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What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world?

Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaelogist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds...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.

Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

369 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2011

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About the author

Lisa Tawn Bergren

107 books3,613 followers

Lisa Tawn Bergren is the best-selling, award-winning author of over 60 books, with more than 4.5 million copies sold. She recently released The Sugar Baron's Daughters Series (KETURAH, VERITY and SELAH), and recently finished a teen series called Remnants (SEASON OF WONDER, SEASON OF FIRE, and SEASON OF GLORY). She's also written the River of Time Series (WATERFALL, CASCADE, TORRENT, BOURNE & TRIBUTARY, DELUGE) and The Grand Tour Series (GLAMOROUS ILLUSIONS, GRAVE CONSEQUENCES, GLITTERING PROMISES), time-slip romance duology called River of Time: California (THREE WISHES and FOUR WINDS), and some contemporary romances (ONCE UPON A MONTANA SUMMER and ONCE UPON AN IRISH SUMMER are the newest releases).

Lisa’s time is split between managing home base, writing, consulting and helping Tim with his business. Her husband Tim is a sculptor of ducks-out-of-fenceposts (RMRustic.com), graphic designer and musician. They have three big kids–Olivia (who just got married), Emma (who is about to get married) and Jack (who is a junior in high school).

The Bergrens make their home in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,317 reviews
Profile Image for Tara.
15 reviews69 followers
July 26, 2021

DNF. This has to go down as one of the silliest, if not the silliest story ever written in the history of YA fiction. Our 17 year old heroine finds herself in midst of a medieval battle after traveling back in time and what does she do?? She falls crazy in LUST with the first guy she sets eyes on. "I was in the middle of a real battle. Men were wounded or dying. I glanced left and saw that one wasn't battling any longer; instead he stared at me as if I were a female Lazarus. I wanted to look away from him but I couldn't. He was the most handsome guy I'd ever seen, with a model's physique and a face to match...a serious hottie!!" I mean WTFF?? Unfortunately, things only continue to go downhill from there. She suddenly becomes fluent in Latin and Italian. She can ride, fence and has no problem whatsoever in reciting ancient poetry and to top it all off, she even possesses a great deal of medicinal knowledge.

Come on people, get real! ;-)




392 reviews334 followers
June 29, 2011
For those who like a visual ~ Marcello http://irresistiblereads.blogspot.com...

My Favourite Quote: We froze. Neither of us moving, simply staring at each other if the other was going to move first.
"You are," he whispered, "uncommonly stirring."
He closed his eyes then, as if he had to in order to break the bond between us, then lifted me to the saddle and stare at the ground as he guided my feet into the stirrups.

AWESOME! I am not usually a fan of anything that slightly resembles historical fiction and well this is time travel back to Fourteenth-Century Italy. But I love everything about this book the setting, the characters, the history, the romance. It has to be one of my favourite series of 2011.

Bergen prose is elegant and magnetic while the plot is fast paced and addicting. Often with historical fiction I feel overloaded with information and sometimes a little bored but Waterfall was effortless read that had me on the edge of my seat. I was completely captivated by this story. Immediately when I finished it I looked up how long I would have to wait for the next one. It is one of those books that you just don't want to end thanks to the amazing writing of Bergren.

The characters are fantastic. And not just this main ones. The secondary character are just as strong and entertaining and I admit it is hard to pick a favourite. Gabi is a compelling character. Strong, mature and caring. She showed a lot of courage and I don't think I could have handle myself as well as she did if got sent back to Fourteenth-Century Italy and lost my sister. Then there is Marcello. My first thoughts was WOW. A fierce fighter, smart, loyal and kind. Gabi and Marcello has chemistry from page one. There is loads of tension and obstacles as their relationship builds slowly.

Overall, Waterfall is an electrifying and enthralling tale. Do not miss out on this awesome new series.
Profile Image for Amber.
341 reviews110 followers
April 15, 2011
Love this book!!!! This was the "Total Package" for me. There wasn't an ounce of anything missing! I'm a sucker for a good history/action/adventure/romance book, but this far exceeded my expectations! I couldn't put this one down, loved every bit of it!

The story is about two sisters who travel to Italy every summer due to their mom and late father's love of archeology. The Betarrini sisters search a tomb in which they were not supposed to enter and find handprints on the wall. As they both place their hands on these ancient handprints things begin to change. Upon entering the 13th century, Gabriella finds she is alone in this tomb, not sure where her sister Evangelia is. As she exits this tomb, she is captured by Marcello, whom by the way is eye candy!

The story is based on Gabriella's search for her sister and mother. She is such an amazing protaganist. Such spunk and wit, it makes you giggle at times. The knowledge she learned growing up helps her with her protrayal of a Lady from this current time. Of course she finds herself developing feelings for Marcello, but he is betrothed and let's just say his soon-to-be partner is anything but kind.

Gabriella does her best to not fall for Marcello, due to an alliance needed by the betrothel of Lady Rossi and Marcello the future Lord of Castello Forelli. She finds it hard when he is so attentive and attractive. Throughout the story you will find yourself at the edge of your seat and cheering on Gabriella as she deals with the longing to find her sister, the fight to not fall for the "knight in shining armor", a devious Lady Rossi, and a battle of inner strength.

The Characters in this story were so well written and the story was so believable. I LOVED the chemistry between Gaby and Marcello. There was such a pull there, which made you want to read more. Gabriella was a strong heroin. She can wield a sword, climb down a stone wall on a rope, give an attitude and yet Present herself as a Lady when needed. Such a fun character to read about. Then there is Marcello, oh Lord Marcello...dreamy, muscular, attentive all rolled up in his Italian hotness! Need I say more??!!

The secondary characters were amazing as well. A great story isn't a great story without the jealous, devious, bitchy girlfriend. Lady Rossi surely played her part in that. Ugh makes me cringe thinking about her! Luca, captain Luca Forelli, cousin of Marcello. Such a great cast of characters and they all contributed to make this story as amazing and wonderful as it was.

This has got to be one of my favorite books so far this year and I can't wait until June when the next book in River of Time series comes out. I would recommend this book to everyone. Young and old. It is a book that is relatable yet very enjoyable to read.

Profile Image for SHOMPA.
363 reviews158 followers
March 7, 2023
The way I was hesitant to start the book after seeing everyone's reviews, it actually wasn't that bad. There are a lot of promising elements here that make me curious enough to read the next books in the series.
Profile Image for Katie.
Author 2 books120 followers
August 24, 2011
The cover of this book drew me in first, and reading about the book thoroughly intrigued me. It sounded like a really neat, adventurous read. But I was slightly wrong in my assumptions. It wasn't just a neat read--it was an AWESOME read!

It had everything a reader could want in a medieval adventure: battles, sword fights, balls, adventure, peril, humor, suspense, mystery, romance...everything! To put it simply--I was completely wowed by this book. The River of Time series ranks right up there with the best of them and will have a permanent spot on my bookshelf!
Gabriella (Gabi) was one amazing woman. While she was strong and fearless, she was also gentle, compassionate, and had her weaknesses. Being able to wield a sword gave her some advantage when the time travel landed her in the middle of a small war, but knowing how to spar with her father did little to prepare her to take on seasoned knights three times stronger than herself. But even then, she does not shirk from danger. That was one of my favorite aspects of Gabi--she was heroic and brave, even if she was inwardly scared out of her wits.

