Days like today, I always think back to what Harry says in Robin McKinley's The Blue Sword, "I come from a cold country, where the witches live in cool, green forests." Seriously, I can't take this heat. And in addition to myself, now I need to worry that my insulin might combust or just generally become useless? It is too much! I should move back to Canada (or just south of there).
Luckily, there is air conditioning. And good books. Like the one I just finished reading last night.
Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren.
I first heard about this on Goodreads and it sounded quite fascinating so I went out and purchased it (because I wanted it in time for the 48-hour reading challenge and the library just wasn't there for me). Of course, I found it so fascinating sounding that I ended up not reading it for the challenge because I wanted to enjoy it (trust me, it makes sense in my head). But, I have read it now!
Waterfall tells the story of Gabriella (Gabi) Bettarini, a 17-year-old American who is in Italy over the summer with her younger sister Evangelia (Lia) and their mom who is an archaeologist with a focus on the Etruscans. At the outset, their mom has discovered quite an Etruscan find. Gabi and Lia know it is going to be a long, boring summer stuck out in the backwoods of nowhere (don't I know that feeling!). One morning, Gabi convinces Lia to go exploring one of the tombs with her. In the tomb, Gabi comes across a strange set of handprints on the wall. Her hand fits in one, and Lia's in the other. Suddenly, whoosh!, Gabi finds herself alone in the tomb with the sounds of fighting outside. Rival archaeologists or hot, Italian men from the 14th century fighting out a territory dispute? I'd go for the hot Italian men option. Which would be correct.
The rest of the action takes place in Medieval Tuscany featuring rival families. Gabi convinces Marcello and Luca Forelli that she is from Normandy (to explain her modern clothes) and has been separated from her sister Lia on their way to discover where is their mother. The family Forelli, fighting on the side of Sienna, takes her in and provide her assistance in her search. On her journey, she will need to use all of her skills and knowledge to survive in this foreign land, and perhaps begin to seek God's purpose in all of this.
Gabi reads as a modern teenager. I kind of giggled when at one point she was thinking that all she needed to do was "Google" something to find the answer. Because don't we all say that? And yet, she did manage to slip into fourteenth-century Italian language believably due to studying "the poet" Dante's works. And despite being able to beat people at swordplay, she isn't perfect because, well, her hair just won't stay in place.
There is quite a dash of romance in this book. Gabi is soon drawn into feeling something for Marcello, the presumed heir of the Forelli estate (his older brother Fortino, who is also fabulous, severely suffers from allergies and asthma and isn't expected to live much longer). Except Marcello has a long-standing engagement with Lady Rossi whose father is one of Sienna's "Nine", so this is a big time arrangement for the Forelli family. Marcello also has similar feelings for Gabi. But to pursue such a relationship has the potential to destroy the Forelli family. What is a girl to do?
I also was a fan of Luca. Perhaps because in his way, he made me think of Benvolio. Just as long as Gabi and Marcello don't have to stupidly die for their love. But, I think it was more the sidekick role (and the fact that he was of the "California surfer" type which makes me think of Gregori Baquet from the French Romeo et Juliette). Well, all I'm saying is that I'm still rooting that he and Lia get together (if I'm allowed to happily pair everyone off like Louisa May Alcott did at the end of An Old-Fashioned Girl.
All in all, a very fun read and I would recommend it if you have a thing for historical fiction/time-travel. I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of Cascade, the second book in the trilogy.
But, I will leave you with a bit of silliness. In other words, this is an example of why Kristin shouldn't read good books so quickly.
Quote from Waterfall:
[The doctor] stood again, this time moving to the head of the bed to examine my eyes, tongue, and then the beds of my fingernails. Looking for what? Signs of fever, infection, dehydration? Oh, or that body humours thing? I was surprised when he didn't ask for a urine sample. Apparently, they figured out a lot by the odor, appearance-even taste-of a person's urine.
"You are far[t]ing far better than I expected," he said at last.
So, yes, I'm the girl who read the last line with the word "farting" in place of "faring". My mind apparently went from urine samples to that. Sheesh. As soon as I realized my mistake, I could stop laughing. But, maybe you had to have been there (in my head) to really appreciate it.
And, the Waterfall book trailer: