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Waterfall: A Novel (River of Time Series) Paperback – February 1, 2011
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This is book one in the River of Time series. First, my few issues with the book. One, why is it titled Waterfall? I never made the connection. None. Whatsoever. Gorgeous title. Gorgeous cover. The first two things that drew me in until I read the intriguing synopsis, but I still, even after having finished it, cannot make the connection. Perhaps it'll click later on in the series? Two, I did find a few minor grammatical errors, which could have been caught by the editors. There were a few incorrect commas and then three or four dialogue issues that were "holes" for lack of a better word. But, nothing so serious as to jerk me from the reality that the story cocooned me in. Three, I know the MC was as twenty-first century seventeen year old American girl, but Lord have mercy the number of times I saw the phrase "hot" associated with men. Kay, I'm in my early twenties and my younger sister is midteens, and neither of us speak that way. I know there are masses of girls out there that do, so it wasn't unrealistic, just too much. Yeah, I'm an old soul. And, yeah, I've thought guys were great looking, but I have not gone on and on about how "hot" they were. This, however, did seem to ease up as the book went along. First impressions, I get it, so this is a light critique. That said...I have no other complaints.
The MC, Gabriella, was stinking awesome. :D I loved her! I loved her sister and I really hope we get to see more of her in the future. I loved the way she narrated the story and her personality. I could relate to her. I liked her daring nature, which came mostly from her twenty-first century upbringing and ignorance of the current period. I liked how her skills translated to the fourteenth century and I liked how she adapted to the world around her. She wasn't all head strong, know it all, I can do this! She had moments of doubt and fear. She had questions and something that gave her caution. She was also pretty stubborn, but not in a cliche way. I very much enjoyed the rich historical world that Mrs. Bergren built. I'm finding more and more that I like historical fiction and nonfiction, which I never would have imagined as a child. The world was intricate and it enveloped me wholly. The relationships between the characters were dynamic, round, and complex. I loved the moments when Gabi thought back to her father and when Rossi shone through to be more than she first appeared. I loved, and I do mean loved Luca and Marcello! I cannot wait to see more of those two! Oh, and Fortino. God love Fortino. I am definitely coming back for more of him. So, as you can see, I am entirely enamored of the cast and the setting. The plot was intriguing. It drew me in, and though at times some of the names took a second to process, I soon got the hang of it and felt right at home in the little Italian world. The language was beautiful and I almost wish there had been more of it. I was very much invested in the story by the end of it and would heartily recommend it to others who enjoy a story alive with intrigue and just a hint of forbidden romance!
As for my three strikes: no language, clean romance, and mild violence. It's a plus on all sides!
Waterfall is a light, fun, clean, although quite a fantastical story. It is Christian, but moms if you were hopeful that this series would lead your daughter into a deeper relationship with Christ I'm afraid that it won't. Fortunately, though, it is a series that you can give to your daughter that will show true romance, advocate sex AFTER marriage, and provide them with a clean entertaining read that you won't mind previewing. Enjoy
Others have complained that there is quite a bit of suspension of disbelief. Well... obviously. It's a time travel novel, not a nonfiction novel. It was clear from the get-go that this would be a lighthearted read, not to be taken too seriously. Since I knew that from the beginning, I was able to adopt that mindset and enjoy the read.
I adored so many of the characters too. I think one of my favorite things was how Romana was written. I loved that it was made clear that she wasn't a villain; she was simply making do with the hand dealt to all ladies of that time. I'm so tired of books making every woman except the heroine out to be some evil psycho. It's not realistic, and it's juvenile. I'm glad that wasn't the case here. Hopefully it will continue to be that way in future books. I loved the main characters, but I also really loved Fortino.
Some reviews complain that it's too convenient that our heroine spoke the appropriate languages. Well, it's not so shocking given her upbringing. I didn't find it far-fetched at all.
Another thing I liked is that the problems of the past weren't ignored. Smelly underarms? Yep, she noticed. Crappy bed? Yep! I was waiting for her to start her period and freak out about no tampons (which I would have LOVED to read about and die laughing, I'm sure).
The Christian/religious parts flow with the story. I'm actually Christian myself, but I avoid religious novels because they are SO. AWKWARD. AND. PREACHY. This wasn't though. It was very natural.
All in all, this is a fun read, and I recommend it.
Top international reviews
I loved the characters, I LOVED the storyline, the whole time travel back to the fourteenth century `thing' was genius. Our main character Gabi was so realistic and acted the exact way I would imagine a 17 year old would when finding herself 600 years in the past stuck in skinny jeans and running shoes surrounded by knights fighting a bloody battle on a hillside in the middle of Italy. The way she was clever and talked herself out of where she had come from and why she was alone - women in those times didn't just wander around (in trousers!) on hillsides alone during battles!
