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.