Discovery–Author Lisa T. Bergren

 

 

 

 

    I appreciate research in a novel, whether the genre is historical, contemporary, or something else. I doubt any author can write an entire book without checking facts on some aspect of their story.

In the Grand Tour Series, which includes Glamorous Illusions, Grave Consequences and Glittering Promises, by Lisa T. Bergren, the author details her adventures with incredible portions of setting. Her characters are the coming-of-age children of two Montana copper kings who have sent their families overseas in 1913 to complete their educations in a Grand Tour through many parts of Europe.

As often happens when writers examine exotic sites in a foreign land, some become so engaged in describing an ancient tower or a crumbling coliseum, the books dissolve into a dry monologue of description. Not the case here. What makes Bergren’s writing compelling is she avoids making the books a travel itinerary. By using her characters to react to the city or setting they are in, the reader is drawn into the surroundings as if physically present.

An evening at an arena to watch a bullfight turns into an attempted kidnapping. A description of an ancient castle comes alive when the young men take turns jumping from the second balcony into the Rhone River. A trek to admire the Swiss Alps becomes a life and death struggle when part of the snow pack crumbles beneath the climbers’ feet.

Add a forbidden romance, a besotted Frenchman who won’t take no for an answer, and a half-sister who had no connections with the family before the tour, and you have hours of wonderful reading pleasure. Mystery, intrigue, and romance in a tidy three-book package–all testing the faith of the heroine and hero as they travel through the tale.

Published by David C. Cook in 2013, the series is still available to order from both Amazon books and CBD.com, or to buy from your local book retailer. Bergren is the award-winning author of more than forty different titles, including books for children and fantasy for young adults. Check out other offerings by Bergren at www.lisatawnbergren.com.

A Coop Fit for Ladies Orpington

“Urban chickens?” My husband stared at me like I’d lost my mind.

My fascination with the idea came after reading a newspaper article which described the increasing popularity of backyard chicken coops. Urban chickens, as they were called, had created a demand for everything fowl, from coops to feeders to city ordinances governing them. A subtle return-to-our-roots kind of phenomenon was sweeping the concrete of our mini-metropolis like flash mobs in the local malls.

My husband and I both grew up on small acreages and had helped raise poultry, along with pigs, horses, cows—you name it. But when we married, we lived in the city. Farm animals didn’t belong. At least not until a visit to a nearby home show piqued my interest, displaying quasi condo quarters for the finely feathered elite. I especially liked the Cape Cod model.

The poultry discussion was dropped like a discarded piece of mail, only to resurface later when the bill came due. The debate over chickens resumed the following spring when a brochure from the local feed store advertised new chicks. We explored the possibilities once more and decided we could do this, purchasing four fuzzy little darlings content to live in a warm box.

My husband studied the Cape Cod design I liked and proceeded to build his own version. Since the chicks were little, he figured he had lots of time. Except they immediately sprouted feathers on their wings, followed by more on their backs. Each new feather drove his hammer faster.

Supposedly mobile, the finished home resembled Fort Knox. The hens had an upstairs apartment, complete with nesting boxes, and a light to warm them when the weather turned cold. A ramp led to the open-air lower story, which was encased in wire and bottomless, allowing grass to grow beneath their feet. No critter would dare breach the chicken compound.

Our ladies moved in last week, even though the exterior still needed paint. Other than an occasional squawk when their food runs low, we’ve had no complaints. My husband sees to their every need. Pets them when he visits. Brings them fresh straw and water.

 And he thought I was nuts.

All I have to do is sit back and wait for the eggs.

 

 

Covering Our Past Mistakes

I recently attended a theater production of Camelot, that magical kingdom where rain never falls until after sundown and winter leaves March second on the dot. The perfection of the place is akin to the garden of Eden in the Bible, and the storyline doesn’t stray far from the biblical tale either.

Arthur is the little boy who pulled a sword from a stone and became the rightful king of England. As king, Arthur wants to make might from right, holding high aspirations in the face of problematic realities. He forms the Knights of the Round Table, men who will represent all segments of the country, meeting to discuss problems rather than fight over them. Arthur’s quest is a noble one—make a better society by upholding high standards among his men.

The chink in his armor, much like the temptation of Eve by the serpent in the book of Genesis, is a previous indiscretion in which Arthur was lured into an adulterous relationship. The affair produced a son, Mordred—potential heir and threat—who waits to expose Arthur and bring him down. Just like the serpent lies, convincing Eve to lead Adam into eating the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, so Mordred waits, catching the king’s wife Guenevere and the noble Sir Lancelot in their betrayal. Adam and Eve are kicked out of Paradise. Arthur loses his kingdom.

All of us have at one time or another made a mistake we regret. Depending on its severity, the error can needle our subconscious, disturb our sleep, and haunt our daily life. Being forgiven is what we seek, and like Arthur, we are helpless to change our past. We despair of hope.

When Jesus lived among us, he gave us a way to be forgiven. At his death and resurrection, he commanded his disciples to tell everyone what he had done for mankind. Mark 16:16 (NKJ) “He who believes in me will be forgiven and he who does not believe will be condemned.”

In John 20:31(NKJ) John says, “These (words) are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.”

Think of the hope Arthur would have had, if he had  been able to cling to that promise and been forgiven of the trespass Mordred held over him like a sword. What hope are you seeking today?

Death Could Not Hold Him

The man from Galilee was dead. 

Arrested in Gethsemane. Dragged before the Sanhedrin. Accused of blasphemy. Taken to Roman governor Pontius Pilate. Sentenced to be flogged. Taunted by soldiers. Carried cross to Calvary’s hill. Tortured by spikes driven into hands and feet. Hung to die. Side pierced by spear to be sure he was dead. Body removed by family before sundown. Laid in a borrowed tomb. 

Evil had triumphed.Or so it seemed.

Those who despised him when he was alive were afraid of him in death. They insisted that Roman guards be posted outside the tomb to ensure he had no visitors. Soldiers who failed their task were executed. No one would get to Jesus.

But on the morning of the third day Mary Magdalene, Mary, mother of James, and Salome, women friends of Jesus, went to anoint the body with embalming spices (Mark 16:1-7). What they found was an earthquake had shaken the ground, the soldiers lay as dead men in their fear, and the stone that covered the tomb had been rolled away. Inside an angel robed in white sat. He said to them, “Do not be afraid. You seek Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He has risen. Go and tell his disciples.”

Jesus spent forty days visiting and talking with those who knew Him. He appeared to the remaining eleven disciples and commanded them to go into the world and tell people what they had witnessed.

“He who believes and is baptized will be saved, and he who does not believe will be condemned.”(Mark 16:16)

And after he had met with those He needed to see, Jesus led them to Bethany and raising His hands He ascended into the clouds. “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b)

Jesus promised eternal life to those who believed in Him. That promise still stands today. May this Easter find you claiming faith in the risen Savior. Hallelujah!