Review: Waterfall

Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren is the first book in The River of Time Series and is the author’s young adult debut. It was released on February 1, 2011 in the U.S and is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback, eBook and audio formats.

Published by David C. Cook, the print edition is 384 pages.

Waterfall is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at

Goodreads description:

Lisa Tawn Bergren’s new YA series, River of Time, is romantic, historical fiction in which the plucky heroine doesn’t have to fear a vampire’s bite but must still fight for her life.

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

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


Falling in love is never without complication. But falling in love with someone from a different century, a different lifetime, than yours is the ultimate test. And it is even more of a challenge when that someone is promised to another.

Gabriella Betarrini was never that excited about being dragged to Italy every summer while her parents sought to discover ancient treasures on their archaeological expeditions. And after her father’s death, being back in Italy, with her mother and sister, while her mom practically ignored them, was even worse.

It was not as if she was a part of anything remotely interesting. She and her sister were really nothing more than gofers and laborers. But when she and Lia make a discovery inside one of the tombs, her summer takes an unexpected turn.

Being transported nearly seven hundred years into the past, separated from her sister, and with no idea how to return home, Gabi must quickly adapt to her surroundings or risk being captured or even killed for being seen as a spy or witch.

But, there are worse places or times where she could have ended up instead of Italy in the fourteenth century. And being taken to a castle and placed under the protection of Sir Marcello Forelli, the handsome future lord of Castello Forelli, was not exactly torture.

All she needed was to find her sister and figure out how to get back to where she belonged. And all that was standing in her way were a few minor obstacles – sword-wielding enemies guarding the passage back, traitors looking to destroy the Forelli’s and anyone who sided with them, and Marcello and his knights who were hell-bent on ensuring her safety.

And one major one – walking away from the only boy she’s ever loved and leaving her heart in the past.


Waterfall is an exciting adventure and enchanting love story that is completely irresistible. It takes readers on a journey back in time to a world where honor and nobility go hand-in-hand with cruelty and violence. A time when men were the protectors, where danger lurked around every corner and friends could just as easily turn out to be enemies.

It is to this world that Gabriella Betarrini is transported one afternoon. Coming from modern day Italy to a past that is nearly seven centuries old isn’t the shock she thinks it should be. Somehow this time, this place, feel so familiar to her.

And when she meets Marcello, the younger son of Lord Forelli, she is immediately drawn to him. And he to her. But as future lord of the Castello, his responsibilities are to his family and to his people. And his commitment to the Lady Rossi cannot be broken. Even if it means breaking Gabriella’s heart.

Author Lisa Bergren has written an absolutely captivating, magical story of time travel, adventure and romance. Waterfall will keep readers on the edge of their seats wondering what will happen next. The story is action-packed, filled with sword battles and constant threats to Gabriella and the Forelli’s, and the tension between Gabi and Marcello is nail-biting.

Gabriella is smart, brave, loyal and ever so resourceful. She is quick to jump in to defend those she cares about and does not give up when things are difficult or scary. It is her bravery that earns her the respect of the people during a time when it could have just as easily earned their mistrust. And it is her strength and compassion that attract Marcello to her.

Waterfall is absolute must-read for readers who enjoy a love story that will also take them on an adventure to another time and place.

Reviewer gives this book [rating=5]

On a personal note:

This book was so totally enchanting. I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what to expect having read the description. I knew there would be time travel and knights and battles, which are always awesome, but I thought perhaps it would read more like one of those middle grade time travel stories, which are sweet and lovable, but are more about the adventure than the characters.

Not even close. This story didn’t neglect the characters at all. They actually made this story amazing.

I adored Gabriella and loved how easily she fit into fourteenth century Italy but still retained who she was, enough so to catch the eye of Marcello Forelli. And that although she adapted with ease to the manner of speaking, she was still put out by the lack of modern conveniences like hair conditioner and indoor plumbing.

And I don’t think any girl could read this story without falling for Marcello Forelli. Handsome, brave, honorable, noble and confident, but daring enough to be captivated by the head-strong Gabriella. And not only was he taken with her, he was amazed by her. How hot is that?

Luca was a total charmer. I always love stories that include a character like him. He’s the guy that is always there to help, breaks up the tension, adds humor and is one you hope finds his own love story. And Lady Rossi was the perfect two-faced and untrustworthy competition for Marcello’s affections.

Stories about time travel can often come across as somewhat unbelievable, but I was completely taken back in time with Gabi, caught up in the both the beauty of the time and its cruelty. Not for a moment was I pulled out of the story or the era by something that just didn’t ring true.

Although I fell in love with fourteenth century Italy, with its knights and castles, my favorite part was the love story. It gave me butterflies. Gabriella and Marcello’s love may have been pure and chaste, but it was so intense.

I love when an author can build that tension into the story with just a look or a touch. Every single time Gabi and Marcello exchanged glances, or when he moved that lock of hair behind her ear, I think I swooned a bit.

I got so caught up in the story that I read it in one sitting. And was so glad that I had the second book on hand, or that ending might have completely devastated me. It wasn’t a completely evil cliffhanger, as a few things were answered, but I think I would have died a little bit not knowing what happened next if I had to wait four months for Cascade.

How I “discovered” this book:

Waterfall is a “Just Discovered” just got a chance to read book.

I discovered this book back in January when checking out the 2011 Debut Author Challenge list. The story appealed to me as it involved time travel, knights, sword battles and a love story. And as I hadn’t read too many historical fiction novels, but wanted to, this one seemed a perfect fit.

Of course, as it always seems to happen these days, time passed, deadlines loomed, and I did not get a chance to read this right away. But I was recently contacted by the author to see if I’d be interested in reviewing the second book in the series, Cascade. And of course I jumped at the chance, as I already had Cascade on my list of pre-orders and planned to read both books this summer.

So, I moved Waterfall to the top of the pile in order to get caught up on the story prior to reading Cascade.


Book trailer for Waterfall:

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