This thoroughly wrought work of engaging historical fiction, based in small part on a true story, tells the tale of Bess Heath, a 17-year-old girl whose family has fallen on hard times, and Tom Cole, a so-called "river man" whose life is bound to the fast-rushing waters of Niagara Falls. With World War I ongoing and the hydroelectric age threatening the natural phenomena which has defined both their lives, Bess and Tom find love and trouble in equal measures, even as everything they've ever known is changing....
Voice actor Karen White brings a startling and compelling vulnerability to her performance of this stirring audiobook, embodying Bess with great emotion and apparent ease, and making this a work not to be missed!
It is 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 graduation day at her boarding school, she is impatient to return to her picturesque family home near Niagara Falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she had left it. Her father has lost his job at the power company, her mother is reduced to taking in sewing from the society ladies she once entertained, and Isabel, her vivacious older sister, is a shadow of her former self. She has shut herself in her bedroom, barely eating---and harboring a secret.
The night of her return, Bess meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform. She finds herself inexplicably drawn to him---against her family's strong objections. He is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides, and he has an uncanny ability to predict the whims of the falls. His daring river rescues render him a local hero and cast him as a threat to the power companies that seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As their lives become more fully entwined, Bess is forced to make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future. Set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls, at a time when daredevils shot the river rapids in barrels and great industrial fortunes were made and lost as quickly as lives disappeared, The Day the Falls Stood Still is an intoxicating novel.
Thoroughly enjoyed this book - the writing was graceful and narration excellent. I'm not generally a fan of historical fiction, but delighted to make this exception - the ordinary view of an extraordinary life and time was much appreciated, and even spurred a bit of historical and geographical research.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I loved this book. It is uniquely written with the main character telling the story. It is an excellent look back to life in these times and appreciate how different their lives were.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Cathy Marie Buchanan really knows how to write an emotional novel. i love the way she weaves her tales around real historical facts...finding all the information about the "real life" characters hers are based on is almost as exciting as the story itself.
Buchanan is so imaginative...and her characters are extremely easy to love with your entire heart. Bess is another poignant narrator with whom i have empathy for and also admire. everything she did for her love, her family, her beliefs (or lack thereof) was exactly what i would have done. at least, as i listened to this, i wished that.
the use of the falls (niagra falls) was extremely well done. as the story went on, i had the feeling i was living there...and that i, too, relied on the falls to hold up my town, my families livelihood, etc.
Karen White was a perfect narrator for this book. she had amazing emotion that came through in her reading. i felt like Bess herself had come to life and was reading her story to me.
i really enjoyed this. not quite as much as The Painted Girls...but really really close.
2 of 3 people found this review helpful
The characters are lovable and well-drawn. The story reflects reality with love and pain blended with magic and tragedy, suspense and wonder.
I was drawn to this book. Following the main character's life, you almost get two stories. It isn't very exciting. I finished it, but I wasn't very emotionally tied to the book at all. Not the worst book I have listened to but not the best.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful