The Day the Falls Stood Still

The Day the Falls Stood Still

by Cathy Marie Buchanan
3.8 259


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The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

“A wonderful love story . . . Buchanan weaves Niagara Falls’ history and her storytelling together masterfully.”


Niagara Falls.

The dawn of the hydroelectric power era. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath, who has led a sheltered existence as the younger daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company, meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform and finds herself inexplicably drawn to him—against her family’s strong objections. Tom 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 who seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As the paths of Bess and Tom become entwined, Bess must make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781401340971
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 08/25/2009
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Cathy Marie Buchanan's fiction has appeared in some of Canada's premier journals, including the Antigonish Review, the Dalhousie Review, Descant, and the New Quarterly.

Karen White has been narrating audiobooks since 1999, with more than two hundred to her credit. Honored to be included in AudioFile's Best Voices and Speaking of Audiobooks's Best Romance Audio 2012 and 2013, she is also an Audie Award finalist and has earned multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards.

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The Day the Falls Stood Still 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 255 reviews.
tara_graff More than 1 year ago
I admit upon receiving the Advance Read for "The Day the Falls Stood Still", I was not captured by the description of the book. I did not see how a story about life along Niagra Falls could be all that interesting. Having never visited the area, I had little knowledge of the history of the Falls, or what it's like to see. However, I was very pleasantly surprised by the lovely story Buchanan has composed on so many levels. She paints a vibrant picture of the Falls - it's grandeur, beauty, and danger. She also gracefully spells out how it impacts Bess's life, both directly & indirectly, over the years. Finally, Buchanan chronicles a beautiful love story between Bess & Tom Cole, that is surrounded by tragedy. Thoroughly enjoyable - don't underestimate it!
AnneWH More than 1 year ago
Simply put: I loved this book. I laughed. I cried. I didn't want it to end. It is one of those rare literary finds that cannot be put down once started. Not since Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace have I felt so emotionally connected to the characters and enthralled by the story. Congratulations Ms. Buchanan on a stunning debut!
GranC More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be a bit different from any I'd read as it was so rich in local color, history and folklore. While it is primarily a love story set in Niagara Falls, Ontario, during and following the end of World War I, it encompasses the local surroundings at its very core and weaves the story around the colorful area of the Niagara River region bordering the US and Canada. It is told from the first person perspective of the teenage and then young woman and wife named Bess Cole (nee Heath) who is one of the two central characters in the book. While still very young, Bess finds herself cast out of her former school academy due to her family's changed financial fortunes. While she is ending her stay at school, on the way home with her trunk on the trolley, she meets Tom Cole, grandson of the Niagara riverman Fergus Cole, who had become a legend because of his uncanny ability to understand the Niagara River and its awesome forces. Tom had been raised by his grandfather and learned the river and its nuances inside and out. Contrary to her family's wishes and former social status, Bess and Tom become involved and marry within a six month period, only to weather a three year separation until the end of the Great War. Bess has been employed as a very talented seamstress since prior to their marriage and she has used her growing expertise to keep Tom's family afloat while he has been gone. When Tom returns, his search to find himself and provide for his family and Bess' desire to balance who Tom is with the necessity of improving their standard of living is a delicate balance and conflict between the two personalities. Their first child had been born a few short months after Tom left to go to war. Upon his return, Bess soon found out she was pregnant with their second child. With her urging and with few employment opportunities available, Tom takes a foreman's job with the area hydroelectric plant, which is contrary to his upbringing and his beliefs as to how the river's force should be harnessed and used. He does well in the position and is well respected for his knowledge and abilities, but he is not happy because the harnessing of the river for power production has naturally caused the river to drop and he has painstakingly kept a personal record of the river diversion. Learning this, Bess works behind the scenes to help him start over. It is at this point that a cruel irony of fate intervenes and changes their lives forever. I decided to read this book because I had visited the region within the past two years and I thought it might be interesting reading. Even if you have not been to Niagara Falls, the descriptions and historical period photos included in the book should be of interest. I found myself immersed in the area and could easily picture the descriptions of life in the area almost a century ago. This book will stay in my memory for awhile and the memory is a pleasant one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was in the middle of another book and only meant to read the first page or two to decide if this would be the next book I would read. The first page turned into the first chapter and after that I couldn't put it down. It's a story of hardships, love and regrets. Beautifully written, but very sad.
