Review for The Day The Falls Stood Still: A Novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan

12:44 AM

**Interview with Cathy Marie Buchanan on Friday!!**

The Day The Falls Stood Still
by Cathy Marie Buchanan

Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Voice (August
25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1401340970
ISBN-13: 978-1401340971

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Description (Author's Website)

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 im

patient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she 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 harbouring 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.

Author Biography

CATHY MARIE BUCHANAN’s stories have appeared in several of Canada’s most respected literary journals ─ The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, Descant and The New Quarterly. Buchanan holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. She has been awarded grants by both the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she grew up amid the awe-inspiring scenery of the Niagara River and awash in the local lore. She now resides in Toronto.


This book is simply outstanding! This novel is about the love story of Bess and Tom and it could have ended there. Instead Buchanan weaves in the history of Niagara Falls and takes us on a journey that is half historical fiction and half factual. The river and falls themselves take on a life in this wonderful book until they are just as much a character as Bess and Tom.

What really caught my attention is this unusual setting. I'm not sure that I've ever read a novel that centered around Niagara Falls in such a way. It was thoroughly enjoyable and unique. The author explores the history of the beginnings of hydroelectric power at the Falls as well as the environmental impact of dams on the Falls.

This is a novel of faith, love and following your heart and I loved this book and heartily recommend it to anyone who's looking for a well rounded novel to spend some time with. This was the author's debut novel and I can't wait to see what she's writing next!

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