Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Tour of Italy Review: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren

Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series)
From the Back Cover:

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Bentarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives with their parents, famed Etruscan scholars, among the romantic hills. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds… until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces.

And thus does she come to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Forelli, who takes her back to his father’s castle—a castle Gabi has seen in ruins in another life. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting. But what do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

My Thoughts:

Sisters Gabi and Lia are exploring an ancient Etruscan tomb, amusing themselves by placing their hands over prints left in the stone centuries earlier, when a strange force envelopes both of them, and suddenly Gabi is thrust back in time to fourteenth century Italy--Toscana, to be exact--and smack dab in the middle of an ongoing war between Florence and Siena. Literally. Alone and terrified in a pitch-black tomb, she listens helplessly as a battle rages around her. Wait a minute--alone?? Where the heck is Lia? Working up the nerve and waiting for her moment, she emerges from the tomb to find herself surrounded by Sienese knights from the house of Forelli, who don't know what to make of this young woman dressed in strange clothes. Fortunately, Gabi's a quick thinker, and she spins a fairly believable tale of being from the foreign land of Normandy, separated from her family on the journey. The suspicious Forellis think she might be a spy, and so they take her back to their castle to keep an eye on her while they try to figure out who she really is.

Gabi, very conveniently, has a few other skills that come in handy for a time-traveling gal; she's fluent in the language, she's an accomplished horseback rider, she knows her medicinal herbs, and she knows how to work a sword and a dagger. She settles into castle life, earning the trust of the Forelli family and enlisting their aid in helping her search for Lia, whom she fears may have fallen into the clutches of the Forellis' arch-enemies, the Paratores. Through one adventure after another in the dangerous Toscana countryside, she also earns the admiration and affections of the handsome heir to Castello Forelli, the brave, chivalrous, and gentlemanly Marcello. Gabi can't help but fall for him, too, but that creates a big problem. Marcello's already been promised in marriage to strengthen an alliance with the powerful Rossi family, and neither his fiancee nor her father are going to stand by and watch him form an attachment to another woman. And it presents an ethical dilemma for Gabi--what if her presence in Marcello's life interferes with the course of history? How can she give her heart to him when she was never supposed to even be there? And what will happen when she finally finds Lia?

Well, I'll tell you, lots of exciting stuff! But that's it, no spoilers, you'll have to read it for yourself! The story hurtles along to a surprising, heartbreaking conclusion that leaves off with one heck of a cliffhanger, and I personally can't wait for the next book to see what happens! However, lest you think I'm gushing, I do have a few complaints: the aforementioned "convenience factor", a few over-the-top "yeah, right" moments, and Gabi's tendency to behave immaturely at times, but it's all in good fun, and when you put everything together you forget about your doubts and get swept along in a really exciting, page-turning story with just the right amount of historical background and period detail, a sweet romance, and a killer ending that left this reader salivating for more.

My Rating:  4.5 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references a copy received from the publisher. These are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I just might have to give this one a try...I usually don't read a lot of books that involve time traveling but this one has peaked my interest...:D Thanks for the review!

  2. Lol, it kind of have the same plot as the book I just read ;)

  3. I love time-travel books especially if they are set in Italy. I so want to read this book now! Thanks for the review.

  4. This book sounds awesome. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I would love to time travel to 14th century Italy, as long as it is from the comfort of my home. LOL!


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