“Waterfall” is Lisa Tawn Bergen’s first foray into the world of young adult fiction and the first in a three part series that is scheduled to be released throughout 2011. From the author’s website, “a teen time travel series in which two girls go from modern times to medieval Italy. Adventure, romance, suspense, and a hefty dose of conflict will hopefully make this series page-turners for young women…that’s my goal, anyway! I conceptualized the series after reading the Twilight series with my teen."
Overall, I would have to say that Ms. Bergen succeeded in her goal. It’s a book full of romance, adventure, and a dash of mystery. “Waterfall” was a page-turner that kept me engaged right from the action-packed beginning. The story follows a strong-willed young woman named Gabi and her sister, Lia, who mysteriously ends up centuries in the past, in the middle of a turf war in 14th century Italy. Ms. Bergen is a Christian fiction writer and while there are undertones of religion, they are plot appropriate. It’s completely natural and in character, which I really appreciate. I tend to shy away from Christian fantasy just because the religious aspect becomes more important and the story/characters suffer for it. Ms. Bergen didn’t let this happen.
I felt like I really got to know Gabi and her sister. Gabi is a delightful heroine – strong-willed, mature and ready to take anything life throws at her. She’s human though and we see her vulnerable side. It was refreshing to see such a real character in the midst of this time traveling young adult novel. She faces some big issues head on and becomes someone I know I’d want to be friends with! The romance is delightfully angsty (but clean!) and the love interest, the nobleman Marcello Forelli, is an interesting character. As a quiet, brooding, and extremely good looking man, he appears pretty stereotypical, but as the characters get to know each other better, the reader gets to see the depth to Marcello’s character. And seriously, who doesn’t love a book filled with Italian hotties? Ms. Bergen’s writing style is clean and simple. It’s not full of artistic flourishes, but it’s solid. The prose are easy to read and the storyline flows well.
I think this book should come with a warning that it may make you crave a good plate of gnocchi and some red wine. If you are looking for a fun romp into history with a strong female character and some drool-worthy guys, then this is the book for you. Ms. Bergen ended the book with a bit of a cliffhanger so I’m anxious to see how the storyline continues to develop in books 2 and 3. Ahh! Why isn’t it June already?!
The publisher, David C. Cook, provided me with an ARC of this book. Waterfall was released today (February 1st, 2011). You can get a sneak peek at the author's website.
This review is also being published in Book/Mark, a quarterly small press review. You can subscribe to Book/Mark by emailing or by mailing $12 ($15 for institutions or $3.50 for a single issue) to Book/Mark, PO Box 516, Miller Place, NY 11764.