I think that it was mainly the characters. Other than Tom, the "romantic lead", I found the characters (including the first-person narrator) to be very wooden and 2-dimensional. There also seemed to be no point to the book - after Tom spends his life fighting against the hydroelectric companies who are stealing water from the river to generate electricity, we are told at the end that Niagara Falls now only has between 25 and 50 percent of the original water flowing over. I guess that Tom lived and died in vain.
Was there anything that I liked about this book? I guess that I can say the historical aspect of it. The book is set between 1915 and 1923, and even though I was obviously never alive in that time period, this book made me feel that I was really there. I have read more books set in WW1 than WW2, and so that time period is very vivid in my mind. This book, describing the advent of electricity, and life in an increasingly urban setting, and ladies fashion (Bess, the narrator, is a dressmaker), sharpens my image of the period.
So a mixed review this time. Am I glad that I read this book? Yes. Will I read it again? Probably not. Will I recommend it to a friend? Again, probably not. I'm going to take a break from new books now, and re-read some old favourites this week!