The Day the Falls Stood Still

Status: Main Selections

 

August 2009 - Tom Cole, the grandson of a legendary local hero, has inherited an uncanny knack for reading the Niagara River's whims and performing daring feats of rescue at the mighty falls. And like the tumultuous meeting of the cataract's waters with the rocks below, a chance encounter between Tom and 17-year-old Bess Heath has an explosive effect. When they first meet on a trolley platform, Bess immediately recognizes the chemistry between them, and the feeling is mutual.


But the hopes of young love are constrained by the 1915 conventions of Niagara Falls, Ontario. Tom's working-class pedigree doesn't suit Bess's family, despite their recent fall from grace. Sacked from his position at a hydroelectric power company, Bess's father has

taken to drink, forcing her mother to take in sewing for the society women who were once her peers. Bess pitches in as she pines for Tom, but at her young age, she's unable to fully realize how drastically her world is about to change.

 

Set against the resounding backdrop of the falls, Cathy Marie Buchanan's carefully researched, capaciously imagined debut novel entwines the romantic trials of a young couple with the historical drama of the exploitation of the river's natural resources. The current of the river, like that of the human heart, is under threat: "Sometimes it seems like the river is being made into this measly thing," says Tom, bemoaning the shortsighted schemes of the power companies. "The river's been bound up with cables and concrete and steel, like a turkey at Christmastime."


Skillfully portraying individuals, families, a community, and an environment imperiled by progress and the devastations of the Great War, The Day the Falls Stood Still beautifully evokes the wild wonder of its setting, a wonder that always overcomes any attempt to tame it. But at the same time, Buchanan's tale never loses hold of the gripping emotions of Tom and Bess's intimate drama. The result is a transporting novel that captures both the majesty of nature and the mystery of love.

 


Comments
by B&N Bookseller MaggieR on ‎09-01-2009 01:14 AM

This novel was one of the best I have read all year. The characters were so real that I was instantly drawn into the book and the relationship between Tom Cole and Bess Heath kept me coming back for more, even at 4 a.m. 

 

But my favorite thing about this book was how Cathy Marie Buchanan so elegantly weaved the story of Tom and Bess and the history of Niagara Falls. The accompanying time line really helped the story become more than a love story, but one to make you stop and think about your own life.

 

The Day the Falls Stood Still deserves a place on everyone's bookshelf.

by luv2read29 on ‎10-27-2013 08:35 PM
Loved, loved this book. Tom Cole just jumped from the pages, Going to the falls for many years I felt like I was right there in the book. I love the idea that people believed that the silver from the mist was prayers going up to heaven. If you have never been to the falls Cathy Marie Buchanan will have you feeling the mist!!!!
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