Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Waterfall, by Lisa T. Bergren

Lisa T. Bergren
Trade Paperback, 369 pages
David C. Cook, 2011
Reading Genre: Christian fantasy, Romance, Science Fiction, YA Fiction

Reviewer's Note:  This book was a giveaway prize at Legacy of A Writer, and I won it!!  The author sent me an autographed copy!  This is the first time I review a book I've won in a giveaway, and it won't affect the honesty of my review; if I feel a book is not quite up to par, I will state this, regardless of how I obtained said book.

Although time travel is considered a staple of the science-fiction genre, I would really classify this novel as more of a science fantasy, since it doesn't go into technicalities.  It's also a rip-roaring adventure and tender romance, all rolled into one!

I entered the giveaway because the beautiful cover immediately attracted me.  Then I read the plot synopsis, and I decided I had to try to win this book!

Two young sisters, Gabriela and Evangelia Betarrini, whose parents are renowned Etruscan scholars, are in Tuscany, Italy, one summer.  Their mother has been trying to obtain permission to begin an archaelogical dig.  Sadly, the girls' father passed away several years before this trip, so he is not with them.

The sisters don't quite share their parents' passion for ancient artifacts; in fact, they're bored, wondering how they will ever meet boys if they're unable to go into the nearby city of Siena.  In their restlessness, they wander around the site while their mother starts arguing with an Italian official who has suddenly appeared on the scene,demanding to see proper documents.  So Gabi and Lia innocently venture into an ancient tomb, coming upon a set of strange handprints carved into one of its walls....

Of course, they place their hands over these handprints, which are curiously hot to the touch.  Everything suddenly seems to shift weirdly, and Lia disappears....while Gabi emerges alone from the tomb, to find herself in the very midst of a battle between two rival Italian families -- the Forellis and the Paratores.

Gabi is taken to the Forelli castle by Marcello Forelli, heir to the title of lord of the castle and its surrounding lands.  It doesn't take long for him to realize that he's attracted to Gabi.  Unfortunately, he's already betrothed to Lady Romana Rossi, and their marriage will be vital to an alliance between the Forelli family and the city of Siena.  However, things do start to change after a the time the novel is drawing to an end, Marcello and Gabi are hopelessly in love, and Gabi is extremely reluctant to return to the 21st century.

During the course of the story, the young time traveler demonstrates her great sword-wielding skills, even saving Lady Rossi's life at one point.  She also becomes instrumental in saving her sister from the cruel Lord Paratore, in exchange for an apparent betrayal of the Forellis.  Lia is rescued, and the tables are turned on the evil Paratores.  Not to be outdone, Lia uses her own skill in archery to help the Forellis defeat their foes.  The Betarrini sisters are then hailed as heroes, and become known as "the she-wolves of Normandy", since that was the land Gabi had already claimed they were from.

This novel is a total delight!  Gabriela is such an engaging character!  Beautiful, strong, resourceful, determined, and yet, sensitive and fiercely devoted to her sister, she is the perfect partner for the very handsome, and equally appealing Marcello, whose tender love and sweet admiration for her captures the reader's heart, as well.

Luca, Marcello's cousin, is also very appealing, although he's not the intense type.  He's fun-loving and charming, a perfect foil for Lia, who is the artistic sister.  Their romance will, I hope, be further developed in the next installment of this, The River of Time Series.  I will be watching for the release of the next book, titled Cascade!

One of the things I greatly enjoyed about this book was the portrayal of a courageous, strong, yet very feminine young woman.  It's wonderful to see such a terrific example of a truly memorable female character in young adult fiction!

The plotting is another element I really enjoyed, as well.  There's heart-pounding adventure and suspense, as well as tender, romantic moments.  As if this weren't enough to enchant me, there's quite a bit of humor, too.  The clash of cultures and time periods provided some very funny situations and dialogues!

Last but most definitely not least is Gabi's at times hesitant reliance on God to pull her through.  She poses questions to Him throughout the novel, wondering if this unexpected foray into the past is somehow part of His plan for her and Lia.  I found this quite touching.

In short, this was a fantastic read!  I'm sure it won't be long before I'm tempted to pick up this book and read it again, because I absolutely love it!!  In fact, I think I might just do that, so as to make the waiting for the second book more bearable! 



  1. Thanks for the sweet review, Mari. Obviously, WATERFALL was meant to be yours from the very beginning...thanks for joining me in my excitement for this series. Can't wait to hear what you think of CASCADE, now just a little more than a month away!

  2. You're more than welcome, Lisa! Yes, I'm biting my nails in anticipation of the release of "Cascade"! It's on my Amazon wish list, ready to be snapped up the minute it comes out! I really wish time would go a little faster... Lol.

  3. Awesome, in-depth review. This series sounds very good-- time-travel, Italy, romance, culture clash, and a bit of humor-- I'm there! Hope you enjoy the sequel just as much. :)

  4. Hey, there, Kat!

    This book is indeed excellent! I know I will enjoy the next two of the trilogy -- "Cascade" and "Torrent -- just as much! Since you like what you've read, be sure to pick up a copy of "Waterfall" ASAP, and get started traveling on The River of Time!

    Thank you so much for the visit, and for complimenting my review! : )


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