To Capture What We Cannot Keep: A Novel
A subdued love story, juxtaposed against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin is beautiful both in its packaging and its tale. Caitriona Wallace is a widow who now works as a chaperone for a wealthy Scottish family. Émile is a bachelor who struggles between following his passion and feeling pressure to take over the family business and estate and settle down. It’s Paris, February 1887 when Cait and Émile first meet in a hot air balloon, which sets into motion a kind of romance and melancholy that helps us escape from our current world into an old-time Paris.
When they once again find themselves in Paris, the novel navigates the controversy of Cait and Émile’s relationship despite their differences in class and status and that of a tower that was to be the first of its kind. It is not a fast-paced story, but it does have a great depiction of Paris.
Beatrice Colin describes a perfect combination of the grittiness and impressiveness that is associated with Paris, without over-romanticizing. And the Eiffel Tower is an impressive center as both a literal structure and as the structure for the story.
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