Thank you Netgalley and David C. Cook Publishing for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this novel
I requested this book on Netgalley for the sheer fact that it has a gorgeous cover. So, I guess judging a book by its cover does work because I really enjoyed Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren. Glamorous Illusions is a member of the New Adult genre, and while I have heard a ton about the genre (good and bad) this is actually my first New Adult novel. I really loved reading about a character that was so close to me in age and dealing with the same things I have been struggling with. Don’t get me wrong, I love reading YA but sometimes I have a hard time relating to the daily grinds of High School, just because it has been a while since I was there.
Glamorous Illusions take place in the early 1900’s and begins in Montana just as Cora is coming back from the New School for summer. Cora returns to a dying farm, and an ailing father. It is because of her Father’s health that coal king, Mr. Kingston, makes a visit to the Diehl farm and reveals that he is actually her biological father. It is then that Cora is swept up into this rich high society and is basically forced to go with her newly discovered siblings on a “Grand Tour”. Prior to reading this novel I had never heard of a Grand Tour. In short it is basically a big tour of Europe that takes place when rich kids come of age. At first I was bummed that these don’t exist anymore, but as I thought about it more I realized these do still happen! I had a ton of friends in High School and College that when they graduated their parents footed the bill for them to tour Europe. I was just not lucky enough to be in this richy rich category. (Maybe when I graduate Law School? *hint hint*)
My favorite thing about this novel had to be Bergern’s lush descriptions of all the lovely places in England and France that the characters visit. I really felt like I was right there with the Tour Party. I also really liked individuals in the tour party themselves. Clearly, Cora was my favorite but her brother and their family friends were all very likable and quite funny at times. I understood why her siblings would be reluctant to accept a half-sister, and actually respected the fact that they treated her differently. If I suddenly found out I had a half-sibling I would throw a fit! The characters actually handled things better then I would have.
I also really enjoyed the love interests in Glamorous Illusions both Will and Pierre were very distinct and different men, but I found myself liking both of them! Will is the nephew of the man leading the Grand Tour, and Pierre is a rich noble born Frenchman. I usually don’t enjoy Love triangles but this one seems natural and it doesn’t dominate the story, it is more of a secondary storyline to Cora’s journey of self-discovery.
The only thing I was really unsure about or that I wished someone had told me was that religion and Cora’s relationship with God play a pretty pivotal role in this book. I try my hardest to avoid secular literature just because I prefer to believe what I do in private. While Cora’s religion was a big theme in the novel it was not overly distracting. In fact, it was used mostly to reassure Cora that there was a big plan, and that she was loved then anything else.
Overall, Glamorous Illusions was a great novel and I will be picking up the second book and continuing my own Grand Tour right along with Cora!