was when I glimpsed her. My mother. Weeping over my father, who was sprawled over the straw-strewn floor of the barn, his neck and head in her lap. He looked semiconscious, deathly pale.

"C-Cora?" Mama asked, looking up at me, her face red and blotchy. "Oh, Cora. I didn't know what to do," she sobbed. She reached out to me, and her expression was so full of raw need and fear, I brought a hand to my chest as I sank to my knees beside Papa.

He was breathing. But his eyes were wide and vacant, and his hand was so cold—

"Cora!" Mama said. "Please, baby. Take Sugarbeet and run for the doctor."


Excerpted from Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren Copyright © 2012 by Lisa T. Bergren. Excerpted by permission of David C. Cook. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Meet the Author

Lisa T. Bergren is the award-winning author of over thirty-five books, with more than 2 million copies sold. A former publishing executive, Lisa now divides her time between writing, editing, parenting three children with her husband, Tim, and dreaming of her next trip to Italy. She lives in Colorado Springs.

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Glamorous Illusions 4.4 out of 5 based on 2 ratings. 57 reviews.
BookSakeBlogspot More than 1 year ago
Another wonderful start to another wonderful series by Bergren. I am a huge fan of Lisa’s River of Time series, as is another of our reviewers (Kole). This series follows a girl that has been living a simple life, barely making ends meet with her family. Soon she is swept up into a world she has never seen, with a family she has never known. Alternating her point of view with Will’s, one of her tour guides, gives the reader the chance to get to know both of these characters from inside and out. Glamorous Illusions has less action/adventure to it than the River of Time series, but that doesn’t mean it can’t hold its own. It is all about self discovery and following one’s heart. Both Cora and Will are determined to do the right thing through and through, even though they both need to learn about themselves and the changes in their world in order to do so. There are many characters in this book, but never too many that I mixed them up or was confused as to who was who, as they are all very distinct personalities. Lisa does have a way with writing strong woman and I love it! I am not an avid Christian book reader, but what I have read of Lisa T. Bergren’s series isn’t preachy. Yes, it does have Christian characters and speak of God, but it isn’t overwhelming and simply lends itself to the characters and the wonderful story she has created. The characters ponder over the challenges that they are faced with and turn to their religion to help see them through it. I hope this book is filed under Young Adult, Romance, Historical Fiction, and Christian books at stores because there are so many readers that will enjoy this series. Reviewed by Jessica for Book Sake.
booklover16MH More than 1 year ago
As others have stated in their reviews, I really enjoyed Lisa Bergren's River of Time series, and when I saw that this book was coming out, I immediately put it into my wish list. And it did not disappoint. The story drew me in immediately, and I had to pace myself in order to not read it in one day but to enjoy it over a few days. I really enjoyed reading from the perspective of both Cora and Will. I also enjoyed reading about the early 1900s and the whole idea of a "Grand Tour". I personally love visiting England and France, so the settings of the book were a plus. The front cover of the book is beautiful as well, so I'm glad to have it in paperback. The only two things that I found lacking were a.) the side characters and b.) the fact that the book leaves the reader hanging. I would have loved to have had a better idea of who Cora's half-siblings were as I felt that their descriptions didn't give much detail. I couldn't really picture the sisters at all, so I really had no feeling about them. I think it would have added more depth to the book to learn a bit more about each of them. And I find it a bit frustrating to be left hanging at the conclusion of a book, especially when there are many months between the publishing dates of each consecutive book. I'm glad the series is continuing, but I would prefer to read the books right in a row. But that's just me . . . Overall, this book is well-written, quite enjoyable, and perfect for anyone who loves reading stories that are set in Europe and/or during the time period right before WWI.
DLBishop More than 1 year ago
I am very impressed with this book! It is easy to get caught up in the storyline and follow its flow. It's clear that Lisa Bergren has done her research because this story is jam-packed with lots of little historical references and nuances that make it substantial. The chapters alternate from the viewpoints of two main characters, Cora and William. (This reminds me of the first novella Bergren wrote to follow "The River of Time" series. In that novella the chapters alternate between the vantage points of Gabi and Lia.) Seeing the same situation from multiple angles adds an interesting dynamic to the book. I appreciate reading Christian fiction that's more than just a sweet story. I crave depth, character development and a storyline that isn't predictable. "Glamorous Illusions" didn't disappoint me in any of these areas! This was one of those books where I had to struggle to "pace myself" while reading it. I could have easily convinced myself to pull an all-nighter and polish it off - but then it would have been over. This book is THAT good, and I just wanted to savor it for a little bit longer. The best part of "Glamorous Illusions" was noticing that it is just "Book One!" I look forward to reading future books in the series!
