Thursday, September 3, 2009

Review: The Day the Falls Stood Still

The Day the Falls Stood Still
by Cathy Marie Buchanan

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.

First Sentence:
The stone walls of Loretto Academy are so thick I can sit curled up on a windowsill, arms around the knees tucked beneath my chin.

I really loved reading The Day the Falls Stood Still, Cathy's writing is smooth and easy to follow. I was able to connect with all of the characters easily, while at the same time there was a distance from some of them that worked well for the storyline. For instance I felt a huge distance between myself and Bess' sister Isabel, which helped me understand how Bess felt when she returned home from the Loretto Academy for girls and found a sister completely different than the last time she saw her. I fell in love with Tom Cole from the first moment he was mentioned. I am amazed that Cathy was able to make Tom appear mysterious and love-able throughout the whole book.

My favorite thing about this book is the fact that it is set in Niagara Falls, because I have never read a book about the area... and what makes it even better is the fact that it is historical. The only trouble that I had with this book is the fact that time jumps forward very quickly, which is understandable since the book is only 320 pages... but I kinda felt that I missed out on a lot of Bess' life. I do have to warn you though to make sure you are not in a public place, oh like say the park... like I was, when you finish this book because you will have tears in your eyes. ;)

I would recommend The Day the Falls Stood Still to anyone who enjoys reading historical fiction or love stories. The book also contains all of the aspects of life including the different levels of society, suicide, death, birth, and growing up.

Favorite Quotes:
Endless water plummets from the brink to the rocks below, like the careless who slip, like the stunters who fail, like the suicidal who leap.
His accusation of cowardice smarted, and I blurted out, "I figured you for a gentleman."
"I hoped I could learn," he said and turned away.
. . . there are two kinds of love. One that is slow in coming and builds with shared kindnesses. And another that is all-consuming, blind, little more than lust. "The first can last a lifetime," she says. "The second is founded on nothing and cannot."

Title: The Day the Falls Stood Still
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN 10: 1401340970
ISBN 13: 978-140134097
Buy It: Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Powell's
Review Number: 25
My Copy: provided for blog tour


Lit and Life said...

Why can't any one say they hate this? I want it so much and I just cannot buy another book!

Vivienne said...

A lot of bloggers have written quotes from this book and with everyone I read, I want to read this book more.

Jo-Jo said...

Great review...I also loved this book!

Serena said...

I just started reading this book today and am enjoying it so far.

Anonymous said...

I've been to Niagara Falls many times and love it there. Because of that, this book really intrigues me.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Nina said...

Great review! The book really sounds good.

Alyce said...

I'm kicking myself for not requesting this book. From your review it sounds just like something I would enjoy.

Anna said...

I've heard nothing but good things about this book, and I can't wait to dig into my copy. Great review!

Diary of an Eccentric

celi.a said...

This book sounds absolutely wonderful. I'm right there with you on the public crying...I read The Hunger Games at Starbucks and teared right up...some books just GET you, you know? Great review!

Beth said...

Great review. I have heard nothing but good things about this book. The picture on the cover just fascinates me. I have never been to Niagra Falls nor have I read any books about the Falls. This will be finding a spot on my TBR pile.

Suzanne said...

Niagra Falls is an amazing site to see! I can see where it would inspire someone to write about it! And from your review it looks like the author did a wonderful job! The quotes you pulled were beautiful!

Thanks for sharing! Your review was great! And the book sounds amazing!

(chick with books)

Carol said...

I love reading historicals. I have never read a book about Niagara Falls and am very interested in reading this one. I love reading books that bring tears to my eyes. It means I really cared about the characters.
Carol M
mittens0831 at aol dot com

robin_titan said...

I have heard nothing but great things about this book! It's not usually the kind of book I read, well i love historical fiction, but I'm still really interested. I'm pretty sure I'll love it :)

Diane said...

I just discovered your blog, thanks to Alyce, and I am so happy I did. It's terrific.

BTW: I loved your review on Buchanan's book; i really enjoyed reading it as well.

I'll be back!

Paradox said...

This book sounds wonderful! It's about a historical period that I don't see much in books, and your description of the book makes it sound interesting.

cathy marie buchanan said...

Just reading over your review, and I must say, I do love the quotes you picked out. Thanks for reviewing my debut novel.



Amy @ Passages to the Past said...

I've got this one coming to me and I'm so excited! Thanks for an outstanding review Marie!

Beth(bookaholicmom) said...

I also loved this book. I loved all the history that was included.

I have an award for you here;

Risingsouth said...

I have only heard great things about this book and want to know Isabel's secret. Sounds like history, love and a mystery all in one.
Risingsouth at aol dot com

Ondrej from Hunger Games Summary said...

"Only 320 pages"? You must be a really vivid reader - not that I dislike long books, but 320 is more than a decent amount for one piece.

Nicholas Sparks Books said...

Great review.

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