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The Day the Falls Stood Still

by
3.66 of 5 stars 3.66  ·  rating details  ·  4,068 ratings  ·  741 reviews
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 p
...more
Hardcover, 307 pages
Published August 25th 2009 by Hachette Books
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269th out of 1,398 books — 6,771 voters
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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☯Cathrine
A love story centered around the early 1900s when men in power were determined to harness the power of the mighty Niagara with hydroelectric power plants. Tom Cole has loved the river his entire life but also loves Bess. A love which will lead him to compromise his personal beliefs and convictions because the only way he can support his family is by working for the company that is against everything he believes in. Bess is also divided in her heart over her need for financial security versus the ...more
Cathy Buchanan
Jun 10, 2009 Cathy Buchanan added it  ·  (Review from the author)
This is my debut novel. Hope you love it. On the shelves September 2009 in Canda and the US and February 2010 in the UK and Italy.

What's is about? Read on.

Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this is an epic love story 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 gradua
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Mmars
4.5 rounded up to 5.

One of the greatest pleasures of reading is to be unexpectedly wrapped up in a book. On the flip side there’s the disappointment of over-hyped books that do not deliver for the reader. There are many books I have not read for fear of such a reaction, and then there are these other books that come along less frequently. They make me suspend disbelief and wrap me up in another time, another life, another level of reality.

Such was my reading experience in this book. The charact
...more
Tara Chevrestt
This is a magical, well told tale about a young woman named Bess, a riverman named Tom, and the history of the Niagara Falls. Bess meets Tom at the beginning of World War One when her family has fallen on hard times. They both reside on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls in a town being overcome by hydroelectric power plants. Bess comes from a family that made its riches from the power plants, whereas Tom strongly believes in the beauty of the river and leaving nature untouched. This differe ...more
Heather
I recieved this book as a review copy from the publicist. Started out very interesting, but I am putting it away halfway through. It was too depressing. A suicide, girl who's life is spiraling downward and sexual content I didn't want to read. The book has an overall sad tone though it is poetic.
Pam
We live in an age where nearly all of our threats are human. Nature has no recourse against man-made factories, bridges, levees, and weapons. We are safe. We are secure. In the middle-north of the country, though, nestled between the United States and Canada is a reminder that we are human but only human. When I was a little kid I fell in love with Gordon Lightfoot’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. There is something helplessly beautiful and tragic about the power and majesty evoked by lore surr ...more
Danielle Lentz
Good book with a wonderful and fascinating setting of Niagara Falls-on the Canadian side. The author carefully intertwines this setting into the story of a young woman, Bess, her family and husband Tom Cole-the"riverman" . The story takes place at a time when there are many changes to people's lives in terms of technology. The power of the river is being harnessed to "benefit" people's lives (for electricity) yet the Falls and the river still have the power to take away people's lives. It also t ...more
Barb
I love Niagara Falls, every time I visit I am completely awestruck. It is an amazing wonder to behold, it's literally breath taking. If you have never been I would urge you to go. I have seen much of the landscape the author describes in this book and I remember some of the folk lore from my many visits. My family and I saw Jay Cochrane walk a tightrope to the Skylon Tower in 2005. Niagara Falls has a magic and wonder that is hard to describe.

I really enjoyed this novel that incorporates so much
...more
Jennifer D
10 july 2015 -- maybe 4.5 3.5-stars. what a wonderful, sensitive, evocative novel. i am leading a group read of this book during july, so will hold off on a longer review for now, until our discussions wrap up at the end of the month. but, i will say that i have been in a real run of so-so or 'meh' reads in 2015. to be so engrossed and captivated by a story was such a treat right now. the group chat for the novel has already added nicely to the read.