I didn't get to know her sister, Evangelia (Lia) that much, but she was very similar to her sister, though a bit more sensitive and naïve. But living with the Sienese had caused Gabi to grow up almost overnight, and Lia was no different. What a heroine she was as she used her impeccable skill with the bow and arrow! I was cheering for her right alongside Gabi--what a formidable team they formed. No wonder they were called the She-Wolves of Siena.
The men in these books were amazing! Marcello and Luca were just plain awesome. What girl wouldn't want a brave knight beside you, ready to die to keep you safe? And handsome, ta boot! While Marcello was wonderful, I felt more of a liking his sidekick, humorous Luca. His gentle teasing and quirky comments in the face of danger endeared me to this man who was so devoted to Marcello, and in turn, Gabi and Lia.

While this book is published as YA fiction, I believe adults would find Gabi and Lia's adventures to be stirring and extremely satisfying. Geared for the younger readers, Lisa kept her book clean, light-hearted, and funny. I loved the writing style she used, giving Gabi such a dry sense of humor as she struggled with the differences of living in the medieval world as opposed to the 21st century. There were times where I outright laughed!

Lisa has written a true winner with this book, and, I am confident to presume, with the next two in the series. The book doesn't end with that bad of a cliffhanger, but enough to make the reader run to the calendar and figure out how much longer they must wait for the next book to be released. What an awesome series this will be! I think the uniqueness of the storyline--21st century girls traveling back to the 1300s--really make for it to be such an awesome series. I can confidently say that I won't tire of rereading this book again, and again, and again!

The perilous adventures that Gabi faces will leave you breathlessly clinging to each word as you read through the pages. I loved that Lisa didn't make her characters invincible or anything--they were hurt and bested at some points. This all made their adventures that much more believable and the characters that much more human. And it added a hook to the whole plot as I read into the wee hours of the night, wondering how on earth Gabi and Lia would make it out of such a predicament alive. I seriously cannot wait until all three books are released! I am counting down the days as I keep my copy of Waterfall close at hand for constant rereading. :-)
Profile Image for Kathy.
2,071 reviews602 followers
April 24, 2022
One thing I’ve learned from reading this series is that I am totally unprepared for time travel and that I'm a horrible parent because I have not prepared my children either. I don’t think I would last very long in the middle ages.

Our heroine Gabi and her sister Lia are transported from our modern times to Medieval Italy. I liked how Gabi handles herself, her reactions seemed realistic. I liked that she always looked for the positive and stays optimistic in the face of so many trials. I also like how the author has used Gabi’s past to prepare her for her life in medieval Italy. Her father taught her fencing, Latin and Italian history. Maybe it’s a little convenient, but I liked that it made her transition easier. Almost as if she was meant to live her life this way.

Not only is Gabi a great character, but we also have a fantastic supporting cast in her sister Lia, and the yummy knights Luca and Marcello. While we don’t get a whole lot of page time with Lia, what we do get is great. Luca adds a great comedic element, which helps to lighten the mood. And Marcello brings the romance factor. Gabi and Marcello have great chemistry, but not only is Gabi trying to return to her time, but Marcello is engaged to another woman, so how are these two ever going to end up together?

I thought this was a well written story, a fun plot and likable characters. I think it would make a fun movie or tv series. It always sucks me in and I can't wait to dive in to the next book!

Content Rated PG+
Romance: Kissing
Language: None
Violence: Moderate - fighting, death, etc
Other: Mild religious content
Profile Image for Belinda.
1,331 reviews181 followers
February 15, 2020
5 stars - English Ebook 🌹🌹🌹
**** I looked at the crusifix and sighed. No this was up to me. I had to do it myself. I had to get myself out. The Tomas. My portal. It was the only way out to Lia. Bach to mum. Back to reality. Back to my life. My own timeline. ****
I am hooked on this teen/young adult midevial timetravel story. Ready fot the next Adventure of Gina and Lia and their medivial knights. 🦋🦋🦋
Profile Image for Sarah.
237 reviews1,111 followers
March 27, 2020
Every summer, the Betarrini family travel to Tuscany. Gabriella and Evangelia are free to explore their surroundings while their archaeologist parents search for Estruscan artifacts. Back in the United States for the rest of the year, the girls are taught Latin and Italian, and encouraged to study fencing and archery. While the sisters don't share their parents' obsession with history, they are fond of Italy.

This past year, the girls' father died, and their mother honors his memory by resuming their archaeological dig. While Mom copes with the grief among the artifacts she and her husband loved so dearly, her daughters are numb and desperate for distraction. There's not much distraction to be had in this remote part of Tuscany, with no large towns and (as Gabi is quick to note) no young men.

One day the sisters are bored enough to snoop around in one of the Etruscan tombs, and emerge from that tomb...seven hundred years ago. (There's already a big headscratcher here, I'm getting to that). Gabi and Lia are separated, each alone in this dangerous land of rival cities and bloodthirsty lords. As the sisters try to find each other, they become entangled in the tensions between Siena and Florence. And wouldn't you know it, there's a brooding and handsome young knight who fancies Gabi...

Content Advisory
Violence: Lots of battle scenes wherein knights on horseback hack at each other with their swords. At one point, a character attempts to decapitate an enemy soldier who's about to kill a friend of hers. There's a fair amount of gore, but the book doesn't wallow in the gruesome parts. A character is grievously wounded and her injury has to be sewn up and cauterized with 14th century tools, which is just as painful for her as you'd expect. Another girl is chained to a dungeon wall and threatened with torture. Some bad guys leer at our heroines and make allusions to rape.

Sex: Marcello and Gabi share a few passionate smooches. Vannucci makes creepy advances to both Betarrini girls.

Language: None.

Substance Abuse: Wine-drinking and some minor drunkeness.

Nightmare Fuel: A character is given repeated doses of poison. She recovers, but the description of how it effects her may make some queasy.

Politics and Religion: This Christian YA novel only has a few moments that establish it as Christian. The Betarrinis aren't a particularly religious family, but Gabi starts pondering God's existence and praying after being sent back in time. There's a curious lack of overt Catholicism in this version of 14th-century Italy; more on that later.

Like most YA time-travel tales, this book is goofy.

Why do these sisters get sent back in time? Obviously there's no story if they don't, but why them? What precisely can Gabi and Lia do that no one from medieval Siena can? The book doesn't even come close to answering this question. And it makes no sense for a magical Etruscan artifact to send them to 1342; that's like stumbling into King Arthur's resting place and emerging at 22B Baker Street when Sherlock Holmes lived there.

Then there's the instalove. Many reviewers have pointed out the absurdity of Gabi emerging from the tomb in the middle of a bloody battle and having this to say about the young man who turns out to be Marcello:

I glanced left and saw that one wasn't battling any longer; instead he stared at me as if I were a female Lazarus, emerging from the tomb in my grave clothes. I wanted to look away from him but I couldn't. He was the most handsome guy I'd ever seen, with a model's physique and a face to match. Big, chocolate-brown eyes, square jaw, aristocratic nose, pronounced cheekbones...a serious hottie.

