Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series)

by Lisa T. Bergren

Paperback, 2011



Call number



David C. Cook (2011), Edition: New, 384 pages

Original publication date



Christian Fiction. Young Adult Fiction. HTML: 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. In Book One of the River of Time series, Gabi and Lia are stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, boring, and dusty archeological site ... 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 she comes to be rescued by the knight-prince Marcello Falassi, 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?.… (more)


Christy Awards (Nominee — Young Adult — 2012)


Original language


Physical description

384 p.; 8.75 inches


1434764338 / 9781434764331

User reviews

LibraryThing member jwitt33
"In Waterfall, American teenager Gabi Betarrini accidently finds herself in Fourteenth-Century Italy . . . Knights. Swords. Horses. Armor. And Italian hotties."

I have been hearing such terrific things about this book, and I saw it on Amazon, for FREE, so of course, I had to get it. I liked what I
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read in the description, so I had high hopes for it, but what I got was so much more! I loved this book! I mean it - it was THAT good!! It had everything I like in a fantasy book: Time travel, knights, sword fights, even jousts! What's not to love?

Gabi and her sister, Lia, are on vacation in Italy, on an archeological dig with their mother, and they are bored to tears. So while their mother is distracted, they go down in a tomb the dig has uncovered, and find on the wall two small female-sized handprints. When they put their hands on them, one each, everything starts to spin, and they can't take their hands off. Finally, Gabi manages to yank her hand off and grabs for Lia, but then everything goes black. She wakes up to the sound of a sword battle going on outside the tomb. At first she thinks it is just some sort of reenactment going on, but when she climbs out she finally realizes that she has somehow been transported back to 14th century Italy, and her sister, Lia, is nowhere to be found.

The writing was so good, the pacing done so very well, that this book grabs ahold of you from the very beginning and keeps ahold of your until the very last page. The characters are strong and well developed, and the plot is somehow made completely believable in Ms. Bergren's capable hands. The descriptions of the scenery and even the clothes from a different time period were done beautifully. You can literally picture Gabriella in her fine gowns, and when she laments the lack of conditioner for her long curly hair, you feel every tug of her comb through it!

I can't say enough good things about this book. If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon yet, what are you waiting for?! Jump!!
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LibraryThing member Bookswithbite
I love historicals! And I just can't begin, or can't explain how much I love this book. From the very first page I was hooked. What grabbed me the most was the love and plot of this book. Two great things in a book that always catch me by the heart. Gabi and her sister a transported back in time
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after sneaking in to a dig their mother told them not to go in. Gabi is found by Italian hotties (fans self), and is aided my Marcello (fans self again) to find her sister.

The reason why I love historicals is because I find myself amused with past. I myself would one day love to time-travel and see things the way it used to be. Plus historicals make me laugh. Gabi's character is fun, witty, and strong. She had me laughing with her forwardness about things. She always forgot herself, and had to correct her language. The people in the past make weird faces where you say something funny!

The love between Marcello and Gabi is timeless! It is a classic love bound by time. It just figures that you find the one you love back in fourteenth century! I enjoyed watching them fight with each other and get on each other nerves. Perfect! From the very beginning of their spats, you knew they were meant to be!

If you looking for a great historical with lots of action, funny remarks and love worth dying for, read this book. I can't begin to tell you how much you'll love it. Ms. Bergren has written a plot so good you will not put the book down. Ms. Bergren characters are easy to relate to and easy to feel. Every twist and turn of the plot, has you gasping, losing every sense of reality that you have. You literally fall into the book and don't want to come back. (At least I didn't) Can't wait to read the second book!
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LibraryThing member ShaEliPar
Waterfall has everything one could possibly want out of a novel, it literally sweep me off my feet. With time travel, history, romance, action, strong dashing men & brave young women, there isn't anything I didn't love about this novel.

Gabi is a confident and capable young heroine who after being
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thrown into fourteenth century Italy, uses her historical knowledge, smarts and quick thinking to adapts to her surroundings. She's also fearlessly determined to find her missing sister, who she believes might have travel back with her. Not one to seat back and wait for others to aid her, she's often the one helping people through difficult situations.

Gabi's attraction to Marcello, a young knight, really pulled me into the story since its development is very well paced and never felt to rushed or to intense. Marcello is of course handsome & charming but its his admiration and respect for Gabi that really melted my heart. Despite the fact that his instincts tell him that women shouldn't be doing or acting the way Gabi does he never discourages her from staying true to herself and is more then impressed with her toughness. Marcello's best friend Luca won me over for the same reasons, but also has spunk of his own. He's more easy going then his friend and has the luxury of being able to flirt openly with Gabi, something that she both hates & finds amusing.

Lisa Bergren clearly did her research when it comes to fourteenth century Italy, as every page made me feel as though I was right there living within the walls of the Forelli castle or being chased down by knights on horseback. The smallest details such as the way people bathed or ate their meals added so much realism to the story. Your never overwhelmed by to many historical facts as the blend effortlessly into the story, much like the description of the vast landscapes and cities.