26 july 2015 -- lowered rating. as time has p
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KrisT
Sometimes a book just wraps you up inside its covers and you don't recognize the regular world when you look up. That is what happened to me and this story. Bess Heath is a boarding school girl used to a better class of life but when her father is laid off from work they must all pitch in. Bess is 17 and a marriage to the right boy would help the family but the young river man holds her attention.
The characters are interesting and life-like in this story of love and death and progress versus nat
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Cynthia
This book had everything, a beautiful setting, a love story, cultures and classes clashing, occult overtones, but ultimately it was disappointing. I kept wondering what the author's point was. Sometimes, if the story is engrossing enough, meandering can be forgiven but Buchanan's writing showed seams badly and her characters went in and out of focus, sometimes feeling real then fading into caricatures. Rather than speaking their frustration, confusion, anger, etc. Buchanan repeatedly had them "o ...more
♥ Marlene♥
Really loved all the information I got about Niagara Falls and that the story was set there. Beautiful but deadly settings. I did not love this book as I did The Painted Girls but I did enjoy the book. . I was not as invested in the main characters as I was in her other book but I still very much enjoyed it. I love Canadian authors do not ask me why but the ones I have read most of the time write great books as does Cathy Marie Buchanan.Sometimes I wondered what the point was but I guess the mor ...more
Suzze Tiernan
Loved this book! Best book I have read so far this year. I really felt what it might have been like to live in Niagara Falls, Ontario in the very early 1900's. The characters were so real, I felt like I was right there alongside them, and the falls, as I read. If you like historical fiction, you must read this book. I plan on recommending this to all my friends!
Chelsie
This book was beautifully written. I had a hard time putting this book down, it was so full of tragedies and heartwarming moments that I never knew what would happen next! You could tell the author really loved her characters and in turn you cant help but fall in love with each and every one! Amazing book!
Anne
Jul 31, 2009 Anne rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: All my girlfriends
This is a must read for anyone who loves historical fiction, great character development. I smiled, I sobbed. I never wanted it to end. I haven't felt so emotionally connected to a book since reading Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace.
Wendy
Although heartbreaking this story is very well-written. It will stay with me for a very long time.
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: The book takes place in Niagara Falls, Canada and that is where I live plus the historical time 1915-1923 is a favourite period I like to read about. I was excited to read a book set in my city and the cover is beautiful and actually blew me away when I saw it in real life.

Comments: I'll start off by admitting I may be a little biased. There is something captivating about reading a book when you recognize the street names, know the buildings mentioned, have been to the natur
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Marie
The Day the Falls Stood Still is a very promising debut novel by Cathy Marie Buchanan. The story is set in Canada near the Niagara where its wonderful beauty and history is emanated from Cathy's descriptions. This is the story of Bess Heath, who suddenly finds herself at a turning point in her life when everything is forced to change due to the fact that her father lost his job at the power plant. Bess's mother, father and sister are intriguing characters along with Bess herself, and we immediat ...more
Donna
This was an excellent novel based on the history or Niagara Falls at the turn of the century when the power plants and other industries were discovering the energy of the falls. Niagara Falls has a fascinating history and lots of colorful stories about those who has lived and died there through accidents and through stunts that have driven people to challenge the river.

The main character is a young lady in a wealthy family who finds herself torn from society and comfort when her father loses his
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Rachelle
Have you ever been enjoying a treat, a cookie or a piece of pie, when the phone rang or someone knocked at the door? And while you are taking care of your interruption, your mind wanders back to that unfinished decadence and you pine to finish?

That’s how I felt while reading the debut novel "The Day the Falls Stood Still" by Cathy Marie Buchanan. My days have been filled with thoughts of this story and I longed to get back to it each night. I know a story is truly great when my life is made up o
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Bridget
I am somewhat biased because I grew up near Niagara Falls, NY, but I would have loved this book even if I was from Atlanta. The book is set on the Canadian side of Niagara Falls from 1915 to 1925. The main character, Bess, endures many successes and tragedies from the age of 17 until she is 26, when the book ends. Her privileged life is abruptly taken away from her, and everyone, including Bess, is pleasantly surprised by her perseverance. While there are frequent references to sacrificing becau ...more
Kathleen
I really enjoyed this book which takes place from 1915 to 1923 in Niagara Falls in Canada. It's the story of Bess whose family falls on hard times when her father loses his job. Bess falls in love with a young river man, Tom Cole, considered beneath her station. Tom understands the river like his grandfather did, predicting disasters and saving foolish people who toy with the river and falls. It's a poignant story anchored around the falls and river.
Ruth Seeley
Not sure why I hadn't realized this was a historical novel before embarking on it. Luckily the OD on historical novels that happened in 2011 has faded in my memory and I was able to enjoy it for a variety of reasons - the lush prose, the profundity of some of the observations (particularly those relating to cumulative grief and loss, of which there is a lot in this book - loss of hope, loss of life, loss of opportunity, financial loss, as well as loss of integrity which to some is merely comprom ...more
Laura


The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
9781401340971, $24.99, September 2009, Hyperion/Voice

This a wonderful historical novel in the vein of another book club favorite of ours,Grand Ambition (Lisa Michaels). Set immediatley before and after WWI, Bess's story is powered by the falls and whirlpools and mists of Niagra and by the mysterious riverman, Tom Cole, who shares his love for the river with her.