There will be plenty of time later in the book for ogling the eventual love interest. Right now all we need to establish is that this young man is aware of Gabriella's presence, is in fact staring at her, which is all we need to plant in readers' minds that he'll likely be the romantic lead. We don't need a whole lot of detail about his appearance at this point; Gabi would realistically be too busy trying to avoid getting cut down by the combatants around her to notice. This passage also shows some flaws in the narrator's voice: a kid with minimal religious upbringing like Gabi is unlikely to refer to Lazarus, and "serious hottie" is just one of the book's many instances of

How do you do, fellow kids

The passage might flow better, and make more emotional sense, like this:

All around me, armored men were battling in a blur of metal. The air was full of the clang of sword against armor-plates and the zing when blade met blade, the nauseating splat of someone getting stabbed, the groans of the wounded and dying. I swallowed, feeling my breakfast threatening to escape.

Feeling eyes on me, I looked to my left. A young knight stood there, watching me intently. His face was ashy pale and his big dark eyes were nearly falling out of his head. I realized that he was afraid of me. After all, who would be lurking in a tomb but a ghost?

In spite of her boy-craziness and improbable fencing skills, Gabi is no more aggravating than the average main character in this genre. She's grumpy and overemotional, but surprisingly attentive to the people around her. Her friendship with Marcello's sickly brother Fortino is heartwarming (I've seen people complaining about this subplot because it makes Gabi look like an expert in medicine, but her input is only innovative by the standards of the fourteenth century--"open the drapes and eat chicken soup" is commonsense advice for any illness these days). Another refreshing thing about Gabi is her willingness, however reluctant, to . That's not common in these type of books.

Marcello is exactly what you'd expect--a dark, brooding, handsome young knight who is instantly smitten with our protagonist for no clear reason. Instalove is a little less annoying in this context, since chivalric literature is chock-full of it. Unfortunately, there's little else to Marcello as a character. He has no interests outside of war, the family honor, and Gabi. There's nothing terribly wrong with their relationship, and their chemistry is fine, it just seems like too much emotion with too little buildup. This is the first installment of a trilogy; they don't need to rush.

Lia is very different from her sister, and that's a good thing. While Gabi is emotional and easily distracted, Lia is levelheaded (unless you question her archery skills) and remembers that they eventually have to go home. I think that the book might have been better if both girls had taken turns narrating. Lia winds up in the clutches of the villainous Paratore family, whom she at first finds trustworthy, and she doesn't cross paths with her suitor until much later in the story, so her perspective could have added some depth to the conflict and offered some relief from Gabi's constant mooning over Marcello.

Lia's suitor is Luca, Marcello's much more entertaining best friend and brother-in-arms. He's a bit intrigued by Gabi, but as soon as she gives him a description of her missing sister he directs his attentions there instead. This takes the instalove to a whole new level, since he hasn't as much as seen Lia yet, another medieval trope that even got spoofed in Don Quixote. When they finally meet, during a raid where Lia puts her archery skills to good use, Luca dopily declares (as a deadly battle rages round them), that he's already in love.

But sensible Lia reacts to Luca with a realistic mix of flattery and annoyance, as he's prone to following her around and punching people whom he thinks have insulted her. I ship Luca and Lia more than Marcello and Gabi, even though L&L are the b-couple - they just have a more entertaining dynamic.

Fortino's a pretty good supporting character. Romana is inconsistent, veering from shallow mean girl to reasonably aloof noblewoman and back again. Lord Vannucci was creepy enough, but he just seemed evil for its own sake. It was hard to believe that Lia, by far the smarter of the two Bettarrini sisters, found him trustworthy at first.

There's not much of a plot--just two separated siblings trying to find each other in a scary new world and getting entangled with said world.

While Bergren is clearly well-acquainted with the cities and landscapes of Tuscany, her rendering of them is missing a key element: these characters pray fairly often and refer to their faith in daily life, but there's no priest at Castello Forelli. The castle is full of crucifixes (actual crucifixes as opposed to empty crosses, which is historically-accurate and important), yet there's no saint icons or statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Dante is frequently brought up in conversation, but no one ever namedrops these equally influential Italians--St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, and Sts. Francis and Clare of Assisi. In short, these characters are very Christian but, despite being Italians in the medieval period, they're not very Catholic. As both a Catholic and a student of history, I felt the absence.

That said, the book avoids the anti-Catholic subtext that's common in this sort of fiction (such as in the otherwise delightful novels My Lady Jane and Fawkes). It doesn't misconstrue relics or monastic life like An Uncertain Choice; nor do the characters have an anachronistic obsession with reading Scripture in their own language or refuse to address priests as "Father" like the entire cast of Melanie Dickerson's medieval German tales. So that's good.

The first-person narration sometimes rings false; you can just tell at some points that this is a middle-aged adult trying to sound like an adolescent. There are several jarringly cringey sentences in the early chapters. Luckily, as the story gains momentum, the awkward slang and "typical teen thoughts" disappear for the most part.

Recommended if you like the Ruby Red trilogy, the Stravaganza series, A Well Timed Enchantment, or the YA novels of Melanie Dickerson and Jody Hedlund.

P.S. At no point does this book involve a waterfall, or refer to a waterfall even as a metaphor. So that was confusing.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
May 25, 2012
Rating: 2.5 Stars

Waterfall is probably one of the most misguided books to have ever been marketed. The title Waterfall implies that there will be at least a mention of a waterfall throughout the book. Let me tell you now, there isn’t! The cover of this book is gorgeously deceptive and seems to portray a girl going through a gateway of some kind. I’ll spoil something for you again: there’s no gateway. The synopsis of Waterfall will tell you that this is an adventure novel about time-travel – wrong again! All Waterfall really is is one giant dose of a love story, sorry lust story. You know, the type where the romance between the two characters stems from “charged electricity” and has nothing to do with personalities or conversation whatsoever. Yeah, those kind. Waterfall was a disastrously disappointing read. I had high hopes for this one, but it didn't even come remotely close! I think if this was targeted to younger readers they might appreciate it more, but ultimately it fell flat.

“Honor. Sacrifice. Love. Make no mistake, words such as these are the lifeblood of Bergren’s series.” Let’s take a look at this lovely comment about this not-so-lovely book shall we? When Gabi and her sister Lia decide to explore their archaeologist mother’s off-bounds excavation site, they get sucked back in time to Medieval Italy. Now, caught in between a fierce battle, wrought with enemies, knights, and treachery, Gabi must struggle to somehow find her younger sister, who mysteriously became separated from her, and return back to her own time. However, Gabi may soon find out that returning is not something she wants to do…

Honor. I have to admit, honor is a definitely a large theme in this novel. Set in medieval Italy, the cast of Waterfall consists of real knights-in-shining-armor. However, despite the honorable setting, I finished this book learning nothing new about medieval Italy that I didn’t know before, and believe me, I don’t know much. Perhaps this is the biggest fault I have with this book. When you are setting out to write a time-travel novel, the setting and historic background is one of the most important aspects. Although the setting of this novel was described well, I was unable to grasp the true history behind this time period and in many ways, it felt extremely modern. For instance, Gabi uses many modern phrases and is extremely assertive, a quality which is non-existent for women of the age. Yet, instead of being appalled by Gabi’s behavior, all the men in Italy now find themselves vying for her affections! Furthermore, Gabi is conveniently equipped for medieval Italy. Being the daughter of two archaeologists, her father has taught her how to wield a sword, speak fluent Italian, read Latin, and even speak medieval Italian like that of Dante’s Inferno! This was all just a little too perfect for me and ultimately took away from the historic setting. Gabi’s ease in medieval Italy made it seem like a theatric set opposed to real life. Yet, despite these shortcomings, Gabi did prove to be a brave and courageous character. However, her sword-prowess was honored by Italian society – a feat which, I am quite sure, would not have actually happened in medieval Italy. Instead, the woman would be shunned from society for not being a docile housewife and no man would wish to marry her. Luckily for Gabi, the very opposite happens! Wonderful for her, not-so-wonderful for us, the reader.

