Glamorous Illusions, Historical Fiction

by 5 Minutes for Books

Glamorous Illusions is the first novel in Lisa T. Bergren’s new Grand Tour series. The year is 1913, and Cora Diehl returns from her second year of college to find her father struck down by illness and the crops on the family’s farm failing from drought. It seems unlikely that she will be able to continue her education, and it’s not even certain whether they will be able to hold onto their house and land. Into the midst of this turmoil comes a stranger, Mr. Kensington, with a revelation that will change her life forever.

Cora is stunned to learn that the wealthy copper baron who has arrived at her farm is actually her natural father, and that she was conceived while her mother was a maid in his home. Although a complete stranger to her, he has been keeping track of her through the years and has come now to offer help to her parents and to invite her to join the rest of his children this summer for their European Grand Tour.

Thus begins Cora’s whirlwind adventure, as she is whisked away to the Kensington estate and introduced to her half-siblings, who have only learned of her existence a few days earlier. After being outfitted with an entirely new wardrobe and assigned a maid to help her adjust to her new situation, Cora finds herself on a ship to England as part of a group including her new family as well as their friends, the Morgans, and their paid tour guides, Stuart and his nephew Will.

Glamorous Illusions takes the reader on a journey of cultural discovery against the backdrop of Europe’s historic castles and treasured landmarks while also showing us Cora’s journey to discover who she is and where she belongs. Begren’s writing is fluid and engaging, deftly mixing the subjects of class and status with the interpersonal relationships of the group.

While Cora struggles with these questions of personal identity, she also finds her heart being drawn in almost equal measure to Will, the young tour guide, and Pierre, a charming French nobleman who takes an interest in her. And as much as I enjoyed seeing her find peace within her spirit as she settles into her new identity, I am also looking forward to the next book in this delightful series to find out where her heart will end up.

Leave a comment right now if you’d like a chance to win a copy. We’ll announce the winner in our June 25 book review column.

5 Minutes for Books Reviewer Trish loves a good story, especially one that can transport her to a different time and place while also touching her heart. You can see more of what she loves at her blog In So Many Words.

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5 Minutes for Books is the 5 Minutes for Mom sister site devoted to reviewing books for adults -- fiction, memoir, and nonfiction -- and kids of all ages. Managed by Jennifer Donovan, other contributors are Dawn, Lauren, Nancy, and Elizabeth. Follow us @5M4B on twitter and subscribe to our feed or like us on Facebook so you don't miss a thing!

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{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Krista June 11, 2012 at 1:09 am

Yay, I want to read this!


2 Garrett June 11, 2012 at 8:41 am

Good story, takes you back into the past.


3 samantha June 11, 2012 at 9:47 am

this sounds like a good book


4 Jenn June 11, 2012 at 10:02 am

I would enjoy reading this book!


5 Denise M June 11, 2012 at 10:24 am

i love historical fiction, sounds great


6 Staci A June 11, 2012 at 10:58 am

I would love to read this!


7 melissa n\ June 11, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Sounds like a great read! Thanks for the chance


8 AEKZ2 June 11, 2012 at 1:14 pm

This sounds really interesting!


9 Jen E June 11, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Ohhh this sounds really good!


10 Beth June 11, 2012 at 8:55 pm

This looks great! I’d love to win!


11 Tammy Gordon June 12, 2012 at 8:10 am

Sounds like a good book!


12 Susan Heim June 12, 2012 at 10:09 am

Historical fiction is my favorite genre. This sounds like an excellent book!


13 Van June 12, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Good historical fiction book.


14 Hailey L. June 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I would love to win!


15 Angela E. June 12, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I would love to read this book.


16 Sandra K321 June 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm

Historical fiction is my favorite genre and I LOVE the cover for this one.


17 Christine Jensen June 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm

I would love to win a copy, thanks!


18 Daniel M June 12, 2012 at 9:22 pm

i’d love something new to read!


19 Mary Preston June 12, 2012 at 11:17 pm

I would love to read GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS thank you. It looks wonderful.


20 Merry June 13, 2012 at 4:50 am

I’m excited about Lisa’s new series, a Grand Tour of Europe sounds terrific.


21 Barbara H. June 13, 2012 at 9:06 am

This definitely sounds interesting!


22 June June 13, 2012 at 10:24 am

Another good book for this summer.


23 Jennifer Thomas June 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm

sounds like a book I’d enjoy!


24 Barb: 1SentenceDiary June 13, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Sounds interesting… Europe in 1913.


25 Don June 14, 2012 at 7:57 am

The wife says she’d like to win this book.


26 paige June 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm

i adore historical fiction.


27 Liz Riggs June 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Lisa Bergren is great and I can’t wait to start this book!


28 Jessica T June 15, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Looks like a great book for the summer!


29 Jeff June 17, 2012 at 10:10 am

What a great read.


30 Garrett June 18, 2012 at 11:49 am

I have someone in mind to give this book to.


31 Anita Yancey June 18, 2012 at 2:11 pm

Sounds like a great story. I would love to read this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.


32 Beth C June 18, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Enjoy historical fiction and I know I would enjoy this.


33 Betty June 19, 2012 at 12:04 am

I am so glad that I stumbled across this post. I just finished another great historical fiction titled, “The Romanov Stone” by Robert C. Yeager, and have been dying to find something new to read. This looks like just the book. Thank you for suggesting it.


34 Lori D. June 19, 2012 at 10:50 am

Sounds romantic, thanks


35 Alison S. June 19, 2012 at 5:53 pm

Would love to win this!


36 Chuck June 20, 2012 at 10:29 am

I know my wife would enjoy this book.


37 nannypanpan June 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm

sounds like a book my sister would like


38 april yedinak June 24, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Ooo…sounds like a book I would love! And the cover art is great!


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