Kim’s Review of Glittering Promises (Grand Tour Series #3) by Lisa T. Bergren

gpltbSeveral months ago I had the pleasure of reading Glamorous Illusions and Grave Consequences, the first two books in Lisa T. Bergren’s Grand Tour series.  The drama immediately took a hold of me, sweeping me with it to Europe.  I was mesmerized by the fashions, the characters, and non-stop action.  For several months I anticipated the release of the conclusion of the trilogy and was pumped when Glittering Promises finally appeared on Netgalley.

From Goodreads:

America’s newest heiress must decide if her potential fortune is rationale enough to give up her freedom and all that God is leading her toward. And when her newly-discovered siblings are threatened with ruin, her quandary deepens. Then as Cora nears Rome, more journalists are track the news story of the decade—“Copper Cora,” the rags-to-riches girl—and want to know more about her family and the men vying for her attention. Meanwhile, a charming Italian countess decides that if Cora isn’t going to claim Will’s heart, she might just try…

Sadly, I was a bit disappointed with this final chapter of the Grand Tour series.  After the tumultuous first two books I was expecting a story that would be moved along by an action-filled plot, not one of repetitive relationship misunderstandings.  I don’t mean that I was expecting 47 kidnapping scenarios, or robberies, or anything of that sort.  I just meant that I was expecting the plot to be more about the conclusion of the tour, and a conclusion to the crimes of book one and two, rather than Cora’s decision over who she was going to love.  Having a few misunderstandings when it comes to the romantic side of the story is acceptable, but when it becomes the only device used to move the plot, it can get slightly stale.

On the other hand, I enjoyed the character development of Cora and her siblings.  Seeing them hone their strengths, accept their weaknesses, and become adults responsible for their own futures was a reward for sticking with all three books in the series.  Cora’s journey was unarguably the most well done of all.  The complete transformation from books one through three was incredibly well written and probably my favorite part of the whole series.  This book would have been a total win for me if the plot had more moving it, but I can’t say I’m not satisfied with the trilogy’s conclusion.  The final plot twist in this book really shocked and surprised me (Bergren sure knows how to keep you on your toes!)  If you’re looking for a clean historical fiction that focuses on finding one’s self, this series is a sure bet.

3 out of 5 Stars

This is my twenty-second completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook (2013)
eBook: 496 pages
ISBN: 9780781410854

Special thanks to David C. Cook publishing for my review copy via Netgalley!

Kim’s Review of Glamorous Illusions (Grand Tour Series #1) and Grave Consequences (Grand Tour Series #2) by Lisa Tawn Bergren

giltbIt’s not a secret that I love historical fiction novels.  If you were to take a look at the book genres I read in a pie graph form, I’m 99% positive that more than 65% of that graph would be dedicated to historical fiction novels.  As I was scouring Netgalley one evening I came across a novel entitled Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren.  It was all about a woman finding herself (WIN!) while on a Grand Tour in the early 1900’s! For those unfamiliar with that term, back in the day the wealthy would go on tours around Europe to see the sights, meet people, etc.  For more info, click here.  Excited to see what Bergren had in store for me, I jumped right into Glamorous Illusions.

Cora Diehl’s family has fallen on hard times.  As farmers in a small town in Montana in 1913, her family can barely keep it together as their crops fail and Cora’s father’s health declines after multiple strokes.  Her life takes a dramatic turn, however, when she learns that she is the illegitimate daughter of an incredibly wealthy man, Wallace Kensington, The Copper King.  Through a massive fortune made in the copper business, Cora’s new family has more money than she could ever imagine.  They take her along as they tour through England and France, and Cora begins to experience sights that she only dreamed of before.  Her journey will be filled with danger, discovery, and adventure as she travels across Europe on a journey of self discovery and self acceptance.

Wow. Wow. Wow.  This book, in a word, wowed me.  From the glamorous locations to the high fashions in early 1900’s, this book hooked me.  Cora is a character going through deep transformations: spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally.  She’s got a lot on her plate, and what better way to figure out what she’s made of than a trip around the world.  Bergren gives Cora and Will great narrative voices for the reader to engage and connect with.  Their emotions are so clearly and eloquently written for the reader.  Their anger, their guilt, happiness, and sadness are all there to make the reader connect with these characters.

I’m not the most religious of people, but I can say that I did find the spiritual elements of the book to be moving.  God is a major part of Cora’s life, and as much as her journey is about finding herself, it’s also about finding her place in His master plan.  I was also incredibly surprised at how action-packed the end of the novel was.  It changed the whole feel of the novel (in a good way) and made me that much more anxious to begin Grave Consequences (book two).  In short, Glamorous Illusions is a solid start to the Grand Tour series, and historical fiction fans should definitely add this mainstay on to their reading lists.

4 out of 5 Stars

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook (2012)
eBook: 416 pages
ISBN: 9781434705334

gcltbI immediately dove into book two in the Grand Tour series, Grave Consequences.  Taking place immediately following the first novel, it promised to be an exciting continuation to the action-packed ending of Glamorous Illusions.  With that in mind (and the book loaded up on my Nook), I started right in.

Grave Consequences begins with Cora and her family continuing their tour, making stops in Austria, France, and Italy.  All seems well, until Cora realizes that she is being followed.  What’s more, she must not only protect her physical safety, but her emotional safety as well, as a mysterious Frenchman makes a bold move to claim Cora’s heart.  Will she be able to escape her past and move forward as a new woman?  What will she make of all the claims laid on her heart?

I LOVE books with angst.  I can’t get enough of it!  I love when I stress out about a book, because it makes me realize how utterly connected I’ve become with the book and the characters.  When you can’t breathe because you’re so worried about what will happen to the characters, then you know you’re really in the thick of the story.  And that is exactly what happened with me and this book.  I felt like I was right there with Cora, Pierre, and Will as their love triangle exploded.  The whole kidnapping plot line afforded the novel an opportunity to become a rapid page turner.  What started out as a small ending plot to Glamorous Illusions turns into a full-blown mystery in Grave Consequences.  The kidnapping helped move the growing relationships between characters in a unique and creative way.  I really like how Bergren writes from both Will and Cora’s points of view.  The duality of the narrative flows surprisingly well as you get multiple perspectives on what’s truly happening.  With all of this being said, it’s no surprise that I’m eagerly awaiting book three in the series, Glittering Promises, due out October 1st.

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my fifteenth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Grave Consequences by Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook (2013)
eBook: 448 pages
ISBN: 9780781408783

Special thanks to David C. Cook for my review copies through Netgalley!