I found the beginning to be a bit slow since the story doesn't really pick up until after Gabi is sent back in time, but once there it doesn't really let up. Something is always happening, whether its knights fighting to the death, women being chased on horseback or fancy banquets inside the castle's great hall, the novel steadily moves along making it impossible to put down.

There are a few scenes that stretch believability, like Gabi's ability to wield a giant, iron sword because she took fencing or how easily she switches off talking like a teen from the 21st century. However none of these things really bothered me since I was deeply engrossed in the incredible characters and story.

Although the ending of the novel might be easy to predict, I didn't feel that it took anything away from the story since getting to the end was filled with so many twists & turns. Also the constant push & pull that Gabi felt to either stay or go was really well balanced, I struggled right along with her on what she should do. Thankfully its also doesn't end on a cliffhanger, which is always nice in my book and yet sets the stage for what's to come.

Waterfall is classified as Christian young adult fiction but I highly recommended the novel to any fan of fantasy, romance or historical fiction as the novel easily blends all three genres. Gabi is a mature, confidant young woman who will appeal to adults as well as teens. Also besides for a few scenes where Gabi wonders if God is the one who sent her back to the past and praying amongst the knights, religion is never really discussed. Please don't let either label effect your decision to read Waterfall, as its a beautifully written historical adventure, with an intelligent and strong young heroine.
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LibraryThing member mrsjason
I've been a big fan of Lisa Bergren's books for years. I can't remember exactly which was the first book of hers that I discovered but I know that I've enjoyed every book of hers that I've read. My particular favorite is her Gifted series. That being said, when I heard that she was putting out a YA
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series, I will admit I was a little skeptical. This is not because I doubt her writing skills. It's because a lot of Christian authors who decide to write YA after writing adult fiction tend not to know how to write YA. And the main reason is that they don't read YA on a normal basis. And when they do, they tend to stick with Christian YA for their examples. And (yes I'm using And as a first word a lot here) while there are good examples of Christian YA, in order to get a real knowledge of how to write to a YA audience, you need to read ALL types of YA. So I was worried that this series would feel out of touch for the general YA audience.

I was dead wrong. Not only has Bergren written a wonderful story, but I really feel that all audiences will enjoy this book. There's time travel, historical events, sword fights, jousting, hot guys, what more could you want? The story starts off in the contemporary but then switches over to historical as our heroines find themselves traveling through some weird time warp that's taken them back to 14th century Italy. Gabi has to worry with dealing with this sudden change plus finding her sister who got separated from her.

If there's anything to nitpick at all about the story it's that Gabi seemed to adapt very very quickly to her new surroundings and lifestyle. She seems like a mature teenage girl and that's fine. I just felt that she immediately accepted everything and played along even though obviously something strange and unnatural has just happened. I just don't think that many teens would have done that. It seemed a bit unrealistic. But then again, this story involves time travel so why am I saying this bit is unrealistic?

Even though this book comes from a Christian publishing house, the faith aspect in this book is very minimal. I do not think that anyone who reads this that is not of the Christian faith would get offended or feel that they were getting preached at while reading. Any references or mentions of God, faith, or religion are keeping with the time period when it would have been historically inaccurate to not bring it up. Gabi's faith didn't seem to be that big of an issue or at least it didn't to me. I just hope that general market YA fans/bloggers are being targeted this book and not just Christian fiction readers (especially adult readers who say I never read YA but I did because Lisa wrote it. I want actual teens and YA fans to read it!).

Bergren's writing is what ultimately wins me over with this story and I found myself eagerly turning pages to find out what was going to happen with Gabi and Lia. My favorite literary device were the scenes when Gabi is floating in and out of consciousness and only brief sentences would take up a single page. It felt just like I was reading Gabi's fleeting thoughts and only able to grasp a little bit at a time. It's very well done and I cannot wait until I get a hold on Cascade. I'm also very pleased to know that Bergren has done her research and is currently reading general market YA books as we speak. Well done! If you like YA, any type of YA this is the book for you. HIGHLY recommended.
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LibraryThing member poetrytoprose
I picked this up after multiple reviews sang its praises. I rushed to place an order on amazon but, upon its arrival, I sat there feeling a little worried. Could it really be that good? As I soon found out, the answer was: yes, it could.

In my experience, historical fiction novels often make the
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big mistake of filling pages with unnecessary facts that only make my eyes glaze over. Here, however, Lisa T. Bergren expertly makes the 14th Century come alive with just enough. No doubt, we get some interesting tidbits and information, but they never overwhelm the story. Instead, we get to focus on the amazing characters. Believe me, when I say they're amazing? They're amazing.

