The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

fallsReviewed by Cy Hilterman

As a person that has made many trips to Niagara Falls during my years, I especially looked forward to reading this book. I was not disappointed. Cathy Buchanan has written a lovely love story combined with some of the many historical occurrences in the Niagara Falls area. While the main characters in the story are fictional their deeds are very closely aligned with true history. As I read I felt as though I could feel the mist from the falls, the rapids, the whirlpool, the islands above the falls as the thunderous currents flowed by, the gorges with their many marks from old water levels, and see the power of the falls, some of which, the power companies have diverted for mass electricity.

The family of Bess Heath is not rich but they live as many others did in 1915, from week to week. Her father was one of the directors of the Niagara Power Company but his drinking was his undoing and he lost that job. He kept his secret for a while but the family had to eat and live. Bess had a sister, Isabel, who was not in the best of health so was unable to work. When the family finally discovered that the father had lost his job, Bess’s mother, Margaret, went back to the only thing she knew, dressmaking. She even had Bess learning the craft so she could assist the family but with school, Bess did not have much time. Bess decided not to return to school and helped her mother with the sewing, learning as she went.

Bess and Tom Cole met each other “accidentally on purpose” seeing each other on Tom’s daily walks. Bess was currently engaged but she wasn’t sure she wanted anyone but Tom! Tom was an expert on the entire falls area, a subject his father had taught him. Tom was so perturbed that the electric power companies were taking so much of the water to produce electricity. He wanted Niagara Falls to stay the way it always had been with a constant full flow above and below the falls and whirlpool. But this wasn’t to be with the advancement of power in Canada and the United States. Tom was well known for his rescues of many that fell, jumped, or went over the falls or into the river by plan. He knew every rock and every situation that would cause unusual rockslides or changing of currents.

The love story and the history of the area are wound into a delightful story by the author. She can spin a love story as not many can. There is too much in this story to give away the different plots so I will not go there. You must read this if you have any romance or adventure or any combination of each.

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