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The Day the Falls Stood Stillby Cathy Marie Buchanan
Synopses & Reviews
Steeped in the intriguing history of Niagara Falls, this is an epic love story as rich, spellbinding and majestic as the falls themselves.
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 the falls. But when she arrives, nothing is as she 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, Bess’s 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 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 falls for themselves. As the couple’s 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 debut novel.
"Set against the backdrop of WWI and Niagara Falls, this debut tells the story of young Bess Heath and her struggle to navigate a quickly modernizing world. A child of privilege, Bess sees her fortunes change when her father loses his job. Cast into poverty, her family disgraced, Bess tries to hold things together while her sister slips into depression, her father drinks and her mother withdraws. After another tragedy strikes, Bess finds comfort in the love of Tom Cole, a river man with a mysterious connection to the falls. Overcoming the deep privation of the war and their own limited means, the two begin building a life together and renew their commitment to each other and their family. Based loosely on the history of Niagara river man William 'Red' Hill, the book incorporates mock newspaper articles with limited success, but does integrate some detailed depictions of domestic life and fascinating natural history into an otherwise uneventful romance. (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In the tradition of City of Light and Fortune's Rocks comes a stunning debut novel of one family's struggle, set against the tumultuous backdrop of Niagara Falls.
"A wonderful love story . . . Buchanan weaves Niagara Falls' history and her storytelling together masterfully."
--Elle 1915. Niagara Falls. The dawn of the hydroelectric power era. Seventeen-year-old Bess Heath, who has led a sheltered existence as the younger daughter of the director of the Niagara Power Company, meets Tom Cole by chance on a trolley platform and finds herself inexplicably drawn to him--against her family's strong objections. Tom is not from their world. Rough-hewn and fearless, he lives off what the river provides and 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 who seek to harness the power of the falls for themselves. As the paths of Bess and Tom become entwined, Bess must make a painful choice between what she wants and what is best for her family and her future.
A heartrending, gripping novel about two sisters in Belle Époque Paris.
1878 Paris. Following their father’s sudden death, the van Goethem sisters find their lives upended. Without his wages, and with the small amount their laundress mother earns disappearing into the absinthe bottle, eviction from their lodgings seems imminent. With few options for work, Marie is dispatched to the Paris Opéra, where for a scant seventeen francs a week, she will be trained to enter the famous ballet. Her older sister, Antoinette, finds work as an extra in a stage adaptation of Émile Zola’s naturalist masterpiece L’Assommoir.
Marie throws herself into dance and is soon modeling in the studio of Edgar Degas, where her image will forever be immortalized as Little Dancer Aged Fourteen. There she meets a wealthy male patron of the ballet, but might the assistance he offers come with strings attached? Meanwhile Antoinette, derailed by her love for the dangerous Émile Abadie, must choose between honest labor and the more profitable avenues open to a young woman of the Parisian demimonde.
Set at a moment of profound artistic, cultural, and societal change, The Painted Girls is a tale of two remarkable sisters rendered uniquely vulnerable to the darker impulses of “civilized society.” In the end, each will come to realize that her salvation, if not survival, lies with the other.
About the Author
Cathy Marie Buchanan’s stories have appeared in several of Canada’s most respected literary journals: The Antigonish Review, The Dalhousie Review, Descant, The New Quarterly and Quarry. She holds a BSC (Honors Biochemistry) and an MBA from the University of Western Ontario. Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Ontario, she grew up amid the awe-inspiring scenery of the Niagara River and awash in the local lore. She now resides in Toronto.
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