Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Day the Falls Stood Still

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.

I love discovering new authors, especially Canadian ones, and when I saw this book under the debut area I just had to have it. But what really caught my eye was the title, The Day the Falls Stood Still, the story is set in Niagara Falls during the years of 1915 to 1923. I live about an hour and half from the it's basically in my backyard.

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan is a love story. It's a love story between two people, Bess and Tom. But it is also a story about Tom's love for the Niagara River and the Falls. And it revolves around the beginning of the Hydro-Electric powerhouse and in the introduction of electricity to the public. There's also Bess and Tom's experience with WWI. Bess is a seventeen year old girl when she falls in love with Tom, a river man. Tom has an ability to understand the river and to predict dangerous events on the river, and if needed he rescues people. He also pulls out bodies when accidents happen. When a tragedy occurs in Bess's family she turns to Tom and by doing so she brings more hurt to her family. But Bess follows her heart.

I found it beautifully written and so compelling. It had me in tears several times, and I was truly amazed on how I felt the hurt, the fear and the anger of these characters. I highly recommend this book!

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan (4.5/5) Historical Fiction; Published: Voice (8/09); New Author; Debut; Canadian Author; Year of the Historical (4); Canadian Book Challenge (9); Books 2010 (39);


Cathy Marie Buchanan said...

Hello Leya,

Thank you for reviewing The Day the Falls Stood Still. Sorry about the tears (well, not really).

I have just been invited to participate in Kitchener's Word on the Street next fall (Sept 26th). Should you come out please introduce yourself.


Linda said...

I have this one sitting on my shelf. Might be time to move it up in the pile. Great review.

Kailana said...

I really liked this book. I am glad you enjoyed it, too!