Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Day the Falls Stood Still, by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Day the Falls Stood Still
Cathy Marie Buchanan
Voice-Hyperion Books
September 2009
320 pp.

Bess Heath is leaving for the summer, after finishing her Junior year as a student at Loretto Academy in Niagra Falls. At the commencement ceremonies for the graduating seniors, she learns her father has lost his job as the director of the Niagra Power Company. This will surely negate her return to Loretto in the fall as the family’s lifestyle suddenly plummets to a tenuous existence. In order to make ends meet her mother takes in sewing, her father drinks. Oddly, her sister, is also abandoned by her fiancee, the son of her father’s former boss.

When her sister is found dead by Tom Cole, the riverman, she goes with him to see her. Only then does she learn the secret her sister held close. With Tom as an ally she is able to silence the truth to protect her sister’s memory. She is drawn to Tom, an attractive, strong, sensitive man, with a calm demeanor, who loves the outdoors.

He is the grandson of the infamous Fergus Cole who knew the river better than anyone. Tom has grown up along side the river. It in his blood. He knows the river, he can feel it. “He just knows.” Like his grandfather, he becomes a hero, saving the people who try to challenge the river. He loves the natural world and he worries about the power company and the drain on the river. His integrity and marriage are on the line when he must compromise his position and beliefs in order to provide for his family.

After her sister’s death, Bess struggles with grief and her belief in God. She has difficulty finding meaning in life and Tom tells her,

“But there is meaning in everything. In dew. And wind. Even in the birds squawking at dawn.” (151)

This is a historical fiction novel, based on the history of Niagra Falls and some of the unusual events that took place as well as the development of the Niagra Power Company, and the treaties that were enacted. The Niagra Parks website has further information.

One of the most moving and inspiring books I have read in a long time. I sobbed for pages to the end stopping only for tissues. During the final scene I realized I was holding my breath with anticipation. This has heart tugging drama that rips through to your core and will make you think as Bess will say, “Faith is believing without proof.”

Cathy Marie Buchanan has gifted us a beautiful story of faith and love, a stellar debut that should be on everyone's TBR list.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

I love this line: "I sobbed for pages to the end stopping only for tissues." This sounds like a book I would have to read when my husband is out of town so I could sob uninhibitedly! :--)

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Excellent review - I really enjoyed this book.

Anna said...

Guess I better have tissues nearby when I read this one! I can tell how much you liked this one, it really shines through in your review.

Diary of an Eccentric

Serena said...

I really loved this story...and that's why it made my best of 2009 list!

Iliana said...

Wow, how can I not put this one on my list! Thank you for such a great review!

Ti said...

I did not sob over this one, but it was a sort of melancholy tale for sure. I was touched by it in many ways. The term "delicately beautiful" comes to mind.

Also, the author is so supportive of book blogs. I really dig that :)

Cathy Marie Buchanan said...

Wow! I am practically sobbing (with joy) over your review for my debut.

Also, Ti, I love being considered "so supportive of book blogs."

If any of you wonderful bloggers know your counterparts in the UK please pass along word about the book as it launches there Feb 4th.


wisteria said...

Rhapsody...LOL...I know what you mean about sobbing without an audience. My greyhounds even knew I was messed up.
Diane..Thanks. I so glad you liked it too.

wisteria said...

Anna, If I read it in 2009, it would be in my top pics.

wisteria said...

Serena..(See response to Anna)
I totally agree with your selection. It is a standout.

wisteria said...

Iliana..Thanks, I hope you won't forget this one.

Ti...I like the term delicately beautiful. It is a special novel I will hold dear.

wisteria said...

Cathy Marie...So well deserved. I can't thank you enough for writing such a moving story that lingers with me still.

wisteria said...

Cathy Marie...So well deserved. I can't thank you enough for writing such a moving story that lingers with me still.

Alice said...

I'm a fan of uninhibited sobbing so yes, this sounds just like the type of book for me. Thanks for the review!