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. In Book One of the River of Time series, Gabi and Lia are stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, boring, and dusty archeological site … 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 she comes 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?
Recommended For: 12+
Themes: Romance, family relationships
LGBTQIA+ Content: None.
Disclaimer: this book has received many much more positive reviews than this one. It’s absolutely not for me. If you like het romance with a mild Christian flavour, this is the book for you.
That being said, here’s my view: I did not like this book and I won’t be reading the sequels. Putting my distaste for het Christian romance aside, I still didn’t like the book. I had hoped I’d enjoy it as a historical novel and many of the historical elements were interesting. However, the characterisation killed it for me.
I didn’t like Gabi. I didn’t like Lia. I didn’t like Marcello. I sort of liked Luca but that’s where it ends. All of them felt very two-dimensional.
Gabi integrated herself into 14th Century Italy way too easily for me to buy into it. I suspended my disbelief with the palm prints on the wall part. I wasn’t willing to believe she could pick up the dialect (and happened to be fluent enough in Italian in the first place?) so easily. I didn’t buy that she happened to be so good at wordplay and horse-riding. She just happened to have all the skills she needed… It didn’t sit right with me.
This novel was too much of an ask for me. It just wasn’t for me.
No LGBTQIA+ content to be found, though I wasn’t expecting any.