MFurumasu More than 1 year ago
Cora Diehl's life is turned upside down when she learns she is the illegitimate daughter of Wallace Kensington a Montana copper king. She is forced to come to terms with the knowledge of her biological parents' sin and the secret her loved ones kept from her all her life. She has to discover how to love the siblings who scorn her, while she is thrown into a trip around Europe with them. This first book in the Grand Tour series takes you on an adventure from the farms of Montana through England and France. Along the way Cora discovers that the most valuable journey is within. In the pages of this book there are lessons of forgiveness, trust, finding self-worth and reliance on God. As I read this book I was pleased to once again find my self taken back in time. Lisa has a wonderful way of bringing cultures and foreign places to life right before your eyes. Each book I've read of hers leaves me wanting more! The characters become like family or friends and you don't want to say goodbye at the end. I look forward to the next books in this series!
book4children More than 1 year ago
What a unique, beautiful book! I was immediately sucked into the story and remained there until I turned the last page. I loved it. The book is about a young woman named Cora who lives on a failing farm in Montana until she finds out the truth about her parentage. She is the illegitimate child of the Copper King and his maid (her mother). She is whisked away to meet her half siblings and join the Grand Tour of Europe they are embarking on. I loved the premise for the book. I liked the relationships between the siblings and Cora, the guides and Cora, Pierre and Cora. Essentially, I loved Cora. She was a wonderful protagonist that I enjoyed following as she navigated the choppy waters of her new life. She was believable and genuine, a true lady, in spite of (or maybe because of) her farm upbringing. The author has a way of introducing themes and elements that are common (like parties and balls) in historical novels and making them feel new. I often felt like I was a character in the book, and I experienced everything that Cora did, felt what she felt, and saw the world through her eyes. It was a beautiful book that I would highly recommend to fans of Christian fiction and romance. Source: I bought this book for my Kindle. Content: Some innuendo, drinking, and gambling, all amongst adults.
CaraPutman More than 1 year ago
This book is breath-taking in its scope, in the questions it raises, and in the way it pulled me until I had to put the world on hold for just a few more minutes so I could finish the story. Loved it and aching to dive into book 2!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The first novel in a new series by Lisa T. Bergren asks the reader to consider what they know about their life as it is. Then she asks you to go further, and ponder the ramifications of something immense intervening in their paths. This is what happens to Cora, the central figure of the novel. I have always enjoyed Ms. Bergren's novels, and this one did not disappoint me. She is skilled at drawing you into her story and making you care deeply for her characters. It is also refreshing to read a book that doesn't go too far in its' graphic descriptions. There is plenty of romance and intrigue in the pages, yet it doesn't take you too far. I look forward to the next book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed reading about Cora's new life and travels. She had challenges and sorrows but met them with God's help .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GHott More than 1 year ago
Hott Synopsis: Shock. Absolute, staggering, shock. Cora can’t believe that she’s not the person she thought. Her father isn’t the man she thought. Her mother could have done something so degrading. Her life changes absolutely when she arrives home from Normal School, halfway to her teaching certificate, to find her father has had a stroke. How can God ever help them recover from this devastation? Oh, but He does provide an answer. Not the one Cora had anticipated or hoped for but an answer. She’s to have a Grand Tour with siblings she doesn’t know. Now, Cora must cope with a new family that doesn’t want her, a new name she’s not prepared for, and admittance into a world she’s never considered. Will she be able to navigate all of these changes and the fear of leaving behind the only life she’s ever know and still keep God at the forefront? Hott Review: I don’t enjoy books like this. I grabbed the second book in the series, Grave Consequences, thinking it a mystery then decided that I needed to read this first. I almost didn’t when I realized it was really a book about life and not just a sweet inspiration romance or mystery. What I liked: WOW. Just WOW! I was completely drawn into this book. I just couldn’t out it down – and when I was unable to read, I was thinking about it. The plot and imagery are so real you feel transported through time! Amazing! What I didn’t like: Honestly, I’m glad this series is in three books, but I can’t imagine not reading all of them. If I’d realized that is was essentially one book cut into three books of 400+ pages each I probably wouldn’t have started this series yet, I feel that I’d be missing something integral if I’d not taken this journey with Cora. More… Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren Source: Kindle Free Read 6/2012 Grade: A Ages: 16+ Steam: YA Setting: Montanna & then Europe Series: Grand Tour #1
NatDag More than 1 year ago
