Deirdre's Reviews > The Day the Falls Stood Still

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
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Dec 16, 2009

really liked it

Set in Canadian Niagra between 1915 and 1923, Buchanan's debut novel is a historical, naturalist love story. With some characters and events loosely based on true historic figures and a looming and powerful Falls dominating nearly every page, this novel was certainly interesting but fell a little short on plot strength towards the end. I liked Bess and Tom, and was certainly rooting for them to succeed in life and love. I thought Tom especially was very well drawn - I found his deep and abiding relationship with the river and the falls to be both fascinating and a little chilling - that he was based on a real riverman of the era made him even more appealing. Their lives were perhaps overfull of tragic events, but I think that the realities of the era lend themselves well to such drama.

I think Buchanan's writing is clear and strong, and her characters are well-voiced. She captured the life of the times as well as the history and power of the Falls; she also incorporated a strong environmental message that would have been important then and still resonates now. I enjoyed the book, and would definitely recommend it with 3.5 stars - be prepared however, for a rushed and perhaps overly simple ending which in my opinion greatly reduced the impact of the novel as a whole.
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