Author: Beatrice Colin
Published by Flatiron Books on November 29, 2016
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eBook, ARC
Source: Flatiron Books, NetGalley
Book Rating: 8/10
Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love.
In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile Nouguier meet in a hot air balloon, floating high above Paris, France–a moment of pure possibility. But back on firm ground, their vastly different social strata become clear. Cait is a widow who because of her precarious financial situation is forced to chaperone two wealthy Scottish charges. Émile is expected to take on the bourgeois stability of his family’s business and choose a suitable wife. As the Eiffel Tower rises, a marvel of steel and air and light, the subject of extreme controversy and a symbol of the future, Cait and Émile must decide what their love is worth.
Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and Émile live–one of corsets and secret trysts, duels and Bohemian independence, strict tradition and Impressionist experimentation. To Capture What We Cannot Keep, stylish, provocative, and shimmering, raises probing questions about a woman’s place in that world, the overarching reach of class distinctions, and the sacrifices love requires of us all.
Incredibly atmospheric, extremely alluring, and remarkably insightful.
This story is predominantly set in Paris in the late 1880s when the city was bursting with industrialization, immigration, artistic freedom, and high fashion; and is, ultimately, a story about familial obligations, social acceptance, independence, morality, impropriety, secrets and passion.
The prose is clear, precise, descriptive and fluid. The characters are genuine, engaging, and complex. And the story has two distinct plots; one involving the ingenuity, foresight, hardships and struggles involved in the creation and completion of the iconic Eiffel Tower; and the other the budding romance developing between Émile Nouguier, a wealthy, upper-class engineer, and Caitriona Wallace, the lowly, Scottish widower.
I will say that although I enjoyed reading this novel I did find the ending a little lacklustre and wish that it had just a little bit more.
However, overall this book is well written, well researched, with a varied cast of characters that is well worth the read.
This book is due to be published on November 29, 2016.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to NetGalley, especially Flatiron Books, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.