Rachelle's Reviews > The Day the Falls Stood Still

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
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's review
Sep 25, 2010

really liked it

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 of reading and the little details in between.

"The Day the Falls Stood Still" is a story of life – a life filled with hardships, happiness, hard work and sacrifices. Set mostly on the Canadian side of the Niagara Falls in the years surrounding WWI, this was an informative book as well as a wonderful love story. Bess, the daughter of a recently financially ruined businessman is forced to deal with the changes this brings upon each member of her family. On the trolley coming home from her beloved boarding school Bess meets a young working-class man who is enthralled with the Niagara River. His name is Tom Cole, of Cole family fame. Tom’s grandfather was a local hero who rescued countless people from the river and seemed to have a feeling when things were going to happen. Tom inherited this special sense of the river. His soul is tied to the river and its health.

The story of Bess, Tom and the river is an amazing endeavor; a delightful mixture of a Victorian love story, a coming-of-age novel and an important environmental history. This would be a great read for a book club or would make a wonderful present. Oh, and what a beautiful movie could be made! I learned so much from all of the details in this book. Bess becomes a dressmaker and the descriptions of the materials, colors and forms she uses was amazing. I would love to travel back in time to see firsthand the gorgeous dresses she made. I have never been to Niagara Falls but after reading Buchanan’s story I know in my mind the colors of the mist at the bottom of the falls, the roar of the water as it tumbles over and the strength of the whirlpool farther below. Um…wow.

Make sure to check out Cathy’s website – one of the most beautiful author sites I have ever seen. There is an interactive map of the Niagara River Gorge that is amazing even if you haven’t read the book – and an invaluable resource if you have (especially if you haven’t visited Niagara Falls).

The Day the Falls Stood Still is just pure lovely. A true decadence only an eclair could rival. I wish I could go back and experience it again.
Barnes and Noble Best Book of 2009
New York Times Bestseller
American Booksellers Association IndieNext Pick
Salt Lake County Library Reader’s Choice for July through October
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