The Day the Falls Stood Still: Book summary and reviews of The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Day the Falls Stood Still

By Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Day the Falls Stood Still
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2009,
    320 pages.

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Book Summary

Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this epic love story is as rich, spellbinding, and majestic as the falls themselves.

1915. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era in Niagara Falls. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath has led a sheltered existence as the youngest daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company. After graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she had left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, her vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating--and harboring a secret.

The night of her return, Bess meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to him--against her family's strong objections. He is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides and has an uncanny ability to predict the whims of the falls. His daring river rescues render him a local hero and cast him as a threat to the power companies that seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future.

Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating debut novel.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Historical fiction readers will appreciate the excellent period detail, especially the depiction of the era's social mores, and the romance between Bess and Tom is also a high point." - Library Journal

"Buchanan's prose is elegant, but sentimentality limits her achievement." - Kirkus Reviews

"Based loosely on the history of Niagara river man William Red Hill, the book incorporates mock newspaper articles with limited success, but does integrate some detailed depictions of domestic life and fascinating natural history into an otherwise uneventful romance." - Publishers Weekly

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Author Information

Cathy Marie Buchanan Author Biography

Photo: Ania Szado

Born May 23, 1963, Cathy Marie was raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario. She holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University

Buchanan is the author of The Painted Girls and The Day the Falls Stood Still. Published January 2013, The Painted Girls has received enthusiastic reviews. Also an IndieNext pick, The Painted Girls debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list and is a national bestseller in Canada. The Day the Falls Stood Still, her debut novel, was a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection, and an IndieNext pick.

Her stories have appeared in many of Canada's most respected literary journals, and she has received awards from both the Toronto Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council. She now resides in Toronto.

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