Sacrifice. Many YA novels have a prevalent theme of sacrifice, whether it be for family, friends, or love. Okay, who am I kidding? It’s all for love. Waterfall is no exception to this irritating cliché. Gabi, despite wanting to return home, is constantly conflicted over leaving “the love of her life” Marcello. Marcello is probably one of the most boring male protagonists I’ve come across. He is macho, head-strong, and can fight well. That’s it. That is all there is to him! He loves his family, he doesn’t want to marry the woman he is betrothed to, he will most likely become heir of this estate, but that’s it! He shares no similarities with Gabi, anytime they actually converse they disagree, yet there is that undeniable attraction between them. Gosh how I hate that “sizzling air” crap. Gabi is equally as bad, boring, and bland if not worse than Marcello, so I suppose they make a rather perfect couple. Lia on the other hand, is a remarkable character. She was not swayed by the handsome hunks around her, she never took her eyes off the goal of getting home, and she sacrificed an immense amount of her childhood innocence to grow up quickly and acclimate herself with the horrors of war surrounding her. I almost wish this story was told from her perspective since it would truly be a refreshing change from every other YA novel out there. The sisterly love and affection between Gabi and Lia is not lost on the reader and in my opinion, what they sacrifice for each other should have been played up more than what Gabi sacrifices by having to contemplate leaving behind her “lover.”

Love. I think by now you already know that this book is a romance, the love between Gabi and Marcello can hardly be called love, and ultimately the love story took away from what could have been an amazing historic story. Waterfall truly had all the necessary ingredients and potential to become so much more, but it didn’t rise up to the occasion. In many ways, I believe that this should have been targeted towards a younger audience. The love story in this novel may have been better appreciated by readers who were not accustomed to well-developed and slow-to-build romances. Furthermore, the two heroines with their kick-ass fighting moves and skills may have also gained a larger fan base amongst younger children who were not expected a realistic overview of life in medieval Italy. To me, the only reason Gabi and Lia were so spectacular was because they had been trained before-hand (how lucky for them!) and there were no other females to compare them with. Being the only girls who ventured beyond their societal norms (technically not even their own societal norms) cast them in an adoring light when they truly did not deserve to be in one. I don’t think I need to say anything more about the despicably boring love story, although I am near positive I can predict the next two books in the series due to the utter unoriginality of this one. If you’re looking for something unique, Waterfall is not it.

Ultimately, Waterfall is not a book I can recommend to anyone but younger readers who are just beginning to venture into YA fiction. The time-travel twist is unrealistic, the historic setting is non-existent, the characters are un-likeable, and the romance is not truly love. The honor, sacrifice, and love that these reviewers describe to exist within this book do not actually exist. Just like the title, cover, and synopsis of this story, the quote too was utterly unreliable. Although this story ended on a cliffhanger ending, which I have found impossible to resist in every situation, I have to make an exception for this book. This is simply one series I will not be continuing…

This review was inspired by Inge’s review of Fallen which also used a quote to highlight multiple aspects of the story. You can read it here. :)

Thank you to Lisa Tawn Bergren for sending me a copy of her book through Goodreads First Reads!
Profile Image for Panda Incognito.
3,536 reviews60 followers
April 6, 2012
To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln: "For people who like this kind of thing, it's the kind of thing they'd like."

This book was not completely awful. Though I did not like it, I understand why others might. Some of the more believable plot elements are interesting, I just couldn't get past the bad writing, awful romance, stick-figure characters, and overall poor quality.

I'm not saying that no one should read it, I just wouldn't recommend it.

Here are some of my biggest complaints:

Many of the plot elements were just not believable. I like fantasy books, but ones like this require too much suspension of disbelief. I did not like this book enough to bother trying to suspend disbelief, so I just poked fun as I read.

The characters are not developed at all. The love interest is nothing more than a stick-figure character with a supposedly amazing physique. If you asked me to describe what he was like, I could only tell you what circumstances he was in, not what kind of person he was supposed to be.

And the main character? Gabi is a vapid, boy-crazy seventeen-year-old who makes me want to fall on my knees and thank God for making me abnormal. The book is written in first person, and part of what made it so painful to be inside her head was the realization that people really are like this. In many ways, she reminds me of the girls who were in my Sunday school class in 8th grade.

Her infatuation with the love interest is painful. I am a romantic at heart, and love WELL-DONE romance books. This does not fall into that category.

Because nothing happens to draw the two together in true friendship with the other, it appears that their mutual interest is only carnal. Neither acts out of appreciation for the other's true person, but out of how their appearance makes them feel. When the characters confess their passionate love for each other, it seems completely fake. You cannot base romance on mere physical attraction and expect me to take it seriously!

Over the course of the book, they simply do not interact in a way which would lend itself to a progressive increase in true affection for the other. It's completely "Ooooh, he's hot!", not "I appreciate the way he did such-and-such; he is a man of character." There is nothing inherently wrong with feeling attracted to somebody for their looks, but it has to go deeper than that before you can claim that you're in love with somebody.

This girl's thought life is truly pathetic, although it does improve somewhat over the course of the book. Apparently, immersion in historical Italy helps her to think less teen lingo, but on the rare occasion that she thinks something smart, she immediately goes "Whoa! What's happening to me!"

Here's an example from the book:

"...As I shut the heavy door, I heard conversation erupt around all three tables. It mattered not that they were rife with gossip about me- rife? who said a word like rife? What was happening to me?"

Well, I say words like rife, and I declare that this book is rife with idiocy.
Profile Image for Chantel.
137 reviews53 followers
February 15, 2017
Waterfall qoute photo PicsArt_08-19-11.41.30.jpg

Gabi and Lia Betarrini get to spend their summer vacation in beautful Italy...

Too bad it's on a hot and dusty archeological site, among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany.
Bored beyond belief, the Betarrini sisters go exploring on the site into an acient tomb. Where Gabi finds handprints inside.

So when Gabi and her sister lay their hands atop of the prints. Gabi finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy., in the mist of a fierce battle of knights of two opposing forces. Oh! plus her sister is totally missing!

Suddenly Gabi's summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.

Time travel! Knights and swords! Oh my!!

So it's safe to say I totally nerded out over this book! There were so many things I just loved about this book. I love Gabi's 's voice in this story, she was funny, exciting , and a straight up warrior princess! I think the fact that this story was told from her first person p.o.v. really made this book come alive. She definitely had a up close and interactive view of history! You feel the moments when she freaks out when she's thrown in to a all out Medieval battle royal.

But you also see the super cool moments when she gets to dress in the gorgeous gowns and be around uber cute lords and knights (ahem! Marcello and Luca). I love the code of chilavary from the men who up held it, was just touching, and one of the reasons I love this time period in the first place. I also love the camaraderie and trust between Marcello and Luca! With the two of them plus Gabriella they made the perfect team. And the romance between Marcello and Gabi is just beautiful! I love that Lisa. Didn't try to rush their relationship. I'm telling you, I almost fell in love with the dude myself!

Plus, the action sequences book are amazing! Lisa T. Bergrens descriptive writing makes you feel like your there yourself!

This book was definitely a high octane adventure that will leave you looking for the "buy" button on your favorite book website for the next one in the series. Girl... Let's just say after book one, you will want book two immediately!

I may have already bought the whole series after reading this book... :-) ( lol, I know. I realize I need help!)

I am so looking forward to what's in store for the rest of this series!

Quotes I love ♥
“Are you educated in the art of medicine?” Yeah, the art of Walgreens and Urgent Care. “A bit,” I hedged.”

(See more below) :-)
Profile Image for Haley S.
385 reviews
May 6, 2019
Many of my friends recommended this book to me but I still didn't read it. This book was on my want to read shelf for a long time. When I think of it now, it was on that shelf for too long. I finally decided to pick it up. Luckily I was in for a long car ride. To be exact a seven hour car ride. I couldn't put out down once I started it. Now I would say that this is one of my favorite books/series. I would recommend this to anyone! I loved every part of it. I honestly can't think of one part that I didn't love!

(This is a review of the WHOLE series)
This series is seriously worth reading. In the long list of books that I have read, this series is definitely one of my favorites! I honestly didn't know what else to write as my opening paragraph, so I just started it like that. I love this series!
Waterfall, Cascade, Torrent, Bourne, Tributary, and Deluge are the books in the series. It may seem like a huge series, but they are worth it. Bourne and Tributary are the novellas of the series, but they are a must read.
I honestly don't know what to say about this series. It is just so good. No, I am not speechless over the book. I have gotten over that because I have read this series more than once!
I think I would have to say that my favorite book in the series is--all of them. Honestly, I cannot decide which one I like the best. Each story was different and filled with adventure and romance, two genres that I love!
I fell in love with the characters right away. Each of them was their own person. Lisa did a wonderful job making the story and characters come to life. I couldn't put the book down. I just kept on reading and reading. I was super sad when the series ended, even though it ended very well!
But, I am super excited to read the first book in Lisa's new series, River of Time: California. Three Wishes appears as if it will be like the River of Time series, just set in California, not Italy. Either way, I am really excited to read it!
I have been waiting to post my final star rating until the end of the review, and now I finally can! I would give this book 5 bright stars for the whole entire series!!!

Title: River of Time series
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Author's Website: http://lisatawnbergren.com/

This review was written with my own opinions and words.
Profile Image for Heather.
319 reviews289 followers
Shelved as 'dnf'
February 6, 2017
DNF at 20%

I ... JUST ... CAN'T

What I liked

wait ......
ok there's .....
1. This book was hilarious

What I did not like

1. This book was not supposed to be hilarious
2. Insta-love
3. Cheesy writing
4. Annoying narrator
5. Constant swooning over boys

But what I hate the most is that the IDEA of this story was a good one and this could have been a good book ...

Alas... "could have been" does not a good story make

I wanted to transport myself into this book .... not because I was enchanted by the world within, but because I wanted to punch the narrator in the FACE!! She was so g* d* irritating!

I was literally not 5% into this book before the eye rolling began!

this was just NOT for me
Profile Image for Celestria.
240 reviews217 followers
January 12, 2023
4 ½ stars 🌟

Did I just read this entire 369 page book in one sitting? Why yes, yes I did. A girl going back in time to medieval Italy and meeting a handsome knight? Please and thank you.

I've decided to deduct half a star because Marcello is engaged to someone already when him and Gabi start falling for each other. Gabi tried to resist falling for him at first, and I feel like it was was mostly Marcello that kept seeking her out and making it hard for her to ignore her feelings. But really in the end both of them were at fault for their actions when he was engaged to marry someone else.

I would also like to mention there's violence, blood, and torture for anyone who wishes to avoid that sort of thing.
Profile Image for Noelle.
373 reviews247 followers
July 1, 2011
I found some of the circumstances a liiiiiittle convenient (oh, you're sent back in time to medieval Italy? Good thing your pops taught you ancient Italian and sword fighting!) and would have liked a bit more of a culture shock (no plumbing! females with opinions!) but nevertheless thought this had likeable characters and an entertaining story. Think sweeping romantic adventure. Also: Italian boys. Always relevant to my interests.

Profile Image for Sheena.
67 reviews1 follower
May 7, 2016

Warning: very long review with spoilers.

I do not understand how this book has such high reviews. People truly do have different tastes.

This book is about two teens -17 yr. Gabi and 15 yr. old Lia - who spend their summer vacations hiking along excavation sites with their archaeologist parents. One day on a sudden bout of boredom, they decide to explore their mother's newly found archaeological tombsite. They end up time-travelling to an ancient life of medieval Italy where they are caught up in a feud between two warring sides.

Told from the perspective of Gabi - the older sister- I found the book unrealistic and quite frankly, foolish.
You see when she does the whole time traveling business, she comes out of the tombsite and sees a full-out battle in front of her. Instead of being traumatized or shocked mentally by what she's seen, she instead locks eyes on a handsome, no scratch that, HOT knight.
Here is the opening introduction of our love interest as told by Gabi herself:

"I wanted to look away from him, but I couldn't. He was the most handsome guy I'd ever seen, with a model's physique and a face to match. Big, chocolate-brown eyes, square jaw, aristocratic nose, pronounced cheekbones...a serious hottie.

I've never encountered such Italian hotness outside of Roma."

I regard myself a varying mix of a tomboy and a girly-girl but let me tell you if I was to suddenly time-travel and see a battle in front of me, I will not pay attention to a handsome knight. I will see blood, guts and soldiers screaming in pain. I would want to get away from this confusion as fast as possible, not check out some armored man!

I hate this type of language. It seems silly but I can't stand talk like this. I absolutely loathe it when adult authors try to imitate the way younger people speak by the means of adding slang words. I'm quite young and let me tell you I hate it so much when I read sentences like this. I read books to escape from this world; I want to read things that will feed my mind and enhance my vocabulary, not dumb it down!
There are words like "Whatever, totally, loser, hottie, hotness, hot". I can't stand it! Speak proper English damnit!
Then there's the fact that she's immediately fluent in old Italian all because she read Dante's Divine Comedy in it's old italian dialect. What??? I've read about 5 Spanish books and studied the language (all to communicate properly with my bf's parents) and I still need to inquire a dictionary from time to time.
I liked that she was brave and she never let boring love interest "Marcello" tell her what to do but sometimes she could just be a bit too much! She did things that would have appalled the men in those times; realistically she would have been looked down upon but instead she was praised! Don't get me wrong, I'm all for strong female warriors but you can't reward them so heartily for disobeying society's norms at those times. I mean, if it was such a big deal and men were truly against a woman riding a horse bareback, why would you praise it? I'm not saying she needed to be punished, but some type of acknowledgement that this wasn't right for that time would have been realistic. I want to be told it isn't right and I want our heroine to rebel and say, "No! I do what I want!" not "Oh, fair Gabriella, we are taken by you."

