The River of Time Series
Lisa Bergren has a gift for writing youth fiction. Reading it now, it holds everything my teenage heart absolutely adores. A little too immensely. A smattering of history, a dash of time travel, heaps of action and intensity, and a steady throw of romance.
Some of my favourite medieval stories involve a present day kid being thrown back into the times of knights and kings and castles. Those are the stories that got me reading incessantly, and the stories that inspired me to write. I am so glad I came upon this series. I would classify it as a bit of a guilty pleasure - medieval romance and fashion-culture-faux-pas are really what get me going, and the sparring, target-practice, horse-riding, armour-laden lovelies really do manage to hold my attention. This is what I read for a good dosage of drama and fantasy.
In the River of Time series, sisters Gabriella (Gabi) and Evangelia (Lia) Bettarini travel back in time to 14th century Italy, into a fight for their lives that they would never have expected or anticipated in their wildest daydreams. I have read these first three books (over the course of a weekend. Easter weekend, if you can believe I had the time. I made the time) but there are apparently two novellas and another, final, book to the series, tying everything into a nice bow or something. I'm waiting on that last book, too nervous to start for fear of ending the series for myself. I don't like the idea of it all being over - I get that way with series. It just means I truly enjoyed them.
Lisa keeps you guessing. Sometimes a little, other times a lot. Yes, you pretty much know that Gabi will fall for so-and-so, but whether or not they'll end up together - that's a path strung with doubt from beginning to end, really. So dramatic. So tense. Perfetto. Originally when the sisters travel back in time, they're separated. Gabriella finds herself very much alone, facing a raging battle between raging Italians, an old form of Dante-Italian that she miraculously knows well enough, no one to panic with, and no way out. Her sister Lia shows up about a week to ten days later, but a lot can happen in that amount of time. Battles are fierce and numerous, the suspense is delicious, and though the save and rescue scenes are wonderful, the strong-independent-female-main-character stance is satisfying for me as well. A good balance. The best of both worlds.
This book is really one for the romantics, knight-in-shining-armour nuts, sword-wielders, bow-slingers. I don't know how it does for historical accuracy or cultural appropriateness - you can only do so much in fiction, and change what you will. The world you write is yours. I don't mind too much if the details don't all match up. Fair warning. I read it for the time travel, and yeah, the romance. For all of those intents and purposes, it suited me perfectly.
I recommend this series so very highly to anyone looking for a weekend escape into 14th century Italy, battle, drama, and romance.
For more information on The River of Time series, visit our website here.