To start us off, Gabi, our protagonist, is smart and brave. Oh, she definitely freaks out when she's transported back in time, and she has to be mindful of the things she says and does, but she's a girl on a mission. Certain that her sister, Lia, is in the 14th Century with her, Gabi is determined to find her and nothing, and no one, will deter her from her search. In a situation where it could be so easy to be the damsel in distress, Gabi is only courageous. This isn't to say that she doesn't mess up - she does - but she doesn't give up, which is more important.

I think it would be impossible not to love the romantic development. It's easy to see the admiration Marcello and Gabi have for one another, which gradually grows into something more. Their chemistry? Eeeeee!!! I held my breath through so many of their scenes, waiting to see how they would react. MAGIC.

The supporting cast was equally wonderful! I'm actually not sure if Marcello is my favorite of the men because both Luca and Fortino were absolutely delightful, too. Thankfully we don't have to choose, right?

It was easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of this time period so Lia's presence definitely helped to bring a dose of reality through. Though Gabi is falling in love, as well as figuring out other stuff, I loved that she never forgets the importance of her sister and how she feels about everything. Great dynamic!

Waterfall is such an adventurous read that I think everyone could find some enjoyment within its pages.
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LibraryThing member bonbonsandreveries
Oh. Emmmm. GEEEE!!! I can't even begin to describe how much I loved this book. I'm not a huge fan of Christian literature-mostly because I usually get the author-stuffing-it-down-my-throat feeling which can be overwhelming. Well, not this one. I didn't even know it was Christian literature until I
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went online to the author's website.
Waterfall is about twin teenaged girls, Lia and Gabi getting pulled back in time to medieval Italy. They become separated during their time traveling. The book follows Gabi and her quest to find her sister. After getting caught and rescued in the middle of a battle by super hot Marcello and his men, Gabi is taken under the protection of the Forelli's. Gabi, being from the future, doesn't realize that by wearing her hair down, preferring to wear pants, using her sword, and being outspoken, everyone labels her unusual. After telling a few lies, almost everyone accepts her as a "Norman." Well, everyone except Marcello's fiancé, daughter of one of Sienna's Nine. All Gabi wants is to go home with her sister, but a war between the Forelli's and the Paratore's has placed them right in the middle. Now she and Lia's survival, as well as the Forelli's depends on Gabi.
Gabi's is such a great role model. She is so confident and is not afraid to be herself. Even in medieval Italy, where women were seen and not heard, Gabi refuses to be the weak damsel in distress. Instead of sitting in the castle while the men fight and try to find her sister. She takes her sword and goes out with them- though they do try to talk her out of it. Her bravery and confidence attract Marcello. He embodies the Italian male. Nothing like a hot Italian man to make one double take. Too bad he is already engaged. His fiancé is a piece of work. Her character is like the popular you-know-what (begins with a B) you can find in every high school. She gives Gabi hell throughout the book. She is truly nasty. What she does (I won't give any spoilers) at one point in the book is just unbelievably terrible. Lia, Gabi's twin, annoyed me. She was a loving sister, but still, she could have been more supportive of Gabi and her relationship with Marcello. I thought it was too cute how Luca liked Lia. His reaction to Lia when they first met was adorable.
Bergren explores sibling relationships in Waterfall. Gabi's relationship with Lia reminded me of my own relationship with my sister. My sister and I look and act like twins but we are two years apart. Gabi does everything she can, risking her own life several times to find her sister. Marcello's relationship with his brother is also carefully written. Marcello is the younger brother and he has no interest in inheriting his father's title even though his older brother is very sick and not expected to live much longer.
I love love LOVE LOVE LOVE L.O.V.E.D. this book. I was giddy the entire night I read it. You'd have to pry my dead fingers off this book to get me to put it down- and even then, I'd come back and haunt you for taking it away. That is how obsessed I am with this book. The adventure was amazing. The romance was beautiful. The setting, Italy, was gorgeous. The characters were real. The action was riveting. Everything in this book was perfect. There was even a twist at the end, which left me screaming for more. I read Waterfall three times within a 24 hour period. I couldn't get enough of Marcello. All I wanted to do was go into the book and be Gabi. If only time travel was possible. This book not only exceeded my expectations, but it has become one of my favorite books. READ IT! The next book in the series, Cascade, doesn't come out until June. That is too far away. The last time I got the I-must-read-the-next-book-NOW feeling was after reading Dreamfever. Waterfall is an action-packed adventure story that takes you back in time with a kick-butt heroine, her sister, and a whole lotta handsome Italian men. My recommendation: find a good quiet space without anyone to bother you for a good chunk of time because once you start the book, you won't be able to put it down until you finish...ANNNDDD then you'll be throwing a tantrum because you have to wait until JUNE for the sequel, Cascade.
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LibraryThing member Dee_Bibb
TITLE: Waterfall: A Novel
AUTHOR: Lisa T. Bergren
PUBLISHER: David C. Cook

Waterfall: A Novel is the first book in The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren. Ms. Bergren is an accomplished adult romance writer, but Waterfall is her first historical romance for teens. The Bettarini sisters are the
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focus of Waterfall. Join the sisters, Gabriella and Evangelia, as they travel back through time and find themselves in medieval Italy.

Waterfall is an exciting adventure and enchanting love story that is irresistible. Readers are transported on a journey back in time to a world where honor and nobility go hand-in-hand with cruelty and violence. This was a time when men were the protectors, and where danger could be found around every corner. .

If you looking for a great historical with lots of action, funny remarks and a love worth dying for, read Waterfall. This book is awesome. The characters are life-like and it is easy to relate to them. Ms. Bergren has written a plot so strong it rivets you to your chair. You do not want to stop reading. Every twist and turn of the plot, has you gasping, wanting more and pulling you into the reality of the plot. I can't wait to read the second book which I have ready and waiting to begin.

Did I mention just how much I LOVED this book???
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LibraryThing member YABliss
Every so often there comes a book that surprises you in a way few books have ever done. Indeed I expected it to be good, but... I'm at a loss for words here. This was beyond any expectations. It is absolutely fantastic. There's not a single word I would change and if I could I would force everyone
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to read it. Everything you might want in a book, you'll find it here. Sword fights, a swoon-worthy knight, humor, friendship, royalty, betrayal, time-travel... This book has serious 'classic' potential. When you give me heart-racing adventure with strong female leader, and you mix it with some delicious romance, you're bound to have a very fan-girly me.

It doesn't even feel like historical at all because the author weaves it in so seamlessly you barely notice. Since Gabi is the narrator and she remembers little of her history, you get to explore and learn with her. Which was really fitting since my knowledge of Italian history is completely null. Gabi's voice was fresh and so easy to relate.

The story captured me from beginning to end and I'm quite certain Waterfall has quickly become one of my favorite books ever. I'm still a bit puzzled as to why it's titled Waterfall though, but I'll let that detail go for now. If you love historical fiction this is a MUST READ for you, and if you don't like historical or have never been able to get into it, or maybe you have just never tried it, I dare you to read this and NOT love it.
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LibraryThing member BunnyCates
LOVED this book. Loved the characters (I "girl-giggled" every time Luca was even mentioned toward the end of the book!!!) haha. Great story, once it got going it was really hard to put down. That says a lot because I don't even LIKE "romance" books! Waterfall wasn't as much romance as it was a time
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traveling adventure. CAN NOT WAIT for book two! (secretly hoping Hollywood comes calling!!)REVIEW below originally posted on BUNNYCATES.COMOne afternoon, I saw a post on my twitter that was a RT of an author asking if anyone be interested in reviewing her book. I added her and re-tweeted the post for her. She then asked me if I’d like to review it, and I said YES. I sent her my address and my site info so she could see where it would be posted. Shortly after, she emailed me and asked me if I was “sure” I wanted to review it since ROMANCE was not something I normally read. She didn’t say it, but I’m sure she was thinking I would HATE the book since its listed as a “romance” lol.. I told her to go ahead and send it since I loved the movies TIME LINE and the TIME TRAVELERS WIFE. So she did.I picked the book up trying to make myself forget it was a “romance” novel. I mean, just the word makes me roll my eyes a little. I got called to do some work right after I started reading so the book got set aside for a few days (by a few I mean more like 2 weeks). When I picked it back up, of course I couldn’t remember anything I’d read so far so I just started over. I restarted on like early early on a Sunday morning and ended up staying up until 4am the next day just to finish. {my reading updates on goodreads} I could NOT put it down! Yes, 4am. Guess what that means. I LOVED IT!Waterfall is a romance book, but there is so much MORE going on then that. The action and plot kind of draw you in and make you FORGET it’s a romance. The characters are fantastic. The main character Gabi is a strong young female. Which I love. There is no whining, needing rescued by a boy going on with her. Her sister Lia is just as strong. Marcello is so sweet, and his friend Luca… omgosh. I want an entire series of Luca. He is funny, hot, loyal, and fierce. He needs his own series! LOL!I don’t want to say anything more about the plot than what is in the synopsis because I want you to DISCOVER this one for yourself. I will say “From the moment the girls step back through time, until I turned the last page I was totally sucked into the story. I missed phone calls, didn’t answer emails, and even read one handed while cooking dinner. I’m not kidding.”I can even honestly say that because of this book – I even have an interest in Italy’s past history and am looking forward to reading some non-fiction on this time period. Really. I’m not even making that up, I swear.I was sad this book ended and have been pestering my mail man for weeks waiting on CASCADE to arrive! I’m pretty sure he hides until he thinks no one is looking out the window now. LOL!!!If you like romance, time travel, historical fiction, action, or anything of that nature… PICK UP THIS ONE. NOTES TO PARENTS: this is considered Christian Young Adult. There is NO cussing, no sexual content (a few kisses), minimal violence (battle scenes and general war type activities)
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LibraryThing member KCHilton
This book is such an awesome read! I was glued to the pages! I love time travel and romance and Waterfall did not let me down. I enjoyed the current day teenage 'talk' mixed with the 1300's. This was a wonderful book and it tore at my heart when it ended. I didn't want it to end! I'm glad I have
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book #2 waiting!


