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The Day the Falls Stood Still

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  4,732 Ratings  ·  825 Reviews
This is the ARC edition, not the published paperback edition.
Paperback, Advanced Reader Copy
Published 2009 by Voice
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Community Reviews

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Cathrine ☯
Jul 09, 2015 Cathrine ☯ rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)  ·  review of another edition
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
May 04, 2015 Mmars rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2010 Heather rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
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.
Robert Blumenthal
This is the first novel by the author of the wonderful The Painted Girls, and it is a lovely one indeed. I seem to have developed a literary crush on Cathy Marie Buchanan, her novels really sit quite well with me. Though this novel is much quieter than her next one, it is the simple sort of tale that rivals such works as Brooklyn by Colm Toibin and Someone by Alice McDermott. This is not the novel for those that need lots of tension and foreshadowing. It flows like the Niagara River on which it ...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
Aug 15, 2009 Pam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
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
May 29, 2015 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-books
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
Aug 29, 2009 KrisT rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2009, tbr-2009
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
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
Ruth Seeley
Nov 07, 2012 Ruth Seeley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 09, 2009 Petra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian-author
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
♥ 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
Jun 11, 2009 Suzze Tiernan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!
Jul 31, 2009 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 14, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: jul-15
Although heartbreaking this story is very well-written. It will stay with me for a very long time.
Jul 25, 2009 Marie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 25, 2010 Rachelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mary Reinert
I must admit I purchased this book based on the cover which I thought looked fascinating. I was only a little bit disappointed. The "historical" part of the Falls was interesting and I enjoyed Bess' relationship with her sister, parents and Tom. However, I had a hard time following the more "technical" parts of the river: the eddys, currents, and the general setting of the river. I'm not familiar with the area (or big rivers in general), and some of that was just confusing to me.
[Set against the
Aug 17, 2010 Donna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jul 20, 2009 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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
Jan 30, 2010 Sandra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
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
Aug 25, 2009 Kathrina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 12, 2009 Lianna Vigil rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sharon Huether
Bess Heath had led a sheltered life. All that changed after her father lost his job with the Niagara Power company.
By chance Bess meets a rugged young man, Tom Cole who impresses her. She throws caution to the wind when she marries Tom.
Tom has quite a reputation to live up to, that of his grandfather who rescued many from the Falls.
Tom does the same as his grandfather; but is lost in a whirlpool while trying to rescue a young boy.
His wife and two sons held him in their memory. He taught them to
Sep 27, 2009 Marla rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up because I had just been to Niagara Falls and thought it would be a neat connection. But I couldn't get past the first 100 pages (of a 300 page book). So I looked at some online reviews and everyone said it is really good in the beginning and gets slow in the middle, with a disappointing ending. Since I absolutely forced myself for the "good" 100 pages, I hung it up. "Too many books, so little time".
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What was Isabel's secret? 1 17 Aug 10, 2014 09:08PM  
Growing up in Niagara Falls 2 35 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
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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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