Oh and the love story, goodness... It wasn't love! There was no other reason for them to like each other. Marcello was clearly bored and trying to rebel, while Gabi was naive and taken by his "hotness".
It's lust. Not some epic romance that the author made it try to be.

Everyone has different tastes so please don't let my rant ruin your chances of enjoying this book. You might like it considering so many people did. But as for me I' going to say no thanks to the second book. This was too silly.
Profile Image for Oceana GottaReadEmAll.
668 reviews953 followers
May 5, 2023
I liked it!
This is a Christian portal fantasy book that follows two sisters named Gabi and Lia who are in Italy helping their mom at an archeological dig. Gabi accidently gets sucked into the past while they are exploring tombs. We follow Gabi trying to navigate medieval Italy, while also hoping to find her sister somewhere in this time. She of course meets some chivalrous young men who can't help but admire her.

I listened to the audiobook at first, just to get into the story. Once the plot picked up, I read it physically and enjoyed it.

What I liked:
-Gabi's skills in adapting to this time period were fun to read!
-Gabi's attitude was a bit snarky, but it totally worked, and it made me laugh.
-The adventure story of trying to survive in a new place while also searching for someone was entertaining
-The chivalry. I mean, come on. Yes, please.
-The faith was well done.
-Lia for being realistic.
-The audiobook narrator was fantastic!

What didn't work for me:
-Dare I say, the romance? Yes. Marcello, you don't know her. She doesn't really know you. When did you actually talk to get to know anything about each other? Felt insta-love to me and I didn't like it.
-That's pretty much it lol.

I definitely recommend this book and I will for sure read the rest of the series.
It is totally clean, although physical attraction is mentioned a number of times.
There are war scenes that turn violent and some of the killing is described in a mild way.
Profile Image for ✨ Gramy ✨ .
1,382 reviews
January 30, 2019

Waterfall is the first book in the River of Time series. It is a clean piece of entertainment aspiring to capture the attention of young adult readers, but also exacting enough interest to reach readers of all ages. It is classified as a Christian contemporary romance (advocating abstaining from sex until after marriage), and time travel adventure.

This adventure opens with Gabi and Lia being disappointed with the idea of having to spend their summer vacation in Italy with their archeologist mother in some old Italian ruins. Then they accidentally slipped through a portal, from the 21st century back to the 14th-century medieval, inside one of the archeological excavations. Here they stepped into the biggest adventure of their young lives.

Gabi firmly believes that she arrived in the medieval time period first. However, both sisters actually traveled through at the same time, but they did not arrive together in the same place. Gabi is rescued by a hot looking guy and secured safely in his castle and they later discover the whereabouts of her sister, Lia, who is being held captive by the enemy.

Prepare for action-packed adventure with daring sword battles, heinous trickery, political drama, heart-thumping romance, and hilarious teen hijinks all within the terrains of ancient Italy. These 21st-century gals quickly acclimate to their new environment by adapting skills they had acquired in their own time. Gabi and Lia were full of courage, instestinal fortitude, and blessed with beauty as well. All the characters were realistic and the secondary characters were full of their own warmth, personality, and depth.

The author researched the time and area very well, allowing her to build a rich and intricately designed, historical world. This historical fiction was very Interesting to me and compelling enough to read in one day! I failed to ascertain where the title came from. The conclusion also left me with other unanswered questions that may perhaps be revealed in the next book of the series. The book concludes when the girls discover how to activate the time-traveling portal and returned to their own time.

Waterfall was an exciting adventure full of history, humor, and hormones. You don't have to be a teenager to enjoy this time traveling adventure story. I highly recommend it!
Profile Image for TL .
1,876 reviews53 followers
April 18, 2018
April buddyread with my good friend Melissa **Just Really Loves Musicals**😊

2.5 overall

Not bad... the writing at times felt like a first attempt at fanfiction with more telling than showing.

The characters in the "past" were interesting but Gabriella got on my nerves more often than not. She got a little better later on but I never fully connected to her.

Despite my issues with it, it had some good parts and was compulsively readable at times but overall it was just "okay" for me.

Would probably make an interesting mini series though.
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,237 followers
August 16, 2011
So I was skeptical when someone told me I would like Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren. It just didn't seem to be my thing. I mean, the premise was good enough but honestly, it didn't seem to be something I would be interested in. However, since Amazon was offering a free copy, I decided to read it anyway. I mean, I should only make up my mind about its worthiness once I had sampled a few chapters for myself, right? So, no one was more surprised than I when I tore through the book and finished it in about two hours. It's a well crafted novel. Well thought out. The author preempts the readers more discerning questions and answers them.

I found the characters believable and engaging. Gabi's experiences back in time are relatable and it is quite easy to empathize with her. Speaking of characters, I think Gabi might have been the main reason I finished the novel. It is very refreshing to come upon a heroine who, while in the throes of a painful love, does not lose her mind (and her sanity) over her beloved. She remains logical which doesn't sound very romantic, but let me reassure you, it is a darn sight more palatable than seeing an otherwise intelligent woman/girl turn into a spineless maiden after the first brush with love. So while Gabi's actions might seem pragmatic and perhaps just a smidgeon cool, they do invite the reader to accord more substance to her character than one normally would.

I also found all the instances of girl power to be absolutely heady stuff. This is pure entertainment and I am sure Ms. Bergren is taking artistic license with the reactions to girl heroines but I totally loved it. The love interest. Hmm. I don't have much to say about him. Honestly, it's Gabi who's the stronger character here and it is her relationship with her sister that resounds the most. So while the knight was seemingly delicious, he didn't have as much an impact on me as he had on Gabi.

The plot is fast paced and the narrative even and the culmination, while not a cliffhanger, does leave a teasing thread that the readers can grasp and use to launch themselves into the second book in what seems to be a series. Honestly, give this a try. It's entertaining, it has girls kicking ass and winning the fair knight and well, it's just delicious stuff. I recommend it.
Profile Image for Melanie.
2,026 reviews558 followers
April 26, 2018
'Waterfall' is the first book in 'The River of Time Series' and the first book that I've read by Lisa T. Bergren.

Since Gabi and Lia spend every summer in Italy, they find themselves bored at yet another archaeologist site. But when Gabi and her sister place their hand on a set of hand prints in an ancient tomb Gabi finds herself transported to another time...Literally! Fourteenth-century Italy during a battle between knights.

Gabi finds herself having to adjust to this strange and dated way of living. Women always wearing dresses; having to eat with a knife; no plumbing, machinery, electricity, or cell phones! And worst of all, she doesn't know where her sister, Lia, is - in this century, her own time, or somewhere in between.

I enjoyed 'Waterfall' much more than I had anticipated. It was filled with suspense and many times I had to force myself to stop reading! I felt like I was reading Gabi's thoughts, because every page was either what she was thinking or what was happening around her.

