Author: Lisa T. Bergren
Published: 2011 by David C. Cook
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. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archeological 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.
And thus does she come 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?
"We paused on our hike, panting and wiping our upper lips as our guide – the old Italian farmer who owned this land – chopped down a small sapling, clearing the overgrown trail."
I was hesitant to read this series. I’m not going to lie, it was mostly based on the cheesy covers. But after seeing some very good reviews (BookChewer’s was extremely positive) I gave it a shot.
I’M REALLY GLAD I DID.
Gabi and her younger sister Lia have spent their lives being dragged around to their parents’ new evacuation sites. There’s only so much of that a girl can take. So at one particular dig site, the girls go inside a tomb and find a strange painting that can take them back in time. When Gabi comes to, she doesn’t see Lia, and she emerges from the tomb straight into a battle. Luckily, the “good guys” rescue her. As she tries to create a story that explains her appearance, she desperately tries to find her sister. This brings her into direct confrontation with the “bad guys.” Also, she tries to ignore the way she feels about Marcello, a handsome … engaged … knight.
I love all time-travel stories, despite their typical explanations which never fully make sense. In this one, they have that one “portal” to get back, and it’s all about how long you leave your hands on the painted handprints. Gabi needs Lia if she wants to go back, because there are two sets of handprints, perfectly fitting their hands.
One thing I really like about time-travel stories is the adjustment the character has to go through. Usually it’s pretty funny. Gabi knew a lot about other time periods, but she had to really stretch her mind to remember the things she’d picked up from her parents’ work. She adjusted remarkably well, but still faced some issues, even near the end. Mostly it was hard work keeping her story straight.
Gabi was a very admirable protagonist. She had the independence and boldness of a modern day woman, and she didn’t try TOO hard to change that. She knew who she was and she knew what she wanted (her sister) and she wasn’t going to let anyone tell her she couldn’t help. Naturally this meant quite a few standoffs with Marcello, who wanted her to be safe at all costs. While she appreciated his concern, she wasn’t helpless and desperately wanted to be out finding her sister.
Marcello was hot. And strong, brave, smart, chivalrous, and respectful. I actually really liked him for more than just the way he complemented the main character. He’s a really decent guy. But there’s another guy I love even more than Marcello. His right-hand man, Luca. Maybe I’m just like Lia and I love the “funny guys,” but Luca was seriously awesome. He had all the great qualities of Marcello, but instead of being “tall, dark, and handsome,” he was blond, funny, and more relaxed.
Gabi’s main problem to get over is her indecision about staying in the past, or going back to her real time. To me, it was a no-brainer. STAY WITH YOUR HOT, TRUE LOVE. But I guess college and computers have sway. Nah, by the end of this book she still hasn’t made her decision. That’ll come in the third and last book, Torrent, which I have yet to read.
Anywho, I recommend this book for the adventure, action, humor, and romance involved. Is it predictable? Yeah, kinda. Is it a bit on the cheesy side? Um, yes.
But it’s totally worth getting past all of that and jumping into the story.
(side note: it gets EVEN better in the second book, you’ll have to wait for my official review of Cascade to know all the details, but trust me, it’s still great.)
Content Warning: Nothing.