Buchanan does a marvelous job of juxtaposing the cultured life Bess is accustomed
...more
Petra
I enjoyed this book, which included a partial history of Niagara Falls at the time of electrical development. The falls are described in such detail and force that they are a character in the story.
I found, though, that the real people weren't as solid or powerful as the falls. There's so much woe, bad luck and depression in this story. It seems overdone because it is never-ending. Bess had hardship, yes, but also good times but even those are colored grey and sad....always with a cover of fore
...more
Sandra
From an inauspicious beginning and an at first annoying narrator, this book turned into one I could not stop listening to and then at the end broke my heart. I'm giving it five stars because it touched me so deeply, but maybe I should give it four stars because it tore me up. I was sobbing and my poor little doggie who is very attuned to my moods was howling in distress.

My friend Vered and I were discussing love stories that stole our hearts, and this was one. It's a historical novel about Niaga
...more
Kathrina
Sorry, Goodreads author. This book struggles in many ways, and I'm not going to finish it. My biggest issue is the anachronistic dialogue. I'd like to read a book about the small but heroic efforts of women making it on their own in 1915, where cooking and sewing are the domestic skills that empower them, but it's not enough to keep this novel alive. Bess's attraction to Tom is trite and predictable, and the historical references feel like slaphazard inserts thrown in after the first draft was w ...more
Lianna Vigil
I would have given this book 5 stars but it was just too sad for me. I kept hoping for good things to happen to the characters but they lived very hard and sad lives. There were times of quiet joy but more apparent were their times of hard pain.

It was a very haunting and memorable book and I know I will think of these characters often and the beautiful falls. I loved the history and nostalgia that this book recreates and I am glad I got a chance to read it. Truly this was a well-done and beauti
...more
Donna Jo Atwood
This book of class structure and change is told in first person by Bess, the daughter of the man who was the head of the director of the Niagara Power Company. Bess has to drop out of school when her father loses his job. Her mother takes in sewing; her older sister loses her fiance. And behind and around it all is Niagara Falls and the river. It is such a conversational tone that the story creeps up on the reader. Do not read this one in a hurry, but do read it.
Task 10.8
Shirley Schwartz
This book is the first novel that Cathy Marie Buchanan had published. I had read and loved her novel Painted Girls, and I received this book as a gift. I can't express how much it touched me. To me it is a true Canadian classic that so picturesquely describes life and families in Niagara Falls, Canada from just shortly before The Great War until 1923. The story is about the two Heath sisters - Bess and Isabel. It's about the rather privileged lifestyle they enjoyed while growing up in Niagara Fa ...more
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CBC Books: July '15 - The Day the Falls Stood Still, by Cathy Marie Buchanan 147 49 Jul 28, 2015 10:28AM  
What was Isabel's secret? 1 15 Aug 10, 2014 09:08PM  
Growing up in Niagara Falls 2 34 Aug 18, 2009 08:08PM  
What do you think of the copy that will be on the cover? 3 19 Jul 26, 2009 06:55PM  
Covers 1 17 Jun 10, 2009 08:43AM  
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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 St ...more
More about Cathy Marie Buchanan...
The Painted Girls Bois de Boulogne: A Short Story

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“In those clouds I have seen aberrations-flecks of shimmering silver, orbs of color a shade more intense than their surroundings. I have seen them more than once, and I haves decided they are prayers, mine and everyone else's, too.” 11 likes
“Tom said, "You should go. You could use a friend." It was not anything I had not thought myself. Still, hearing it aloud made me feel pitiable, and I had no wish to be, and so I...set off for a luncheon I did not much want to attend." p 233” 2 likes
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