Author(s): Beatrice Colin
Based on one of the two engineers working for Gustave Eiffel to design the tower for the World Fair of 1889.
In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and Émile 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. 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.
Winter in 19th-century Paris is wonderfully evoked and Beatrice Colin's prose is suitably mesmerising for this rather beautiful love story. - The Times