The villains in this book were suitably horrible, a nearby enemy of the family who takes Gabi in who have been fighting with them over land for years and who provide much of the story's action and fighting scenes throughout the book. They were perfect. The men... ahh the men. Well they're Italian noblemen and knights, what more could one want!? But of course the guy she falls for is already betrothed to someone else and so that storyline was sweet because back then they got married very young and although she falls for him she struggles internally with being so in love at such a young age when he talks of marriage!
I just can't give enough praise to this book. I never wanted it to end. And I'm so glad there are sequels which I'm afraid I will devour very quickly! I recommend this to all. Even if you think yourself someone who does not like historical fiction, please, please give it a try, I think you'll find yourself quite surprised!
Once you buy into the premise the story rattled along, with some byways of course, like demonstrating how some modern medical treatments could be useful many years ago. I will look forward to reading the sequel and discovering whether true love can be found.
The heroine was immature, and too many convenient reasons for her being able to do several improbable things (speak ancient languages, sword fighting etc.) were a tad unbelievable, and given last minute as a kind of aside. This started to grate after a bit.
Unlike others I found the teenage speak annoying rather than charming... but perhaps that is because as a twenty something I am too old for this.
Recommended for younger readers or those who don't get slowly irritated by american teenage slang
This novel is none of those things.
The author weaves a rich tapestry of history when she sends two young girls back in time to fourteenth century Italy.
All I can say is read it. I will be reading the others in this series.
The plot was woven with intrigue and didn't lag for even a moment. The romance was sweet & passionate without really going overboard. The men were emotionally present (props L. Bergren) & proved to be everything a knight 'in shining armour' is supposed to be. It was suspenseful and full of danger (yes, the characters get wounded, instead of narrowly escaping injury at every turn, as it often happens in books!)
The emotional connections between the characters really brought them to life and had me finishing this book in a day.
Gabi and her sister Lia are stuck in Italy for the summer with their mother who is an archaeologist.
One day whilst their mother is distracted by an official, Gabi and Lia sneak into one of the crypts their mother is excavating, and find some ancient hand prints on the wall.
Placing their hands on the hand prints, even though they know their mother will kill them for it, Gabi and Lia find themselves transported through time back to the fourteenth century.
Unfortunately they get separated, and Gabi finds herself in the middle of a battle. Now it's up to Gabi to find her sister, and find a way back to her own time; and all with the distraction of the handsome Marcello.
Can Gabi find and rescue her sister? Can they make it back to their own time? And can a love that spends centuries ever survive?
This book was so infuriating, it literally drove me nuts.
Gabi goes back in time, loses her sister, finds herself in the middle of a sword fight, and what does she comment on? `That guy over there is gorgeous!' I mean what? Think you've got more important things to be worrying about love.
Gabi does seem to fit in incredibly well in whatever time she has ended up in though, and does very quickly assimilate. She doesn't even push their rules regarding women all that much, and spends a hell of a lot of time riding side saddle.
I found it a little unlikely how much Gabi knew with regards to riding a horse, and fighting with a sword, and even living in the fourteenth century. I know that her parents were archaeologists and taught her a bit of history, but how many people would really be prepared to live in the fourteenth century?
In my opinion Gabi was also far too preoccupied with what was going on in the fourteenth century than finding her sister and getting back to her own time! So many things took precedence over her real mission that it was ridiculous! And what did she really expect to achieve by flirting with Marcello anyway? They live in different times! She really did seem to spend a lot of time doing stuff other than finding her sister, which to me was a little strange, and the romance was just doomed from the start!
Other parts of this book just annoyed me because of how unnecessary and boring they were. I really can't say I was interesting in reading pages and pages about how she tried to cure some guy of his asthma, or her plans regarding going to a dance.
Another thing that annoyed me was that she wasn't worried about changing history! Surely if you go back in time, you'd be worried about causing a paradox and never being able to go home. She never considered that trying to cure some bloke of his asthma could be a really bad idea. What if he was supposed to die from his asthma? And dating someone? What if he was supposed to marry that other girl and she's just changed history?! There seriously wasn't a thought given to this which was just ridiculous!
Overall; this book just drove me nuts, Gabi was just annoying and so easily distracted, and I couldn't believe how little thought was given to the possibility that Gabi might change the past with her meddling! For me, time travel is a very dicey subject, and this author has not pulled it off with this book. I will not be continuing with this series.
4 out of 10.