The Day The Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan is quite simply a beautiful novel. It is beautiful in the history told and the writing and it really surprises me that this is Cathy’s first novel. If The Day The Falls Stood Still is any indication of what we can expect from her then I’ll be waiting anxiously for her next novel. I also have to make mention of this cover. It is gorgeous and up close in my hands even better.
This novel is part history and part love story and I truly enjoyed both aspects. The story takes place from 1915 -1923 and relates many aspects of the struggles that took place over the Queenston Powerhouse ruining Niagara Falls – as power was evolving the river was diminishing. In addition Cathy wove a beautiful love story between Bess and Tom Cole, who is actually based on a real fellow who lived back when all this was happening. Tom Cole is a riverman; he feels and hears the river, he is kind of like one with the river and can predict things that will happen to do with it.
Bess comes from a well-to-do family. At the start of the novel Bess has been attending Loretta Academy but she is about to find out that her father has lost his job and she is no longer the well off girl she was. Bess returns home to her mother, father and sister Isabel. Isabel is suffering a broken heart as her beau dumped her after her father lost his job. Bess is determined to cheer her up but can the deep sadness from a broken heart ever really heal? A tragedy occurs that leaves Bess knowing what she wants from her life and that is Tom Cole and a life with him no matter what her family thinks.
There were so many things in this novel that I enjoyed. It really has to be read and experienced first hand to really understand the depth of things going on. Bess was a dressmaker and I don’t know why but I love to read about the making of clothes so this was also an intriguing point of the book for me. The history was a huge plus for me as it is in any novel I read. When I can learn something, I’m impressed. I feel a little more in tune with my own Canadian history now. The characters are all well developed and Bess and Tom will grab your heart and not let go throughout the entire journey. It was also interesting to read about the struggles that families went through in Canada with the war going on and their men off fighting. Within the book as well are actual newspaper articles and pictures which made it even more interesting.
One of my favorite quotes in the book (and there are many) comes from the beginning of the novel when Bess first sets eyes on Tom…
- ‘As always, our procession paused at the falls, and I looked into the water of the upper river, at the round stones of the riverbed, each large enough to resist being torn from its resting place and flung over the brink. Clear water hurtled past the stones, then shattered to white as it plunged to the river below. Standing there at the brink of the falls, I asked for a young man to be spared, a young man for me’. (pg 14, advanced reader’s copy)
This novel made me laugh and it made me cry. The ending gave me shivers as the past comes back to save the future in a way. I would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for a historical novel with a good old fashioned love story. It’s one of my favorites this year! Don’t forget to check out Cathy’s guest post and giveaway that she was kind enough to share with us yesterday.
You can visit Cathy Marie Buchanan’s website here. The Day The Falls Stood Still was released August 25 and you can buy it here in the US and here in Canada. My thanks to Diane for my review copy of The Day The Falls Stood Still. I’m going to leave you with the book trailer. Enjoy…