This series tells the story of Cora Diehl Kensington, her siblings and close family friends as they take “The Grand Tour” of Europe in 1913. In Glamorous Illusions, the first book of the trilogy, Cora finds her whole identity to be in upheaval, as she discovers that her parentage is not what she has always believed. Although she’s grown up on a struggling Montana farm, Cora is actually the illegitimate daughter of copper baron Wallace Kensington, a man of immense wealth and power. When Cora’s Papa suffers a stroke and there is no money to pay for the treatment he needs, Wallace appears and trades medical care for the opportunity to provide for his daughter. She’s whisked away to a lifestyle of privilege, siblings who don’t quite know how to receive her, and barely a week later, the group of young people, led by “bear” Stuart and his nephew Will, depart for England and Europe. Cora struggles with her new surroundings, unsure of who to trust or what is real. Slowly a relationship is built with her siblings and friends, as the group experiences the ups and downs of an amazing trip through the high society of Europe, as well as exposure to the culture and beauty of the areas they visit. The beauty of the young women and the reported wealth of their fathers combine to attract attention to the group as they travel, some of it leading to wonderful opportunities and some of it from those who would seek personal gain at the group’s expense.
Through the adventures and misadventures, Cora emerges as a strong young woman, probably the most like her strong-willed father! The tale includes excitement, romance, danger, suspense and more, as well as taking a fascinating look at a golden period of history. Lisa Bergren’s success at her “other job” as a travel blogger is revealed by her ability to provide such rich description of the travel scenes along the way.
Grave Consequences begins immediately after the climactic end of Glamorous Illusions. While some book series make excellent stand-alone books, I would not suggest that you try that here! I obtained a copy of Glamorous Illusions and read it before Grave Consequences, and I’d highly recommend the entire trilogy to others! It’s a lot of reading (each book is over 400 pages) but you will not be disappointed! The story is fast-paced and highly detailed, and includes so much more than Cora’s search for personal identity. I can’t wait for the final installment - Glittering Promises - to find out how the story turns out.
I received a free copy of Grave Consequences in exchange for my fair and honest review.