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To Capture What We Cannot Keep

by Beatrice Colin

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin X
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2016, 304 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 2017, 304 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
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There are currently 4 reader reviews for To Capture What We Cannot Keep
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Maxine D

Enjoyed the Descriptions of Paris and The Eiffel Tower
I took a while to get into the book although I found it very easy to read and I was immediately drawn into to the setting and the characters. It wasn't until the end that the story and the characters truly came together for me. I thought they could be be more fully described in the beginning. Alice and James Arrol were rather empty. In the end it all came together for me and I would reccommend this book to anyone who loves Paris.
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Dorothy L

An Interesting Read
On the whole I liked this book. I enjoyed reading about the time period and construction of the Eiffel Tower. The perspectives and opportunities for women of that time was an important focus of the book. I did find it slow at times especially at the beginning. It did sometimes drag and I thought OK get on with it. I didn't mind the slowness myself because I read it when I was recuperating from surgery and was able to enjoy a leisurely read but I do hesitate recommending it to my book club because of its pace.
Vicki Hill

Capturing the Future
In Paris, as the Eiffel Tower is being built, Cait, a Scottish widow, and Emile, an engineer in the Tower project, struggle to move forward, together or apart. We see the impact of new technologies and opportunities on every aspect of peoples’ lives when Cait travels to Paris as paid companion for two highly impressionable Scottish charges. Cait and Emile “meet cute” in a hot-air balloon, introducing the theme of simultaneous attraction and fear of change. There are naysayers all along the way, against the Tower, against departures from the status quo. The novel throughout illuminates fascinating parallels between the emerging soaring Eiffel Tower and the building of uplifting human relationships.
Bev C

To Capture What We Cannot Keep
A focal point of this work of historical fiction is the construction of the Eiffel Tower, 1887-1889.
The novel details the relationship between a young Scottish widow of humble means, in Paris as chaperone to two wealthy Scottish charges, and a French engineer who has a decisive role in the construction of the Eiffel Tower.

" Caitriona Wallace and Emile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear."
(excerpt from library summary)

Part of my attraction to this novel is the "beautiful era" in France (La Belle Époque), usually dated from the end of the Franco-Prussian War in 1871 to the outbreak of World War I in 1914.
The novel is a fitting tour of this inventive period, including masterpieces of literature, music, art and theater.
We observe economic prosperity and innovations in science, technology and culture...in retrospect "a Golden Age."
Reading broadened my understanding of the sharp contrast of the opulence/ misery of the time, and provided the enjoyment of improbable yet hopeful love story
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