Friday, November 25, 2011

Book 97: The Day the Falls Stood Still

The Day the Falls Stood Still by Cathy Marie Buchanan was a book that I just finished up thanks to a loan from my friend. It was a book I was warned was only okay to poor in quality from both the friend who loaned it to me and by my friend who helps to co-write the blog a Novel Idea. I will have to say I agree completely. The book was underwhelming even though it had a neat setting and premise.

The Day the Falls Stood Still is a historical fiction book that takes place in the early 1900s in Niagara Falls. It’s suppose to be both a location based book and character driven just like Moloka’i. The book is loosely based on the life of William Red Hill through the character of Thomas Cole. The book is actually through his wife’s point of view and explains how she went from privilege upbringing to a lower class where she has to work just as much as Thomas Cole does.  The book also interweaves some mock newspaper clippings that are almost entirely based on the real life accounts.  It also brings up some great points about how the electric plants along the river could affect the general wildlife in the area.

If I didn’t read Moloka’i right before hand, I think my biggest complaint was the fact the book was really predictable. Ever major event, you knew it would happen. You want an author to lead you by the hand, but not to the point where there is no surprise in the novel.

But I did read Moloka’I right before hand. Since these books mirrored each other in some major way, the flaws were really highlighted in my mind. They were both historical fiction books that have an alluring setting, similar timelines and are character driven.  The Day The Falls Stood Still never came to life the all-encompassing setting like the leper colony did.  Part of that was due to the fact there were lacking details of daily life that felt real and genuine. I also never fully connected with Bess so it makes it tough to want to continue reading the book when it’s character driven. There was something about her that made it that I didn’t like which is odd since normally I am drawn to strong women characters who aren’t afraid of working for a living and supporting her family like Bess did.

I’m glad that my friend loaned me this book. At times it’s was an interesting book. I learned a lot about Niagara Falls.  But in the end, I didn’t care for the book. I can see why this was part of her summer of bad book endings and I wish I read this book at a different time this year so some of the flaws didn’t seem so glaring.

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