Gabi and Lia (sisters) were thrown back in time by a curious accident. But they had been seperated during the travel itself. Gabi is on a quest to find her sister and will stop at nothing. Gabi must play a role of belonging in the 1300's, thankfully her parents' teachings had better prepared her for the unexpected. History and French among other things.

I giggled a few times when Gabi mentioned wanting hair product, a hair dryer or a cell phone to play games. Seriously as an adult, there would be quite a few things I'd miss, if I was thrown back in time. And it made me think a little. And I'm so glad Gabi wasn't a prissy whiny teenager.

Old medicine and their lack of knowledge are always interesting. Just having an inhaler would've meant a longer life for some people. The things we take for granted in our current time could easily have saved a life in a time long ago.

I'm a huge fan the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and I strongly believe other fans will also enjoy the River of Time series by Lisa Bergren.
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LibraryThing member seescootread
When Gabi realizes that another summer is going to be spent on an archaeology site she isn’t too happy about it. Looking for a little excitement before the boredom truly sets in Gabi convinces her sister to break the cardinal rule; to touch the ancient tomb walls. Gabi’s life is severely thrown
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off course when she travels through time straight into fourteenth century Italy. Standing out like a sore thumb in her skinny jeans and unsure of where her sister is, Gabi struggles to survive, find her sister and find her way back to the twenty-first century. This was a fun and adventurous read. I always seem to enjoy time travel element in stories. There is something about taking a modern person and throwing them into the past that I find intriguing and Waterfall definitely did not disappoint. The story was quickly paced with Gabi falling literally into a battle and it just kept going from there. The historical elements of the story and world building around Castelo Forelli seemed realistic and accurate for the time that was being portrayed. I really enjoyed getting a glimpse of how life was like in that time. In addition, the character development throughout the story was good. Gabi was a great lead character; I enjoyed her strong personality and her level head. She was a person I could easily put my support behind and that makes a huge difference for me. All of the characters were distinct and you wanted a chance to get to know them better; like Marcello with his serious personality and Luca with his lighthearted one. The plot was solid and there were definitely a few moments where I was on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. The romantic elements were sweet, felt natural and were not in the shape of a triangle – yay! Waterfall has plenty of adventure, suspense, romance and conflict to keep the reader absorbed and I highly recommend it.
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LibraryThing member thehistorychic
Bought for Myself
Read as part of the Waterfall Read-a-Long
Overall Rating 3.75
Story Rating 4.00
Character Rating 3.50

Note: This is a book that I am sure on my own, without prodding, I probably would have never picked up. I am glad that I read it though and will be reading Cascade and Torrent. I
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honestly believe I will end up loving the series as a whole!

What I Loved: The following elements kept me fascinated from beginning to end: Historical Elements, Time-Travel adaption by the characters, intrigue, and the war elements. I have to admit that I am not usually a person who "loves" fighting but there were a couple of "battle" scenes that I was completely loving. The fact that it was hand-to-hand and life-or-death by characters (Lia and Gabi) that had not been part of that world before made it even more on the edge! The historical accuracy that the author tried to maintain through out the whole story was also very well done! Overall Bravo to Lisa T Bergren to weaving an intriguing story with historical elements in a very believable way!

What I Liked: At the end of Waterfall, I can say that I liked all the main characters involved. It took awhile for me to warm up to Gabi and Marcello. However, I wanted more of Lia and Luca. I just liked their characters more. They were all written well and I believe as the series progresses I will like them all more!

Complaints: I am still only at the point of liking Gabi and that took about 3/4 of the book. I have heard that she will grow on me even more as the series progresses.

Why I gave it a 3.75: This was a very good opening to a series. I am excited to continue reading a-long.
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LibraryThing member AyleeArgh
In short: Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren is entertainment at its best - complete with non-stop action and swoon-worthy boys.

I participated in a month long Read-Along for Waterfall in which I got to share in my reading experience of Waterfall with a whole bunch of lovely book bloggers. It was
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excellent fun but also terribly hard to stay within the allotted chapters for each week. Why? Because Waterfall is just so darn fast paced and exciting; I was never even remotely bored at any point. Lisa T. Bergren keeps the action coming page after page. Waterfall is entertainment at its best.

And how could you not be entertained by the events that take place in Waterfall? Getting mistaken for a lady in a past time period, meeting some swoon-worthy and gallant boys men and falling in love with one of them, getting to impart your modern knowledge and save a life, getting to wear pretty dresses and go to balls, taking part in the action even though you're a lady - this is all stuff of escapist fantasies. It was like Lisa T. Bergren knew exactly what her audience was looking for in a dream book and then delivered exactly that and more.

