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November 23, 2011

Review: Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties. Most American teens want an Italian vacation, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives there with their archaeologist parents. Stuck on yet another hot, dusty dig, they are bored out of their minds... until they place their hands atop handprints in an ancient tomb and find themselves catapulted into the Fourteenth Century and in the middle of a fierce battle between knights bent on killing one another.

I stumbled upon Waterfall by chance one day as I was browsing for some interesting Kindle books. When I noticed the summary and the low price, I thought I'd give it a shot. Now, I'm very picky about historical fiction, so I wasn't expecting the book to be all that amazing. However, to my absolute surprise, Lisa Tawn Bergren delivered a unique and beautiful tale that had me raving for days after I finished reading.

Gabriella "Gabi" Betarrini and her younger sister Evangelia "Lia" are the daughters of archaeologists. They've spent every summer at Italian excavation sites, which, for them, don't hold much entertainment value. When the girls get an opportunity to secretly explore one of the tombs while their mother deals with another archaeologist, they choose to go for it. Despite years of being told not to touch anything ancient, Gabi finds a set of handprints on the wall of the tomb. Strangely enough, these handprints are exact matches for Gabi's and Lia's hands. The contact sends the two of them spinning into a past world that is so incredibly different from the one they know.

Not only do Gabi and Lia have awesome names, but they're also incredible female characters. What I loved quite a bit about Waterfall is that both of them are pivotal to the plot. One cannot hope to get home without the other. Gabi can fight, and Lia is a pro at archery. And, of course, they both catch the eyes of some seriously hot Italians. Cue Marcello and Luca. Marcello, Gabi's love interest, is strong and chivalrous. Naturally, he's already bretrothed to someone else, which poses a conflict for Gabi. Luca, basically Marcello's right hand man, is a charmer and a flirt. He turns out to be perfect for Lia.

Now, let's talk about the actual story a little more. If you've read this book, I think you'll agree with me when I say that it seems quite accurate in terms of historical content. It was clear to me from the very beginning that the author is very well-read on lifestyle and society in fourteenth-century Italy. I enjoyed the originality and the nice mix of fantasy elements, action scenes, romance, and history. Honestly, I have nothing negative to say. I'm tired of Italian knight withdrawals, so hopefully I can get my hands the sequel novel, Cascade, really soon!

Rating: 5/5 stars

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