TootsieMN More than 1 year ago
When I started the book I thought it would be good, but I was disappointed. It ended up being dark and depressing. I wasn't able to finish the book because it just got worse with each chapter. I cared about the characters and the writing style was excellent.
hertwin2 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book from cover to cover. The writing was so real, I could smell the falls and picture exactly what the setting looked like. Bess was so real to me and I could almost feel her emotions.
vanessa27 More than 1 year ago
This story was an interesting, easy read. I really enjoyed the main character's story of struggle to find happiness. The writer's ability to weave Niagra Falls history within the story made the book even more exciting to me.
SerendipitousReadings More than 1 year ago
As I read this book, I was taken away to the time of 1915 amid the chaos of war, love, and loss. Cathy M. Buchanan for a first time writer seamlessly tied together all of the details of the book. It's ebbing and flowing made me want to read more about Bess' life after all what had happened. Just a great book.
Mal_FL More than 1 year ago
I bought this book in the bargain section at B&N... WITHOUT reading the reviews on it first, which is something I wouldn't normally do. But for four dollars I figured I didn't have much to lose. I was pleasantly surprised, it was a really good book overall. The beginning is a bit slow to pick up but once you get in about 50 pages, you want to keep reading. The main character Bess is so likeable, and strong for a woman at that time. She endures loss, and hardships, yet still is able to find the good in life, and make the best of things. Against the advice and demands of her family and friends she marries not for money, but for love. And so the touching love story between her and Tom unfolds. Not much unlike any relationship they have theirs good times and their bad, but mostly good. Their love for each other is uplifting. Although the end may not be what you were expecting or wanting, I saw the meaning in it. A good weekend read.... worth your time.
BillPilgrim More than 1 year ago
The story starts with a young girl, Bess, leaving her high school for the year after her junior year, most likely not to return due to her family's changed financial circumstances. Her father recently lost his job at the power company and has taken up drinking at a hotel bar most of the day to fill his time. She is accompanied from school by her mother, and on their way home, using public transportation, they are helped by a young man, who carries her trunk for them. He is Tom Cole, and he and the girl start a romance soon after that, much to her mother's dismay. She does not view him as a suitable catch for her daughter. Bess's older sister is resolutely despondent having been recently dumped by her fiance. She is not eating much and spends most of her time in her room. Tom is the grandson of a legendary riverman, who knew the Niagara River like no one else and was famous for his rescues on the river. Tom picks up where he left off. The book is an entertaining enough read, but it is definitely much more of a woman's book. There was far too much detail on women's clothes and seamstressing activities for my taste. The book is written from the point of view of Bess. She is a likable enough character, but I would have enjoyed it if she had been given a little more depth. I did enjoy the way the history of the falls, the dare-devils, the rescues and its development, were integrated into the story. But, I would probably have more enjoyed reading a straight history book instead.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
Every time I opened this book, I felt as if I were stepping off of the page, right into the Niagara. I could feel the mist upon my face, the powerful tug of the current and I could hear the roar of the water as it plunged over the falls. I love it when a novel can transport you to another time and place. In addition to its glorious setting, this novel also deals with class struggle, the environmental impact of hydroelectric power upon the falls, and the effects of war. This novel is unique, well paced and well thought out. I appreciate the tenderness of the characters, and by that I mean that they are strong, yet vulnerable and I find that I can easily relate to them at different points of the story. Overall, a very enjoyable read.
laneyowenmom More than 1 year ago
The story is mainly a love story about one woman's love for a man that is not of the same social status as she comes from. The first part of the book follows her family through tragedy and scandal. The second half of the book looks at Bess and Tom's married life. It was slow moving at times, but overall a good, well researched story.
debbook More than 1 year ago