'Waterfall' was a quick and easy read. I found myself often reading so fast and skipping down pages, that I had to back up and reread the entire page! It was that good!

I liked many of the characters in 'Waterfall' especially Gabi, Lia, Marcello, and Luca. There were some I didn't like, as can be expected, because they were evil and cruel.

The way 'Waterfall' ended has made me really want to read 'Cascade'! I hope that I will be able to read that book soon! I recommend 'Waterfall' if you enjoy reading a good romance/suspenseful book with a fantasy twist!

*Many thanks to David C. Cook for providing me a complimentary copy for my review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I've expressed are my own.*
Profile Image for Grace Hitchcock.
Author 18 books825 followers
July 26, 2023
I am already a fan of Lisa T. Bergren’s writing, so when I picked up Waterfall, I knew it was going to be a great read, but WOW. I cannot believe that I haven’t read this series sooner!!! I have been gushing about this series to anyone who causally mentions they need a new book to read. Poor things don’t know what hit them when they ask an avid reader and writer a question like that haha!

Do you love reads taking place in Italy? Enjoy a swashbuckling romance? Knights and fair maidens (who can look after themselves for the most part)? And enjoy reading long into the night when your eyes are burning in your head but you must finish this chapter?? Nay! The entire book??

I read the first three books in this YA series last summer from the library and knew I HAD TO HAVE THEM ALL. And for Christmas, my amazing husband bought me the series and they are AUTOGRAPHED by the author!!! This is easily the best YA book I have read in 2019 (which is the year I read Harry Potter for the first time).
Profile Image for Colleen Houck.
Author 40 books8,982 followers
January 3, 2012
If you are in the mood for some knight in shining armor meets YA then this is the series for you. Three words to describe it...smart, surprising, & sweet.

Lisa Bergren participated in the YA scavenger hunt with me and I was so excited to get her book. Looking forward to picking up the next one! My favorite part is when the two sisters picked up weapons and started fighting alongside the men. Love to see a gutsy heroine!
Profile Image for Brodie.
230 reviews223 followers
March 17, 2011
You know those books that make you lose all sense of reality and you literally fall into the pages? And you feel such a huge disappointment when the story comes to an end because you don't want to resurface? Waterfall is exactly that. It is such a thoroughly engaging read! I loved everything about it - the 14th century setting, the characters, the plot, even the language. I caught myself slipping their dialect into my own thoughts so many times.

Sisters, Gabriella and Lia Betarrini find themselves being transported through time after finding handprints that match their exact own in an ancient tomb. But when Gabi jerks her hand away, Lia is nowhere to be find and Gabriella finds herself in the middle of a deadly battle between knights. Dressed in skinny jeans and tank top emerging from a tomb directly into a bloody warfare between opposing sides - not exactly ideal. Thanks to her archaeological parents, Gabriella is well versed in the Italian language, fencing and has some knowledge on their history. Which are all incredibly vital to her from the moment she is found. Thankfully it's the good guys who offer her shelter and safety, but Gabi's journey is only just beginning.

Desperate and determined to find her sister, Gabriella has to try fit into the Forelli's way of life. And pretend she's been living that way for the past 17 years rather than in a world of internet, hair conditioner and girls showing skin. While she does manage quite an admirable attempt at fitting in, it doesn't take long for her to become quite an oddity among the others. A girl who likes to wear down her hair, hates riding side-saddle, can wield a sword and isn't afraid to scale down a brick wall in order to escape into the night and find her sister. Not exactly your standard fare for 14th century prim and proper ladies. So it's not surprising that the men have taken an interest in her. Particularly Marcello Forelli - m'lord, what wonderful men we have in this era! Yes, I say men. These knights are FAR from boys.

The romance that develops between Marcello and Gabriella is fantastic and very believable. He is betrothed to another woman and the marriage will form a vital alliance. It may prove dangerous if something comes between their union.... say a time-travelling girl who just happens to be taken by the hottie just as much as he is her. Despite the consequences a relationship between them would cause, you're totally cheering them on to come together!

I also need to mention Luca, Marcello's cousin and most trusted - he is such a charmer! He's flirtatious, friendly, badass with a sword (and might I add, his fists) and such a genuine kind of guy. They all were - they're men who burst into battle with the intention of defeating the opposing side no matter what it takes, because really, it's either fight or die. But on the flip side of their manly badassness, they're such genuine, honest, loyal, sweet gentleman. A girl can't help but grow smitten with these men. Marcello, Luca and Fortino are more than welcome to develop their own love square with me in the centre. Everything about them and the book makes you want to do some time-travelling of your own.

Throughout the book you're swept away in the politics, the mystery, the romance and the complicated drama's and dangerous everyday living. Knights brandishing swords, arrows, daggers and axes - not something you want to get mixed up in! But oh, does Gabriella get mixed up in it. She is such an awesome heroine.That girl knows how to kick some serious butt, but at the same time she is just as vulnerable as she is headstrong. She's so easy to relate to - determined, stubborn, not to mention insanely worried about her sister, but just like everyone, the girl makes mistakes and stupid decisions in the heat of the moment. Which result in her ending up in some sticky situations.

Waterfall offers so much - such a rich, fascinating landscape with characters who breath life from the very pages. Lisa balances the historical and modern vibe perfectly - the whole world around Gabriella is hundreds of years in the past, yet she adds her own modern touch. This book did not fill my appetite. Instead, it made me hungrier and left my imagination gnawing for more the minute I turned the last page! I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel and dive head-first back into this world, I'm so intrigued to see what happens next for these characters!

I've no doubt this is going to become one of my favourite series! Bring on Cascade :D
Profile Image for Ronie.
Author 68 books1,092 followers
October 31, 2010
As a mother of two teens and two preteens, I found Waterfall to be a fun but clean foray into the young adult genre for Lisa T. Bergren, who handled it with a grace and style all her own. Gabriella Betarrini yanked me out of my time and into a harrowing adventure as she battled knights—and love! I heartily enjoyed Gabriella’s travel back into time,and I heartily look forward to Cascade, River of Time #2!
Profile Image for Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls).
1,640 reviews3,632 followers
August 23, 2018
**Note to younger readers: This book nor this series is recommend for girls under the age of 14. This review has Sexual hints and mentions from this book. So in other words, don’t read this review, due to it not being clean.**

About this book:

“Gabriella has never spent a summer in Italy like this one.
Remaining means giving up all she’s known and loved … and leaving means forfeiting what she’s come to know—and love itself.
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?”

Series: Book #1 (of five) in the “River of Time” series. {I have read this book twice, but have never reviewed it on here.}

Spiritual Content- The story of Daniel gets mentioned; Many Prayers; Talks about B.C., being blessed, the Lord’s intention & God; Thoughts about heaven & going to it; Many “Go with God”s, a couple “Saints in heaven”, “God be with you”, and a “God help me” are all said; Gabi says that her family went to church on Christmas and on Easter, but that her parents “treated it as more of a nod to culture and tradition than any personal profession of faith” but her grandmother “had been big into the religion thing.”;
*Note: Thoughts about Hades, Hell, and a place being “hotter than Hades”.