Gabi makes for a feisty and determined heroine, though I did find that she was a little too good to be true as a character. It seems awfully convenient to me that she would be fluent in Italian, basic in Latin and French, have experience in riding bareback, have a knowledge of various herbs and remedies, and be an experienced fencer (and somehow have this experience translate into wielding an extremely heavy broadsword). I guess I just would've liked to have seen Gabi struggle a bit more with her new and strange surroundings - not that I hate her or anything. I just think that would be more realistic.

I also think the pacing was a bit too fast at times (because I'm weird like that); I would've liked to have read a bit more detail about the plan that was put into place to save Gabi's sister, for instance, because I found it a bit hard to follow. But besides these minor quibbles, I had tons of fun reading Waterfall and I can't imagine a person not enjoying themselves while reading it either. I can't wait to check out the sequels, Cascade and Torrent, which also came out this year!
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LibraryThing member Coranne
Satisfying read- cant wait to get the next two books!
LibraryThing member BookAddictDiary
Waterfall was one of those books that I wasn't very interested in before I picked it up. However, I did have the opportunity to review it, and the Italian hills were calling to me. How could I say no to such a romantic, gorgeous setting? Waterfall also happens to be part YA and part historical
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fiction, two genres that I enjoy -and that I enjoy even better when they collide. So, I few aside my misgivings on Waterfall and tried it.
Waterfall introduces authors to Gabriella and her sister, the daughters of two famed Etruscan scholars, and has spent much of her life visiting Italy on archaeological trips with their parents. This year, Gabi and Lia find themselves in rural Tuscany on yet another dusty dig. That is, until they find a strange portal to fourteen century Italy, right in middle of a battle between knights from different cities.
Seems like a winner, right? Who doesn't love a trip to the gorgeous, romantic world of ancient Italy, complete with gorgeous knight-princes and city feuds? Well, at first I enjoyed the concept and thought it was fun, but it wasn't too long before I started to ask questions that didn't seem to have answers.
First, Gabi seems to accept her new-found surroundings all too easily and seems to sink into it far too easily as well. While yes, her parents would know all these things about ancient Italy, but it just seemed too convenient here. The people of ancient Italy also seemed to accept Gabi far too easily as well, so I just had trouble buying the whole girl-gets-sucked-back-in-time scenario. It just didn't feel real.
Bergren's writing, though comfortable and honest, had some flaws. While she can create decent characters with realistic dialog, Bergren had trouble creating a fully-developed setting that felt real. I couldn't see Italy in the setting, and I couldn't see much else but generic knights and castles. I just didn't feel like I was in ancient Italy.
Despite its flaws, Waterfall is a decent read for teens who enjoy a sweet romance with a historical backdrop, but I was disappointed with the historical aspect.
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LibraryThing member krau0098
I got a copy of this book through the Amazon Vine program (it was also available for free for Kindle a while back). I had heard wonderful things about this book and it ended up being an excellent romantic historical fantasy story.

Gabi and her sister Lia are accompanying their mother on an
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archaeological dig in Italy when they find some hand prints in a tomb. When they place their hands on the hand prints they are sent back in time, separated, and find themselves in the middle of a power struggle between two Italian families. Gabi has to learn how to navigate this strange time, find her sister, find a way back home, and hopefully guard her heart from the lord of the castle Marcello. Marcello is betrothed to another woman but finds himself drawn to Gabi despite the political ramifications.

There are a couple things about this story that are a bit too fairy tale and convenient. Gabi can ride horseback and fight with a sword from the get-go; this is explained via activities she used to do with her father but is a bit too convenient for my taste. The whole falling in love with the lord who rescues her is also a bit too fairy tale. Despite this I found myself absolutely enraptured by this story and couldn't put the book down.

Gabi is a kick-butt character, she faces a lot of danger in this novel and pulls off being incredibly brave yet still seeming humble about it. She does a number of things that would be somewhat normal in our time, but when she does them in this past era it is so out of character for a woman that it shocks, stuns, and awes the people around her. She was a fun character to read about and very engaging; I found myself really emotionally involved. She has some tough decisions to make throughout the story: does she follow her heart or do what her head says is the right thing to do?

Marcelle was a dream male lead; he is basically the knight in shining armor. Extremely masculine, but tender towards Gabi and very concerned about the welfare of those around him.

Bergren did an excellent job with describing the period and with the language. Gabi reverts to talking in a more archaic/stilted form of language, but she still thinks in normal modern teen slang and sometimes she does slip up in her speech. This was done very well and remained consistent throughout the story.

The plot is well done and is full of conspiracy and plotting, there are some excellent action scenes, and the romance is tender and sweet. Keep in mind this is part of a trilogy so this book does not stand alone, there really isn't much resolved by the end of this book so I would recommend having the second book, Cascade, on hand.