Lisa Bergren does a wonderful job of transporting the reader into the early 1900's and to the various places the characters travel to in Europe. I really enjoyed following Cora's journey of discovery and love throughout the entire series. Worth the read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the series
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
JackiesBookWorld More than 1 year ago
Glamorous Illusions will take anyone on a ride full of adventure,mystery, travel, and romance. Taking place in 1913, the story evolves around Cora Kensington, a girl Montana, whose future is about to change as soon as her biological father appears in her life. Not knowing that the father that she thought was hers is not her real father, Cora is immediately thrown into a world of mystery and secrecy. Discovering that she is the illegitimate daughter of the Copper King, she will have to adjust to a new life style all for her parents. As soon as she is told that she will have to take the Grand Tour with her half siblings and their friends, Cora will not only have to fight to gain their approval, but she will also learn to find the importance of what she has and of who she really is. In a world of glamour and richness, Lisa T. Bergren takes readers to a whole new world, full of amazing adventures in the most amazing places in the world. As a lover for all things traveling, I was really excited to read this book. The cover itself completely grabbed my attention, the art represents the book really well. There are only a handful of historical romance books that I've read, but this one has made it to my “all time favorite” shelf. The story is beautifully written,and it captures the feel of the cities very well. I found myself completely immersed in the book. Cora's adventure definitely keeps the reader wanting for more. Her personally is very likable, and she is strong minded (which protects her from her unlikable siblings). I absolutely love Will in the story, he is the only person that Cora can truly trust, and it makes it hard as a reader to see that my favorite characters in the book don't always en up together. But as new adventures unfold, the book suddenly stops with a cliffhanger. Which wasn't my favorite part, but I will definitely read the second book of the series. I can't wait to see what happens next. I would recommend this book to those that love historical books, romance, and for those that love traveling as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
dgottreu More than 1 year ago
Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren gave a glimpse into the life of the super rich at the beginning of the twentieth century. The year is 1913 and Cora has returned home from Normal School for the summer. Her dad has a stroke and recovers quite well. Then he has another stroke and this time he is completely incapacitated. Cora is working herself into a state exhaustion to keep the small farm going in spite of the drought that is plaguing the entire area. Cora is in the barn working when a fine carriage appears at the door of the farmhouse and two very well dressed men alight from the carriage. One man, a doctor, goes inside to examine Cora’s father. The other man, Wallace Kensington, the copper king of Montana, is talking to Cora’s mother and when Cora walks up her mother introduces him and then he drops a bombshell. He is Cora’s birth father. She does not believe him but then her mother convinces her that what he says is true. He is there to offer her the deal of a lifetime. She is to take the Grand Tour of Europe with his other three children and three of their friends and in return he will send her father to the best hospital in Minnesota, pay her mother three times the worth of the farm, and pay for the rest of her education at the Normal School. Cora argues that she can keep the farm going but after talking more with her mother she accepts Kensington’s offer in spite of her doubts. During the Grand Tour not only will Cora get to know her brother and two sisters, but she will come to learn a lot about herself. The author did an excellent job developing the characters and they definitely came alive on the pages of the book. There were lots of twists and turns in the plot and many times one was left wondering what was going to happen next. There were also several times when I was sitting on the edge of my chair wondering if Cora or someone else was going to get out of the trouble they were in. There was even one incident when death seemed likely for one of the travelers. The dialogue in the novel was very enjoyable and whether it was Cora talking with Will, the two youngest girls talking and giggling, or any other individual speaking, the dialogue was great. When the Bear, leader of the group, was lecturing about the museums, art works, buildings, cities, and other items I could almost see what the group was seeing and felt as if I were right there with the group. The author obviously did a great deal of research for this novel and it shows throughout the entire book. I highly recommend this book to all who like to read historical novels about the lives and loves of the super rich in the early twentieth century. I received a complimentary copy of this book from David C. Cook at Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read the sample and was terribly disapointed because it was boring! Then i borrowed the book from the library and couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the story. Didn't know the story would not end with this book. I want to know what will happen next.
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semosier More than 1 year ago
A wonderful, inspiring book about self discovery. I highly recommend!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago