BOURNE (River of Time #3.1)
Lisa T. Bergren
Historical Young Adult
Received from author for review
THE STORY (from author website)
In this e-novella, River of Time #3.1, the dramatic tale about the Betarrinis and Forellis continues, picking up directly after where Torrent left off… The battle is done at the front, but the battle is only beginning back at Castello Forelli. Marcello fights for his life; Lord Greco fights to find his place; and Lia fights for love.
A read that’s easily devoured in a single sitting, Bourne is a treat for fans of The River of Time series, returning us to the Betarrinis for a brief but emotionally and physically intense visit before leaving us wanting more of everything from the characters and world we’ve come to care about so much. This novella gives a little something new in the form of Lia’s point of view, allowing us into the head of the younger Betarrini sister as she and Luca continue their romantically-tense dance, but with the new we also have the familiar comfort of Gabriella’s perspective as she and Marcello deal with the aftermath of the events of Torrent. As always, Ms. Bergen sublimely depicts both the beauty and the ugliness of life in medieval Italy, sweet flirtations accompanying the brutality of war to leave us utterly exhausted by the end given all the energy we’ve expelled reveling in the happy moments and despairing in the tragic ones.
Gabi and Lia are as enjoyable as ever, both strong-willed women who’ve proven themselves to be skilled fighters, and it’s nothing short of an absolute pleasure to watch as these modern young woman are courted in a time of chivalry and extreme gallantry. Both girls delight in Marcello and Luca's ingrained sense of honor at the same time they rebel against it, wanting to take up arms and defend those they love with every ounce of strength they possess instead of playing demure ladies who simply wait for their loved ones to return from battle. Spending extra time with Lia and Luca is thrilling, the tension between them crackling so strongly we can almost feel the tingles in our fingertips as we touch the pages (or screen as it were), our desire to see their romance unfold all-encompassing now that Marcello and Gabi are married.
Fans of Lord Greco may be slightly disappointed in this novella as Rodolfo is present throughout but definitely relegated to the background when Lia and Luca take center stage, and though we certainly won't complain about the new couple at the forefront, we can’t help but want more time with the man who is an undeniably intriguing mystery–sometimes a friend and sometimes a foe, but always someone who draws our gaze whether or not he is meant to be the object of our unwavering focus. Overall, Ms. Bergren packs a great deal of action as well as a touch of romance in a short number of pages, reminding us of what we love about this world and the characters who inhabit it while also making it glaringly apparent that we’ll not be satisfied until we have happy endings for every single person to whom we’ve been introduced.