The Day the Falls Stood Still
By: Cathy Marie Buchanan
Published: August 2009
Published by: Hyperion
Format Read: eBook, Kobo
Genre: Historical fiction
Bess Heath was raised on stories about the people who tested their fate with Niagara Falls and the river leading to it, but none was more thrilling than the River Man, who saved many lives, simply because he had a deep understanding and respect for the world wonder. As a member of an upper-class family, Bess never would have thought she would fall in love with the lowly River Man’s grandson. Beginning in 1915, The Day the Falls Stood Still chronicles her and Tom Cole’s love story, during a time of great change for the town and the country with the growth of the hydro power plants along the river and the environmental impacts they had.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit Niagara Falls several times over the years, but I knew very little about its history, especially during the early days of hydro-electricity in Canada. I appreciated how the author fused the prominent issues of that time into the story. It explored the environmental and moral sacrifices these advances brought.
Buchanan crafted a fictional story that was inspired by the real life River Man William “Red” Hill and his heroic rescues. I enjoy when a historical fiction gives the reader a good image of how daily life was during a specific time period and I felt The Day the Falls Stood Still did just that.
It took me some time to really get into the story. It wasn’t until the end that I really understood what drew Bess and Tom together. However once I was hooked, I became very immersed in the plot. I also liked the old photographs that began each section.
I would recommend Cathy Marie Buchanan’s The Day the Falls Stood Still to historical fiction fans.