Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergen

Imagine having your life rewritten when you discover that your father isn’t who you thought. The challenge of being ripped away from everything you’ve ever known and being pulled into another family.

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Glittering Promises is the third book in The Grand Tour Series, by Lisa T. Bergren. Cora Kensington’s life has been completely turned upside down after her wealthy father has come forward to claim her. Raised as the daughter of a struggling farmer, Cora now finds herself touring the majestic sites of Europe as the daughter of one of the richest men in America.

For Cora Kensington, the Grand Tour was to be the trip of a lifetime. She discovered the family she never knew she had, and may have even found the love she longs for in Will. And yet her life has just become infinitely more challenging …
  
Hounded by journalists chasing the beguiling story of the newest American heiress, Cora fights to remain true to her past, reconcile her present, and still embrace her future. But as Will struggles with her newfound wealth, she begins to wonder if their love is strong enough to withstand all that threatens to pull them apart.
 
Complicating matters is the stubborn pursuit of Pierre de Richelieu and the increased demands on her time and attention. Cora must stand up for what she believes—regardless of how that might challenge current family and cultural norms—in order to remain true to who she really is. And as she glimpses the end of the tour, Cora knows it’s time to decide Who and what defines her … and who and what does not.

As the series wraps up in this book Cora has begun to accept and appreciate her new life in ways that she never thought possible. She has finally begun to form relationships with her new siblings and more importantly, she is finally able to explore her relationship with Will.

Life on the tour isn’t always easy. Danger still haunts their every step as the men behind an earlier kidnapping attempt are still on the loose. The media is hounding their trail in pursuit of family gossip and a fresh headline. And in spite of all the positive steps she has been able to take with her new family, many struggles still remain.

The Grand Tour Series is a wonderful read. The incredible sights and sounds of Europe in the early 1900s are brought to life on each page. The three book series allows Bergren the time and space to fully develop each character and delve into depths of the story; and yet she has managed to do so without slowing down the pace of the story. It’s full of fast paced action, beautiful locations and endearing characters. The ending is more completely fleshed out than most fiction books these days. A very satisfying conclusion to a fabulous journey!

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Win a copy of Lynn Austin’s Return to Me

return to meI first fell in love with Biblical fiction when I devoured Lynn Austin’s Chronicles of the Kings series. Since that time Lynn Austin has remained one of my very favorite authors. While I’ve enjoyed her ventures into other genres, I’ve been eagerly awaiting her return to the time period that made me fall in love with historical Christian fiction. Austin’s latest release, Return to Me does not disappoint.

“After years of watching his children and grandchildren wander from their faith, Iddo’s prayers are answered: King Cyrus is allowing God’s chosen people to return to Jerusalem. Jubilant, he joyfully prepares for their departure, only to learn that his family, grown comfortable in the pagan culture of Babylon, wants to remain. Zechariah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the comfort and success his father enjoys in Babylon. But he soon begins to hear the voice of God, encouraging him to return to the land given to his forefathers.”

No one has the ability to breath life into biblical characters like Lynn Austin. Iddo and his family are beautifully written. The decision to walk away from Babylon, the only life most of them have ever know, comes at a steep price as many family members choose to remain behind. Iddo’s struggle to follow God’s calling to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple is heartfelt.

“Iddo didn’t sleep for the rest of the night his mind racing back and forth like a weaver’s shuttle between the ghosts of his past that haunted the ruins of Jerusalem and excitement for a future he never dreamed he would see.”

Hope for an easy life dwindles quickly for each of the families after returning to Jerusalem. Their homeland is now inhabited by local tribes that are not happy to see the Jewish people return. Their temple has been left in ruins, water and food are scarce. As the losses begin to take their toll, some contemplate returning to Babylon instead of relying on God for their needs.

Austin has crafted the book with two clear love stories. The tale of Iddo and his wife, after decades of living in harmony and raising a family together in Babylon, can they survive the hardship of leaving them behind. As a young man Zechariah believes God is calling him to a new life in Jerusalem. When he finds himself falling in love with his childhood friend, how will save her from the pagan practices she is drawn to?

But more importantly, underneath it all is the true love story of God for His people. The journey of each of the characters as they learn to fully rely on God’s promises for them is as relevant today as it was then. Choosing to walk out of captivity to a life of freedom is still found in daily obedience to what God asks of us. Once again, Lynn Austin has flawlessly crafted a timeless message for the reader wrapped in an ancient tale.

Win your own copy of Return to Me!

I’m giving away one paperback copy of the book. Enter to win.

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Review: It Happened at the Fair, by Deeanne Gist

The latest title from author Deeanne Gist, It Happened at the Fair, is a whirlwind tour through the Chicago World’s Fair. Full of fun, romance and intrigue this book is a fun read with a unique setting that is colorful, fascinating and full of action.

{I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Full disclosure below.}

A transporting historical novel about a promising young inventor, his struggle with loss, and the attractive teacher who changes his life, all set against the razzle-dazzle of the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair. Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the Fair’s Machinery Palace makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading. The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris Wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?

Full of beautifully written descriptions, the book also contains historic photographs and etchings from the 1893 World’s Fair. Each scene and character is sure to hold your interest and your heart. A great summer read.

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