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The Day the Falls Stood Still Summary and Reviews

The Day the Falls Stood Still

by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan X
The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
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  • Published Aug 2009
    320 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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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

This information about The Day the Falls Stood Still was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Cathy Marie Buchanan Author Biography

Photo: Ania Szado

New York Times bestseller and book club favorite Cathy Marie Buchanan is the author of three novels. Her most recent, Daughter of Black Lake, was chosen as Best Fiction for Fall by Entertainment Weekly and Parade magazine. Her previous novel, The Painted Girls, was a New York Times bestseller, a #1 national bestseller in Canada, and was named a best book of the year by NPR, Good Housekeeping and Goodreads. Her debut novel, The Day the Falls Stood Still, was a New York Times bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection and a Canada Reads Top 40 Essential Canadian Novels of the Decade. Her work has been translated into nine languages.

Buchanan holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University, and recently became a certified yoga instructor. She lives in Toronto....

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