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The Day the Falls Stood Still Hardcover – Bargain Price, August 25, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 153 customer reviews

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, August 25, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Set against the backdrop of WWI and Niagara Falls, this debut tells the story of young Bess Heath and her struggle to navigate a quickly modernizing world. A child of privilege, Bess sees her fortunes change when her father loses his job. Cast into poverty, her family disgraced, Bess tries to hold things together while her sister slips into depression, her father drinks and her mother withdraws. After another tragedy strikes, Bess finds comfort in the love of Tom Cole, a river man with a mysterious connection to the falls. Overcoming the deep privation of the war and their own limited means, the two begin building a life together and renew their commitment to each other and their family. 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. (Sept.)
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"A wonderful love story...Buchanan weaves Niagara Falls' history and her storytelling together masterfully."


"A hear-wrenching, soul-racking, spell-binding tale...guaranteed to remain in the readers mind."
--The Globe and Mail

"The Day the Falls Stood Still stands on its own elegant prose and the vibrant voice of its narrator." --USA Today

"It is a novel to savour." --Historical Novels Society

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Voice (August 25, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401340970
  • ASIN: B002U0KOM2
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (153 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,654,127 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

CATHY MARIE BUCHANAN's The Painted Girls is a #1 National Bestseller in Canada, a New York Times bestseller, and has garnered rave reviews and been showered with special attention--everything from selection as a People Magazine pick to inclusion in Entertainment Weekly's Must List to being named a best book of 2013 by NPR, Good Housekeeping and Goodreads. Her debut novel, The Day the Falls Stood Still, is a New York Times bestseller and a Barnes & Noble Recommends selection. She holds a BSc (Honours Biochemistry) and an MBA from Western University. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she now resides in Toronto with her husband and three sons.

She'd be happy to skype your book club. For details see http://www.cathymariebuchanan.com/book-clubs

Visit Cathy Marie's website (www.cathymariebuchanan.com)

Connect with Cathy Marie on Facebook (www.facebook.com/cathymariebuchanan) or follow her on Twitter @cathymbuchanan

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
It was hard to believe that this book was the author's first. It was very well written. The setting is 1915-1923 Niagara Falls, Canada. Loosely based on an historical figure, it also details the history of the Falls and the beginning of the Hydro-Electric powerhouse with the spread of the use of electricity during this time frame. But more than that, it is a story of love and passion between two people, a 17 year old year girl, Bess, and the river man Tom. Tom not only has love and passion for Bess, he has a deep and abiding passion for the Niagara River and the Falls and is dismayed at how the river is being diverted for the making of electricity. He is following in the footsteps of his grandfather, also a river man. Both had became well known for their astounding ability to understand the river and their ability to predict danger and being able to rescue people and bodies out of the river.

This book is a wonderful glimpse into the lifestyles of this period in time when so much was changing in our world. Tom goes off to serve in the war that we now call World War One while Bess stays home to raise their son and earn their living dressmaking. We see how the electric companies worked to show people how much better their lives would be with all the electric appliances that would be possible is only they were permitted to divert even more water from the Falls for making electricity. Some going so far as to thinking that it wouldn't be a big deal if the Falls were drained dry to make the electricity. If you have every seen the Falls aren't you glad they didn't succeed?

This book is about real people going through real struggles with finances, personal philosophy and ethics, caring friends, crumbling friendships and betrayals, and passions that rules their lives and homes.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I picked this book on a whim, and I am so glad I did! I thoroughly and unexpectedly loved this book. I found the two main characters, Bess and Tom, to be sympathetic and likable people. The background setting of Niagara Falls was very interesting and I even enjoyed the tidbits about dress making. While I did not necessarily love them, I also liked the way the author included newspaper articles about some of the events surrounding the Falls- cool detail I thought. The book definitely had some very sad details, mainly regarding Bess's family, but the book moved right along with ups and downs. I will definitely recommend this book and I feel that it would also make a good Book Club selection.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Niagara 1915-1923 is the setting of Cathy Marie Buchanan's debut novel, The Day the Falls Stood Still. I would call it a naturalist's love story. Bess, seventeen years old, notices not all is right in her world as her school year at Loretta (a Catholic women's boarding school) draws to a close. Her father and sister are not there to bring her home. A kind stranger offers to help her with her trunk, and her world is further set askew. Tom Cole enters her life as she finds her home in ruins: father jobless and taken to drinking, sister abandoned by beau and recluse in her room, and her mother as taken to dressmaking from her one time friends in high society Niagara (Canada). Mystery and secrets about this new home life give way fast, as the story rushes through subplots and characters, just as swiftly as the river. Defiance pays off, relationships change or end, and society changes in a span of several years. But above all the human foolishness is always the river and the falls dominating.

Buchanan fictionalizes real life river man, Red Hill in the character Tom Cole. Many stories and myths about the river are real, although told through some fictional characters. This was the best part. I found the beginning to be rushed, trying to grab the audience's attention, but revealing too much too soon. The middle lagged a bit, but I anticipated a wowing end. Instead I got a limping story looking for an end, and it felt like Buchanan settled. Environmentalism and love of nature saturate this story, which is fine, but it dragged the momentum of the human drama numerous times. This book reminded me continually of Drowning Ruth: A Novel (Oprah's Book Club).
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Format: Hardcover
This was an entrancing, well-written book with an unforgettable setting and characters. In my mind, however, the book consisted of two stories--the first one (and first half of the book) is a love story between Bess and Tom, and the second one is a larger story about progress vs conservation, poverty, war, politics and manipulation, obligation and duty. The two stories exist in the same book, but the love story reads quicker and has a different tone. I think this is why some reviewers have criticized the second half of the book as being a downer, and slow moving. It is indeed a different tone and pace and even, really. a different plot than the first story. It's almost as if the larger story is the main book and the love story is a short prequel.

That said, I loved this book. The only thing that kept me from giving it five stars were the frequent flashbacks embedded mid scene. Reading this structure once or twice was OK, but again and again was annoying and pulled me out of the story world. I often had to go back and read and look for time markers to figure out how much time had elapsed between the current scene and the flashback. Other than that, I think this book would be a real treat for anyone who enjoys a serious historical romance with a bit of magical mystery.
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