Negative Content- Minor cussing including: a ‘blasted’, a ‘dang’, a ‘dumb’, a ‘flippin’’, a ‘freakin’’, a ‘sheesh’, a ‘shut up’, a ‘witch’, two forms of ‘heck’, two ‘oh my gosh’s, six ‘idiot’s, seven ‘stupid’s; Sarcasm; Gabi calls items cursed eleven times; Lots and lots of battle scenes with lots of blood (nearly all are detailed); Staking, shooting, stabbing, burring, killing and torture are all major parts of this story and up to very-detailed in describing the actions; Slitting throats are mentioned (not-detailed); Dead & dying people; Poison & Morphine; Killing an animal is mentioned (not-detailed); Lots of drinking wine; Acting drunk.

Sexual Content- an almost kiss, many not-detailed kisses, many barley-above-not-detailed kisses, two semi-detailed kisses and a detailed kiss; Gabi wants Marcello to kiss her; Flirtatious smiles; a ‘randy’, a ‘trampy’, a ‘wench’, five forms of ‘hot’; Gabi gets called a ‘bird’ but shrugs it off as a 14th century version of ‘chick’; Men scan women’s bodies (it happens four times to Gabi); A mention of giving a men fodder for his dreams about a girl; two hints about a woman “eager to lift her skirts” (said about Gabi “So that’s what they thought…? That I was into sleeping around or something? Oh brother."); A man says he has “plenty of women” to warm his bed; A talk about finding a husband and being of an age to start a family; When Gabi wears her hair down there’s a mention of “hair being as a maid’s on her wedding day”; A man pins Gabi down and starts untying his trousers (nothing happens); A jerk says that he’ll maybe put a girl “up in the corner of the courtyard. Give the men something fine to play with and admire.”; Love falling in love, & the emotions;
*Notes: a mention of being ‘all that’; Gabi says she has a “curvaceous figure”; a mention of peeing her pants.

-Gabriella Betarrini, age 17
1st person P.O.V. of Gabi
Time Travel to the 14th century (Medieval)
369 pages

Pre Teens- One Star
New Teens- One Star
Early High School Teens- Two Stars
Older High School Teens- Three Stars
My personal Rating- Two Stars
Like I said in the Series part, this is my second time reading this book. (And to tell you the truth, this newer review has been waiting to be typed up over a year…ooops!) Lisa T. Bergren is a great author, she can keep to on the edge of your seat while reading this book; but the problem is that as this series goes on it gets very, very sexual in marital acts. I can't in good conscience recommend the series because of the Sexual Content in the first book all the way to the fifth one. Needless to say, I’m very iffy on her books. :/

Link to review:

*BFCG may (Read the review to see) recommend this book by this author. It does not mean I recommend all the books by this author.
Profile Image for Coralie.
561 reviews94 followers
June 3, 2021
I keep going back and forth between four and five stars. I think the only reason I've not settled for five is for purely shallow reasons, but I feel the four, so I'm going with it.

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?

Additionally, I know the MC was a 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 mid teens, and neither of us speak that way. I know there are masses of girls out there that do, so it wasn't wholly 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. 

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 also 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 drew me in.

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!

Profile Image for Maria.
221 reviews
November 17, 2022
Oohh this was so good!!!
I normally don't really like time-travel novels because it's so confusing and complicated, but I absolutely loved this one!
The action, the adventure, the romance was all so exciting, and I fell in love with all the characters.
The plot was super exciting, with plenty of action to keep me on the edge of my seat the whole time. Battles, invasions and extractions filled the pages, but there was also plenty of swoony romance moments to balance it out. I loved the chemistry between Gabi and Marcello as well. It was super real and believable (although a bit rushed at times).
The characters were all amazing (except for the bad ones of course)! All the secondary characters were well-developed and interesting, and I can't wait to see what happens between Lia and Lucas.
Ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, so onto book 2!
Profile Image for Olivia.
110 reviews16 followers
February 8, 2017

So, first off, I am so so so glad I finally picked this book up! Omiword, it was so good! I loved the plot. It was so original and cool! The characters were awesome, Gabriella was a little annoying at some parts, but she was transported to a different time sooo...it's kind of understandable. aksrnjt, I need Cascade now, like, his minute.

final verdict: clean (some kissing and a man was going to rape the main character(he doesn't))
Profile Image for Julie Carpenter.
1,439 reviews176 followers
November 1, 2017
Yeah, all those reviews I read about how much they absolutely loved this book (and series) were right! I LOVED IT!!!!! I couldn't put it down! Every available minute you better believe it that this book was in my hands with the pages being flipped quickly. Hee Hee!

I bought the first three books over the summer for my teenagers because of all the good things said about this series. They were really excited and then we got home and they sat on the shelf....and sat on the shelf...and sat on the shelf..............

I finally felt bad for these beautiful books just sitting there and not getting any attention that I couldn't take it anymore! I picked it up and open the pages. Let's just say that me and the book are good friends now! And good news...my teenagers are really excited to read them now. Ha! Sometimes it just takes mom loving and devouring the book to catch their interest. Then again other times they refuse to touch a book because mom suggested it. Teenagers. Pssshhhh!!! That's ok, I'LL ENJOY the books and they will just miss out until they realize how awesome their mom's taste in books is. Hee Hee!

Favorite things...

Gabriella and Evangelia-I loved their relationship! Two sisters united by their almost dislike of being dragged everywhere by their parents for archaeological digs. They have such a great bond and when they are transported in time and separated I love the extent that Gabi goes to to find her sister. Even extreme lengths that puts her in danger. Then watching them reunited and how they interact/react to their situation and each other's needs. Love them!

Marcello- swoony and definitely a great hero for the story. Not for me of course, he is a little young but for YAs reading this series and seeing a great role model who is a gentleman in all the sense of the word. Perfection! Was very happy with all the scenes with him in it and especially the scenes between him and Gabi! *grin*

The setting- Loved it! Lots of great historical facts and info thrown in to add some learning in with the great fun of a fiction YA time travel.

Luca- Can we just say that I can't wait for his story to be more developed! Fun, fun, fun character!!! Chivalrous and perfect!

Lady Rossi- still not the biggest fan but I actually do really like her character. Didn't think so at first but yeah, I do. Lady Rossi you might disappoint me later but for now, we can be acquaintance friends.

Lord Vannucci---nope, never mind, cross him off my list!!!!!!

Fortino- Brother to Marcello and very sickly. I absolutely loved the conversations between him and Gabi. The poet conversations. Loved them and I think there was a hint in one conversation about the time travel.... guess I'll see when I read further into the series. I loved watching Gabi help him.

The battles- or mini little fights if not full on battles. So fun to read about these knights and sword fights and bows and arrows. A few tournament battles for fun too. I've got a soft spot for knights. <3 And I enjoy awesome heroes/heroines who can do some awesome sword fights. LOL!

EVERYTHING!- ok, is that a little cliche? Maybe, but I do! I love everything about this first book. Can't wait to read further in the series and learn more about these characters and the peril heading their way...and maybe a little romance heading their way too. *happy sigh*

Content: Clean. Moments of peril, nothing graphic. Swoony kisses. Medieval medicine. Sword fights and injuries.

My own personal copy.

Happy Reading!!!
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