Book Review: The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan
Publisher: Voice
Publication date: August 2009
ISBN: 1401340970

Source: review copy sent by author

The Day the Falls Stood Still 

Bess returns from school to find her family in ruin - her father lost his job and took to drinking, her mother sews dresses to pay the bills, and her sister's engagement has been called off, leaving her devastated.  Amidst all this tragedy, she meets Tom Cole.  Tom is not her parents' idea of a suitable match, but Bess is drawn to Tom and his uncanny ability to predict the river and Niagara Falls.  Will she be able to choose love over duty?  And will her family survive that choice?

Things I Liked:
I loved the setting of this book, World War I in Niagara Falls, Canada.  The story of the falls is woven completely and effortlessly into the lives of all the characters.  I loved hearing the stories of daredevils and industrial wrangling surrounding that magnificent location.  I've only been to Niagara once, on the US side, but it left a big impression on me.  Not only does it have this setting, but a sweet and strong love story as well.  I liked how realistic the relationship between Bess and Tom was - everything was not smooth and certain.  Things didn't just work out for them.  A very well done debut.

Things I Didn't Like:
Often, there was a bit too much river detail.  It sometimes left me distracted and a little bored.  Also, it isn't really a happy book and I found Bess' loss of faith rather disconcerting.  I expected it to at least resolve in the end, but was not pleased with the resolution offered.  It cast kind of a negative look at religion and God, which made me unhappy.

Reminded me a bit of A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly

s-factor: !@
some, not overwhelming amounts

mrg-factor: XXX
quite a few descriptive passages

v-factor: ->->
some descriptions of death, not gory just realistic

Overall rating: ****

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