I was a bit dubious about reading this book because of the Bergren's religious background, not to mention the publishing house. I've been conned into reading fantasies before that end up being more treatises on religion than actual works of fantasy. This book was not like that. Being that you are in old Italy God is mentioned a number of times. Gabi occasionally wonders if her being sent back in time was God's will (even though she is admittedly not all that religious) and wonders when people pray to God if he really hears. Besides those mentions this really isn't a religious heavy book. I thought the use of religion was reasonable and fit well with the story, I never felt like I was being preached too or beat over the head with heavy religious beliefs. So don't let the Christian history of the writer or publishing house deter you from reading this book.

Overall I loved this book. The characters, plot, and action scenes were all very well done. Sure all the sword fighting, horseback riding, language skills that Gabi had were a bit too convenient and maybe Marcelle was a bit too perfect...but the package made for a wonderful historical fantasy full of intrigue, adventure, and a very sweet romance. Fans of historical fantasy with romance will find a lot here to love. I absolutely could not put this book down. A lot remains unresolved at the end of this book so I have to admit I immediately went out and bought Cascade and Torrent so that I could read the rest of the story.
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LibraryThing member skstiles612
Two sisters, Gabi age 17 and Lia age 15 are once again on an archaeological dig with their mother. They have spent almost every summer traipsing around these old digs. Their parents were experts in all things Etruscan. Not that their father is dead their mother feels she must carry on. It is at one
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of these sites that the girls break the rules. Before it has been checked out and documented Gabi and Lia enter a tomb and discover a set of handprints that fit their own. Once they touch the wall they find themselves thrust back through time to the medieval period. They are separated. GAbi the oldest lands in a tomb in the middle of a battle between the Forelli's and Paratores, two feuding houses. She is taken in by the Forelli's. she becomes a target for the Paratores who have her sister Lia prisoner. Gabi uses her fencing skills to help her use a sword to try to get her sister back. The story is full of historical details and information. The romance between GAbi and Marcello was not too unrealistic. It was not a love at first sight type of romance that we find in too many young adult books. This is also not an in your face religious book. Gabi never really thought about her religious beliefs until she landed back in time. Religion was very important to this time period. It makes her look at and question everything she has ever believed.
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LibraryThing member FHC
Amazing Read-Along with Waterfall Wednesdays discussion group. Q&A interactions at the blog...
LibraryThing member Annesanse
I really enjoyed this book! I thought it started off just a tad slow, but it definitely picked up speed quickly. I tend to really like books that include time travel, and this one was no exception. The idea/mystery around the accidental time warp was interesting, and I can't wait to learn more
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about it. This book had a lot of action and a bit of politics, but the romance was really great too. I liked watching Gabriella try to fit in and cope with the different time period. I'm already on to the next book, and it's also good so far.
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LibraryThing member pahel
4.5 Stars

I’m trying to hold back the fangirling here, but it’s kinda hard. You see in the description where it mentions Italian hotties? Notice how it’s plural? There are three guys in this book that I would risk plague and travel back in time for. Yet, delightfully, there isn’t any
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annoying love triangle. The main character loves her guy and sees the other two as good friends.

Ah, they’re physically attractive, but they also have super attractive personalities. The main character travels back to the 14th century, so these guys aren’t the modern guy who will share his feelings with you over a latte (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

Oh no, these are the kind of guys that make you let out a primal groan and call them MEN. They’re all commanding and manly. They also have swords—one of the most popular accessories of hot men everywhere—and they’re totally willing to get all sweaty and sexy using them.

But, come on, are we superficial enough to give a book a five star rating on the basis of hot guys alone? Um, yeah, ok, actually some of us are. =P But this book has other redeeming features!

The Girls

How about that main character? As awesome as the men are, she’s pretty kick butt herself. So fine, maybe I’m not buying that being a fencing champ makes her able to wield a 30 pound sword, but hey, it’s the thought that counts, right? And the thought is really great. The guys are all like, “Lady, you need to stay in the castle and let us do man work” and she’s all, “Yeah, whatever. You think I’m going to miss out on this? Pfft!”

But you know what’s great? The men aren’t peeved by this. They’re impressed! Again, maybe not so historically accurate, but I don’t care because I was having so much fun.

Oh, I probably should mention that the main character isn’t a Mary Sue at all though. I realize I might have made her sound like that a little, but she’s not. She makes a ton of mistakes and has a lot of “Oops!” moments. She recognizes her mistakes and learns from them.

Plot Praise

Great characters are wonderful and all, but you really do need a solid plot to back them up in order to be a 5 star book, right? Well, the plot here was so, so good. How’s your knowledge of 14th century Italy? Yeah, mine sucks too. So I don’t have a clue what is based on truth (if anything) and what’s the author’s creation. Either way, it doesn’t matter.

The plot starts out fun enough with the main character trying to fudge her way through 14th century life, a plot device I always find amusing. Add in a missing sister she needs to find and a romance with a super unattainable guy and the plot would have been solid. But there’s more! War, battle, political intrigue! I just had this silly grin on my face that kept getting wider and wider the more I read.


