Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren

Gabi and Lia Betarrini are tired of being in Italy.  While most girls would love to spend summer vacation in Italy, it is not so for the Betarrini girls.  Their mother is a major archaeologist who spends most of her time in old tombs and castles.  The girls think it's boring to do this every summer, and especially now, since their father has died in an accident.  But when the girls come across some hand-prints in the wall of a tomb (a tomb they're not supposed to be in), Gabi is separated from her sister as they are transported back in time - right into the middle of a political land feud in the 14th century.
At first, it's like she's dreaming.  But when she realizes that this past world is real, she must face dangers like she never dreamed to find her sister and get them both home.  But the young man who rescued her at the tombs and gave her a place to stay in his family's castello - he's so wonderful.  She's never met anyone like him, and knows she never will again.  He is engaged to marry a very prominent young lady in Italy - but what if he loved her back?  Would such a love be strong enough to convince his family they were meant to be together - to make Gabi never want to leave this past time ever again?

My Thoughts -
I liked this book from the start, but it took me a while to love it like I was hoping to (about 150 pages).  But after those 150 pages, I was flying through, totally sucked into the story and loving the characters.  This really is a great time travel story.  I loved how it was all planned out, each aspect of the story so closely entwined with the others.  I felt very...involved.  As though I was living in the story.  It is original and builds the story on a world that, if I'm not mistaken, has been written about very little.

I sometimes felt like the dialogue was a bit off (examples: language back then was much more proper.  It's one thing for Gabi to use lots of contractions, but I felt like Marcello and Luca used too many.  Also, random word choices were just a bit too...modern for me); but most of the time I was swept away by their conversations.  I especially loved the politics involved in this story; to me, a bit of political intrigue added just the perfect touch to this story.  It wouldn't have been the same without it.

Character notes -

Let me start by saying that Gabi is one of my favorite heroines.  Every time she did something brave (which was most of the book), all I could think was, "You go girl!!!!"  I admire her so much and love her brave heart.  She's a "she-wolf" all right!  I really loved how it showed her growing faith and trust in the Lord - how she heard prayers that were really felt by those saying them, and how she began to cling to that communication between her, a feeble human, and the Almighty God.  Inspiring. :)

I may be a "loner" here, in saying what I'm about to say...  But:  I didn't fall for Marcello right away.  In fact (this goes for both Marcello and Luca), I wasn't even sure if I liked his character.  Both he and Luca were a bit bland to me at first.  But after a few chapters, once things got into full-swing, they became more realistic.  Also, I came to appreciate Marcello's personality and strong character before I found his physical features attractive.  I couldn't quite picture him for the first 100 pages, but after that I could see his face clearly.  For those wondering what I thought:  Yes, he's a good-looking guy, but I prefer...less shoulder, more height.  Every time Gabi would admire his broad shoulders, it kind of bugged me...until I started to like him, as a person.  Then I was okay with anything she did or said. ;)

I never quite got into Luca...he stayed bland to me through most of the book.  But Fortino - he's a definite favorite character.  I felt bad for him in his sickness, cared for him, and felt pain when he did.  He was really well developed to me and I can't wait to read more about him in the second book!

Story notes -
Everything about this story was well pieced together.  The time travel, the events, the battles, the relationships...  The love story is my favorite aspect - it had me gasping because they couldn't be together.  Stupid, wonderful forbidden love - you make me crazy!  I must admit, though:  for the first 100 pages I didn't quite see the connection between them.  I could see how/why he was crazy about her, but I didn't quite understand her side, and why she was attracted to him...  (It was probably because I wasn't even sure what I thought about him.)  But then...oh!  Then there was the secret-meeting-to-dance scene (well, that's how it ends up...), and I was all for the romance, and could totally see why Gabi loves him.  That scene was one of my favorites!

The peril in this story is definitely intense.  Like, for the last 100 pages or so I bit my nails down to the quick.  I knew that at any moment, anything at all could go wrong.  To be able to do that to your readers is very good story telling.

One word or phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
The word that runs through my mind when I think of this book is daring. It was so full of adventure and romance and wonderful twists and turns that had me shocked. (AKA - for those who have read it - chapter 19, page 288 specifically. If you read this and weren't gasping for breathing and absolutely shocked by this turn of events...and that stupid ***spoiler!!!*** blank page...well...I don't even know what to say to you. HA!) I definitely recommend this book and think everyone should give it a try! :) Now, I have to wait for book 2, Cascade, to come out. At least it's only three weeks! :)
For the parents -
Honestly, nothing. There's a quick, one paged scene where some bad guys throw Gabi to the ground, tacking her there with their swords. One guy moves to untie his pants...and the good guy comes running in. The word "rape" is not even mentioned; his intentions almost went unnoticed to me. There are a few kisses, innocent and sweet. Good for ages 12 or 13 (depending on maturity level) and up. :)

Wanna read my favorite quote from the book? Click here!


  1. Yay!!! I had to grab my copy and check out page 288, but oh my gosh YES! I was so shocked and paralyzed and aaahhh those blank pages! I kept chanting "It's a trilogy, it's a trilogy" and hoping, ah, well, I shouldn't say any more but you know what I mean :)

    Aw, I fell for Luca right away, but it took me a little while longer to get on board with Marcello. I'm a sucker for a guy like Luca, so it's a good thing he doesn't do it for you so he can be all mine! I'm a more height less shoulder kind of girl too, but every time she mentions his shoulders I think of how they must be muscled from all his sword fighting and, well, I don't think I've ever not swooned over a guy with a sword :P It was his personality that won me over though. He's just so...chivalrous *sigh* Fortino is a catch, too.

    I love what you said about Gabi. Totally "Go Girl!" I almost did a fist pump (how embarrassing would that have been if people were around? :P ) As awesome as she is in Waterfall, she's even more kick butt in Cascade.

  2. Oooh! I've seen so many great reviews of this, I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. I love time travel!

  3. I have heard very little about this book but I am now looking forward to reading it. I just recently won it in a giveaway and I think it is about time I start reading it!

  4. This sounds like a good series. :) I love the fact that this book is set in Italy; I adore books set abroad. I really look forward to reading this. :)