(Read by Pam Turlow)
About the book:
What do you do when your knight in shining armor lives, literally, in a different world? Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaeologist parents. Stuck among the rubble of medieval castles in rural Tuscany on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds … until Gabi places her hand atop a hand print 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. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.
My very first audiobook! I have been reading all about how audiobooks are great!, wonderful!, awesome! (insert your adjective here). But I hadn't tried one. Until now. A local library happened to have this one checked in last weekend when I stopped by, and I thought "why not?". I figured it would be a good idea to start off with a book I had already read, so I could get a feel for listening to a book first. Then I could branch out to other books I haven't read. So here I am, fully converted to the audiobook bandwagon! Thanks for having me!
Now about the actual story. First of all, I do realize that everybody and their sister or brother reviewed this series last summer when the last book of the trilogy came out. So, I'm late to the happydance, but I decided to review it anyway. This is such a great story!! I enjoy history, and have read time travel stories before, but this is exceptionally well-written. Ms. Bergren clearly did her research. She does not shy away from the reality of how rough and difficult it was to live back in the fourteenth century. (For example, when people are in need of medical care, their abilities back then were very, very primitive. Imagine getting badly hurt and having minimal to no anesthesia of any kind to get you through it! Not to mention any guarantee of surviving. It certainly made me thankful to be born in modern America.) At first glance, this seems like a fluffy story, and it certainly has its moments, but Ms. Bergren sends Gabi (and the reader) a huge wake up call to reality pretty quick. She's a modern seventeen year old who grows up really fast in the fourteenth century. Of course, it does help to have a sweet and handsome knight (literally!) to flirt with and admire. Adventure, cute guys, time travel, what's not to like? Absolutely nothing! :)
In regards to the audiobook itself, it was terrific! It did take me a little bit of time to get used to this medium. But Pam Turlow did a great job. She had a voice change for every character when they were speaking. It was actually helpful to have that distinguishment. One thing I did notice through listening to the story versus reading it, was that I laughed a lot more at Gabi's thoughts when she would respond in her head to what was happening in the past. Her modern viewpoint that she couldn't actually voice out loud was very amusing! Therefore, if you have not read this one yet, what on earth are you waiting for? Go get it right now! You won't be disappointed.
Two passages for your pleasure:
Marcello and the men covered their mouths with their hands, their eyes alive with merriment.
"What?" I asked.
"They do not wear such dresses in Normandy?" Marcello asked, not bothering now to hide his grin over straight, white teeth.
"What is wrong?"
"You have it on backwards."
"Now your hair," he said, bending to retrieve the box. "Quickly tend to your hair, and we shall be off."
I opened the box and stared at the five pins that appeared to have been carved from ivory. Quickly I pulled my hair together, trying desperately to smooth and then wind it into a coil. I secured it, as best I could, to my scalp. He offered me the wide band of cloth and hairnet, then crumpled it in his hand. "Never mind," he muttered, staring at me like I was the most freakily weird chick he'd ever met.
I had clearly done it wrong. The bulk of my hair was supposed to hang below, at the nape of my neck, and be covered by the net. It was coming back to me, now, engravings and illustrations of women from this era. Not a particularly attractive look, but apparently one I was supposed to have mastered.