This book ended up taking me a really short time to finish. I was completely into it. I never wanted it to end. Thankfully, there are two more books which I immediately added to my Goodreads list as soon as I finished Waterfall. All of the main events of the story wrap up pretty well so I don’t feel like I’m hanging on a major cliffhanger, but the stage is set for the sequel. If you like those courtly intrigue books with manly men and a strong heroine, then I highly recommend Waterfall.
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LibraryThing member LaneLiterati
This novel was a wonderful treat. I was intrigued by the concept when the library first purchased it, and decided that I should give it a try. This was one of the best novels I have read this year. There was enough romance and history to keep things interesting. The writing is fast-paced, and I had
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a hard time putting this novel down just to eat dinner. Highly recommended for someone looking for a light romance with a twist of science fiction.
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LibraryThing member aoibhealfae
I always love time travelling romance. But the genre is starting to get too stale. Somehow the book is too much like Crichton's Timeline and I immediately got sucked into it.

Its a combinition of The Borgias and Fringe in some way. Face paced, never detract from the points, filled with swordfight
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and medieval medicine. The girls are very independent although somewhat vulnerable. Its a good book to distract from the vampire YAs, recommendable for those who are tired of the threesomes romances and love action.
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LibraryThing member terriko
I got this out of the library because I needed another audiobook and it was available the day before one of my many flights. An archeology/time travel romp seemed like some nice escapism for my own travel. And by and large, it was... Up until halfway through the book when the main character's
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constant thoughts about God and sudden desire to pray in a meaningful way started to intrude upon my enjoyment of the story and constantly worrying that the whole thing was going to turn into a heavy-handed parable rather destroyed my enjoying of the ending.

To be fair to the author, it never did get *that* heavy-handed, but I felt miffed by the bait-and-switch because rather than letting the character's faith develop in a natural way (as it seemed it might at the beginning), the cases where she thought about God seemed to be less and less connected to what was actually happening to her, and more grafted in to the story as it went on. Not the worst I've ever read, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it, and it's a real shame because it's a nicely acted audiobook and I think with a lighter hand and better editing, it might have worked.
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LibraryThing member brandileigh2003
I decided to read this one because I had heard so many great things about the series and even though I don't usually enjoy historical fiction, I do love time travel, so I figured that I would give it a shot, and boy am I glad that I did.
I really enjoyed Gabbi's character, and when she went
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backwards in time, she knew more than me of the time period because of her growing up with archaeologists for parents, but just enough so that she could blend in, and the things she didn't understand was able to be written off because she claimed to be from a different country and distraught because of her missing sister and mother.
But, as it turns out, the way that Lisa writes, I really loved the time period. The customs and chivalry, the way that the politics were presented was interesting to me, but like with all books, it was really the characters that made the story for me. Gabbi being emotional, but resilient and strong, showing up as a female obviously beyond the times, and willing to stand up for herself, fight for her family, and yet willing to learn. She knew her weaknesses, but turned them into strength. What I enjoyed the most though was that she was loyal, she cared about other people, and she kept the big picture in focus. She was willing to put aside what she wanted in order for others to be happy and for the greater good.
There was some talk of religion in this one, but it was tastefully written, fitting with the time period, circumstances, and not preachy. I actually really appreciated her openess to it, even though she wasn't a religious person to start with.
On to the men. Wow. They were thoughtful, handsome, strong, and they just don't have many men like this in this time, which is another reason I enjoyed the time period.
The action scenes were well written and didn't feel forced or too gruesome, while yet keeping true to what would have been realistic in battle and between the forces.
Fortino was a pleasant addition. I loved that Gabbi wanted to help him, and was able to use personal experience as well as some modern age treatments to help him with his illness, and that it was a true friendship between a guy and a girl.
Luka, the first guard, caught my eye, but I knew that he wasn't for Gabbi. I couldn't help but fall for him though, he is trust worthy, loyal, understanding.
Marcello is the perfect royal gentlemen. It is hard because his marriage has been planned since he was a small child and it is for political alliance. He was fine until he met and fell for Gabbi. It was so hard because of his duty, responsibilities, and then his feelings. There is such tension, hotness, and passion in this romance, but it is all clean.
The ending worked well for the book, although I am eager to get an opening in my schedule to keep reading about this awesome world and see what choices are made and how they live with the ones from the last book, however painful, noble, fitting, and needed.

Bottom Line: Loved the characters and the romance.
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LibraryThing member CyndiTefft
I'm a sucker for time travel romance, so I enjoyed that aspect of this book. I wish Gabi's vernacular had been consistent throughout the book, rather than flipping back and forth between fancy 14th century speak to teen speak from today. It was disorienting and distracting. The action was constant
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throughout, which I enjoyed, and Marcellus and Luca were both yummy love interests.
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