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.