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 characters were a bit too good to be true, it wasn t chock full of quotable passages, and it doesn t do anything particularly fresh But it carried me away like the fast flowing waters of the Niagara River I want to set the story up but give nothing away, so in brief, the story is set on the Canadian side of the falls from 1915 1923 The development of hydro electric power provides much needed jobs and the convenience of electricity, but also irrevocably changes the river, much to the dismay of Tom Cole, whose father has provided him with a sixth sense type of knowledge of the river, the falls, the ice and all of its dangers The narrator, Bess is from privileged society, her father providing well given his position in the hydro power industry But WWI comes along and changes industrial needs, makes his aluminum dreams for the company a near disaster and costs, him his job His family s financial situation become a shambles The story hinges on Bess and Tom I feel I ve done an injustice by not making the book soundinteresting or literary But Buchanan is athan capable writer, with just enough descriptive detail of place and daily life always given and just enough insightful thought revealed to make you wonder what action Bess will take Just enough foreshadowing constantly compelled me on But doggone it, to say muchwould spoil the fun of reading it I recommend it to readers who enjoy historical fiction with strong, female characters, tragedy and, of course, romance.
Great read 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 surrounding the Great Lakes basin.
While not as factual as Lightfoot s recount, Cathy Marie Buchanan s The Day the Falls Stood Still succeeds in capturing the breathtaking spirit of the rivers and lakes that contain the unshakable spirit in the heart of the north What begins as a typical society girl s junior year at a local prep school on the Canadian side of the falls, becomes a heart wrenching love story between man and woman but also between mankind and the river.
Set in the early to mid twentieth century, the story is told through the eyes of seventeen year old Bess Heath, the second and youngest daughter of a man who, prior to the beginning of the story, has been a social and financial success in the hydro electric efforts in town Immediately before Bess returns home for the summer, her father runs into a bit of trouble when a prediction fails to bring success to his fellow businessmen He is let go from the industry and sets in motion a drama that rolls forward like a stack of dominoes Caught in the inevitable social recourse of her parents plummeting social stature Bess and her sister Isabel are left to wonder what their glitzy upbringing has prepared them for and where to turn.
Amidst the downfall of the industrial elite, there is a softer voice The voice of the river slips quietly through town, in the form of Thomas Cole, grandson of a famous river man who wasriver than man, metaphysically and physically In a melding of two worlds, Bess and Tom find their lives intertwined in ways that challenge both the unstoppable progress of the hydro era and the fading grandeur of the water that is their livelihood.
To say that this is a historical fiction romance is to completely miss the point There is history, steeped in incredible drama, which found me at my computer in the wee hours of the morning, searching fortidbits about the period And, of course, there is the love story, both believable and magical However, those two things are not the elements that drive this book It is Buchanan s complete dedication to inviting her readers to fall in love with the falls, to imagine themselves there, wading waist deep in the stories, the tragedy and the beauty.
The story reads a good deal like Steinbeck sdetailed works in its straightforward prose but also carries the depth and honest crafting of characters that one would expect to find in East of Eden or Grapes of Wrath Even though it s a small book, it carries the epic weight of something much heavier The Day the Falls Stood Still is an absolutely stunning debut and I am waiting at the edge of my seat to readby Buchanan.
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 is based, with a bit less turbulence With the exception of a couple of river rescue scenes, there is not a whole lot of excitement in this tale.
It takes place from 1915 1923 on the Canadian side of the great falls, and I saw it basically as a sort of love story of this wonder of the world Iris is enrolled in a private school The summer of her 17th birthday, her world totally changes due to 2 significant events One I will not divulge, the other being meeting Tom Cole, The book reveals their meeting and subsequent romance This is not of the bodice ripping, overly dramatic kind, which I greatly appreciated Though there is passion, the author chose apractical approach to their relationship She made it so real and so very much of the times Two very important themes that are dealt with here are the negative effects of establishing power companies on the strength and volume of the river that goes over the falls, and the questioning of the supposed unquestioning belief in God what some call faith People who are devout might have some problem with the development of the narrator on these terms I found it extremely intelligent and grounded I became very involved in these characters and really appreciated the lack of melodrama here There were many places where it could have occurred a particular one with the relationship between the narrator and her best friend from school This is an excellent first novel, and seeing how much I loved her second, I eagerly await her third.
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 of the history and folk lore of the Falls I liked the literary references, the history of the falls and the conflict over harnessing their power.
Buchanan creates likeable and sympathetic characters in Tom Cole and Bess Heath She paints a tender portrait of their courtship and a realistic one of their life together after they are married and Tom returns from World War I.
The story is compelling enough to make it a quick read and the writing is good enough to make it an easy one There is a particular turn of events that seemed a little bit unlikely to me but I liked the story despite it.
I thought the commentary on fashion and the economy and how it impacted dress making was interesting as were the dress making details themselves There are plenty of period details that take the reader back in time.
Overall an enjoyable and moving book that I would recommend.
And if you are looking for another historical fiction at the falls I recommend Lauren Belfer s City of Light which I loved.
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 AndYear Old Bess Heath Has An Explosive Effect When They First Meet On A Trolley Platform, Bess Immediately Recognizes The Chemistry Between Them, And The Feeling Is Mutual But The Hopes Of Young Love Are Constrained By TheConventions Of Niagara Falls, Ontario Tom S Working Class Pedigree Doesn T Suit Bess S Family, Despite Their Recent Fall From Grace Sacked From His Position At A Hydroelectric Power Company, Bess S Father Has Taken To Drink, Forcing Her Mother To Take In Sewing For The Society Women Who Were Once Her Peers Bess Pitches In As She Pines For Tom, But At Her Young Age, She S Unable To Fully Realize How Drastically Her World Is About To Change Set Against The Resounding Backdrop Of The Falls, Cathy Marie Buchanan S Carefully Researched, Capaciously Imagined Debut Novel Entwines The Romantic Trials Of A Young Couple With The Historical Drama Of The Exploitation Of The River S Natural Resources The Current Of The River, Like That Of The Human Heart, Is Under Threat Sometimes It Seems Like The River Is Being Made Into This Measly Thing, Says Tom, Bemoaning The Shortsighted Schemes Of The Power Companies The River S Been Bound Up With Cables And Concrete And Steel, Like A Turkey At Christmastime Skillfully Portraying Individuals, Families, A Community, And An Environment Imperiled By Progress And The Devastations Of The Great War, The Day the Falls Stood Still Beautifully Evokes The Wild Wonder Of Its Setting, A Wonder That Always Overcomes Any Attempt To Tame It But At The Same Time, Buchanan S Tale Never Loses Hold Of The Gripping Emotions Of Tom And Bess S Intimate Drama The Result Is A Transporting Novel That Captures Both The Majesty Of Nature And The Mystery Of LoveAlso, Download The Free Study Guide 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 takes place just at the onset and during the Great War a time when many returned to unemployment but also were ravaged as men they had seen the unspeakable and not many emerged unscathed The power of the falls and the horror of war somehow connect in this story I loved the way the author included photos of the Falls and the generator houses of the Hydro electric plants She obviously researched the history of the Falls but she also had a keen knowledge of Niagara and the surrounding area You really felt you knew the lay of the river and surrounding area All in all a good story with a great background It makes me want to really see the Falls in person to admire the power, majesty and yet awesome danger of them.