Gabi and Lia Betarrini are tired of being in Italy. While most girls would love to spend summer vacation in Italy, it is not so for the Betarrini girls. Their mother is a major archaeologist who spends most of her time in old tombs and castles. The girls think it's boring to do this every summer, and especially now, since their father has died in an accident. But when the girls come across some hand-prints in the wall of a tomb (a tomb they're not supposed to be in), Gabi is separated from her sister as they are transported back in time - right into the middle of a political land feud in the 14th century.
At first, it's like she's dreaming. But when she realizes that this past world is real, she must face dangers like she never dreamed to find her sister and get them both home. But the young man who rescued her at the tombs and gave her a place to stay in his family's castello - he's so wonderful. She's never met anyone like him, and knows she never will again. He is engaged to marry a very prominent young lady in Italy - but what if he loved her back? Would such a love be strong enough to convince his family they were meant to be together - to make Gabi never want to leave this past time ever again?
Everything about this story was well pieced together. The time travel, the events, the battles, the relationships... The love story is my favorite aspect - it had me gasping because they couldn't be together. Stupid, wonderful forbidden love - you make me crazy! I must admit, though: for the first 100 pages I didn't quite see the connection between them. I could see how/why he was crazy about her, but I didn't quite understand her side, and why she was attracted to him... (It was probably because I wasn't even sure what I thought about him.) But then...oh! Then there was the secret-meeting-to-dance scene (well, that's how it ends up...), and I was all for the romance, and could totally see why Gabi loves him. That scene was one of my favorites!
The peril in this story is definitely intense. Like, for the last 100 pages or so I bit my nails down to the quick. I knew that at any moment, anything at all could go wrong. To be able to do that to your readers is very good story telling.
One word or phrase to sum it up (final thoughts) -
The word that runs through my mind when I think of this book is daring. It was so full of adventure and romance and wonderful twists and turns that had me shocked. (AKA - for those who have read it - chapter 19, page 288 specifically. If you read this and weren't gasping for breathing and absolutely shocked by this turn of events...and that stupid ***spoiler!!!*** blank page...well...I don't even know what to say to you. HA!) I definitely recommend this book and think everyone should give it a try! :) Now, I have to wait for book 2, Cascade, to come out. At least it's only three weeks! :)
For the parents -Honestly, nothing. There's a quick, one paged scene where some bad guys throw Gabi to the ground, tacking her there with their swords. One guy moves to untie his pants...and the good guy comes running in. The word "rape" is not even mentioned; his intentions almost went unnoticed to me. There are a few kisses, innocent and sweet. Good for ages 12 or 13 (depending on maturity level) and up. :)
Wanna read my favorite quote from the book? Click here!