There was a time when a months-long trip across Europe to see the sites, soak in the culture, and learn the history brought an end to a young person’s formal education. In The Grand Tour series, best-selling and award-winning author Lisa T. Bergren becomes the tour guide, vividly painting the landscapes and historical events that shaped Europe one hundred years ago, transporting readers back to 1913. Next on the itinerary is the release of Grave Consequences (David C Cook/March 1, 2013/ISBN 978-1434764324/$14.99), a powerful, captivating story of a woman searching to find herself, opening her heart to love, and discovering what a covenant truly means.
Q: Grave Consequences is the second book in your Grand Tour series. A Grand Tour was popular among the wealthy a century ago. What exactly was a Grand Tour and what purpose did it serve?
It was considered a way to “finish” one’s education or prepare for a life in society from about the 16th century on. Travelers, many of them from England, went from England over to “the Continent,” and traveled through France, Germany, Austria, and Italy. They sometimes went to Greece and Spain, too, but for my purposes, and because my troop only had a summer, I abbreviated their trip. The purpose was to see major monuments and works of art, as well as meet people who might assist the young people in the future to “get ahead.”
Q: I’ve heard you like to travel. Were you able to go on your own Grand Tour of Europe to research for this series?
For a long time I fantasized about a year away with my family, traveling Europe for the most part. But even as that dream grew and I started writing this series, God began funneling my attentions back to home. He’s created a new fire for us in our ministry close to home, so we couldn’t picture leaving. And a serious lack of funds for such an adventure made it even clearer! Still, we’ve managed to go to England, France, and Italy, so I had some good research to work from.
Q: What is the theme that runs deep throughout the Grand Tour series?
It’s an ongoing search for identity. When everything you know about yourself and your foundations is destroyed, how do you find your identity again? In a way that can never be “destroyed” again? It’s in our identity in Christ, of course. That’s what Cora is uncovering, piece by piece. She began in Glamorous Illusions, she gets a bit lost and confused in Grave Consequences, but it will really come to a satisfying end in Glittering Promises.
Q: Cora stubbornly believes she will be able to return to her old life when she returns from her months-long trip. Can we ever really “go home again” or “go back to the way things were” and not be changed by the events and circumstances in life?
I think we can go home again. But to think it will be the same is foolish. We’re forever being molded and grown and pruned and changed in life. We can return home, but we return an evolved person.
Q: Would you say God puts circumstances in our lives in order for us to grow and change?
I’d say he uses every single factor in our life to bring us face to face with him. He longs for us. And fortunately for us, this tough world often makes us turn to him.
Q: The theme of parents leading their children to make certain decisions affects several of the characters in Grave Consequences. Do you think parents today still tend to send their children on the paths that they believe is right for them rather than letting their young adult children discover their own direction?
Oddly, I think this has become an issue for parents and children again. Back in Cora’s era, futures were heavily directed by parents. Now, parents are trying to dictate their children’s lives, too. Make it easier. Pave the way, instead of allowing them to find their own.
Q: One of the lines from the book’s summary reads, “For every decision, good or bad, there is always a consequence.” The word consequence usually has a negative connotation. Do even good decisions have negative consequences?
Every decision does result in consequences, but I wouldn’t say they’re always bad. I’m fascinated by looking back at decisions my ancestors made, or I made, and to think about what would’ve happened had any of us taken different roads. It makes it all the more important to seek out God’s guidance!