The Day The Falls Stood Still takes place in Niagara, Canada, circa WWI. Bess Heath comes from a well-to-do family, but all that changes when her father loses his position as Director of the Niagara Power Company. Bess is forced to leave school, while her mother works as a dressmaker to make ends meet. Bess's older sister, Isabel ,is left by her finance and stops eating, her father spends his days and nights drinking at the local tavern. The only bright spot in Bess's life is Tom Cole, a young man who makes his living selling fish and pulling dead bodies out of the Niagara River. Tom is the grandson of the legendary Fergus Cole, a renowned riverman who could foresee disaster at the Falls and was responsible for the rescue of many people that would have been lost. Tom is also deeply connected to the river, but Bess's family is urging her to marry Edward, the older brother of her childhood friend. Marrying wealthy Edward would insure the future of her family. But tragedy strikes and against the wishes of her family, Bess rebukes Edward in favor of Tom. Buchanan writes an interesting story that combines history of Niagara Falls with the trials of a young couples' marriage and the struggle between progress and the environment. Tom is a riverman but with two children to support, he goes to work for the same power company that he reviles for its destruction of the Niagara river and the beauty of the Falls. While this is a debut novel, Buchanan work seems that of an accomplished writer. Her prose is skilled, with the right amount of plot and dialogue balancing the descriptions and history of Niagara. Throughout the book are pictures of the falls and newspaper articles that originally referred to the real legendary riverman, William "Red" Hill, but is changed with the name of Fergus Cole, the fictional legendary riverman. This was a great work of historical fiction, which I enjoyed even more as I live about ninety minutes from the Falls and have visited there frequently. I highly recommend this novel.
CBH More than 1 year ago
As a person that has made many trips to Niagara Falls during my years, I especially looked forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. Cathy Buchanan has written a lovely love story combined with some of the many historical occurrences in the Niagara Falls area. While the main characters in the story are fictional their deeds are very closely aligned with true history. As I read I felt as though I could feel the mist from the falls, the rapids, the whirlpool, the islands above the falls as the thunderous currents flowed by, the gorges with their many marks from old water levels, and see the power of the falls, some of which, the power companies have diverted for mass electricity. The family of Bess Heath is not rich but they live as many others did in 1915, from week to week. Her father was one of the directors of the Niagara Power Company but his drinking was his undoing and he lost that job. He kept his secret for a while but the family had to eat and live. Bess had a sister, Isabel, who was not in the best of health so was unable to work. When the family finally discovered that the father had lost his job, Bess's mother, Margaret, went back to the only thing she knew, dressmaking. She even had Bess learning the craft so she could assist the family but with school, Bess did not have much time. Bess decided not to return to school and helped her mother with the sewing, learning as she went. Bess and Tom Cole met each other "accidentally on purpose" seeing each other on Tom's daily walks. Bess was currently engaged but she wasn't sure she wanted anyone but Tom! Tom was an expert on the entire falls area, a subject his father had taught him. Tom was so perturbed that the electric power companies were taking so much of the water to produce electricity. He wanted Niagara Falls to stay the way it always had been with a constant full flow above and below the falls and whirlpool. But this wasn't to be with the advancement of power in Canada and the United States. Tom was well known for his rescues of many that fell, jumped, or went over the falls or into the river by plan. He knew every rock and every situation that would cause unusual rockslides or changing of currents. The love story and the history of the area are wound into a delightful story by the author. She can spin a love story as not many can. There is too much in this story to give away the different plots so I will not go there. You must read this if you have any romance or adventure or any combination of each.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lov it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been to the falls every year for the past 12 years, so i was excited to read this book. And i was not disppointed. Have put this book on my must read list for my sisters. We have a book club going .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't want to give anything away but it is a wonderful book!
American-Patriot More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book. It is a realistic book in that it portrays life honestly, not idealistically, yet is an uplifting story. Hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The characters were incredibly stupid and did things no one would ever consider. I hated this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have been to the falls it was fun idot realy like the book some parts it was good but my person ality would loose intrest rigt away
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a wonderful book of true love. Love of family and of nature.. powerful.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Follow up with a trip to the falls. Very interesting facts about the history of the Falls.
James Howard More than 1 year ago
Expected this to be enjoyable, I like historical fiction. This did not hold my intrest- skimmed most of it.
BookLoverCT More than 1 year ago
I enjoy stories that are based on happenings in the past. This takes place in the early 2oth century. The characters were very believable. I was rooting for Bess and Tom all through the book.