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To Capture What We Cannot Keep

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  5,297 ratings  ·  809 reviews
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
Hardcover, 291 pages
Published November 29th 2016 by Flatiron Books
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Beatrice It is a little like All the Light We Cannot See but wasn't intentional, as far as I know. My title is taken from a line from the novel. Although set i…moreIt is a little like All the Light We Cannot See but wasn't intentional, as far as I know. My title is taken from a line from the novel. Although set in France, the books cover very different periods: Doerr's is a book about children in war time. My novel is set in 1887-9 and charts the construction of the Eiffel Tower. I hope you enjoy it as much as you did Doerr's. Personally, I love reading about Paris in any historical period.(less)

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Jun 06, 2017 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for anything related to Paris, and especially the building of the Eiffel Tower? SOLD!

Two storylines that weaved together this narrative regarding the architecture and building of the Eiffel Tower and a Scottish family that is traveling to the city for vacation. Emile Nouguier was an engineer that helped design and build the tower during the late 1880's in time for the World's Fair. Enter in an extravagant family- the Arrol's and their chaperone- Mrs. Wallace. Alice & Jamie were flam
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Francophiles will flock to this beautiful historical romance, set against the revolutionary construction of the Eiffel Tower in the late 1880’s. To Capture What We Cannot Keep will entice any reader who selects this novel, to book their ticket to see this spectacular landmark. This book offered me the chance to reminisce about my two trips in the past to see the Eiffel Tower and surrounds.

To Capture What We Cannot Keep begins on a cold winter’s day in February 1887. Caitriona Wallace, a Scottish
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)
To read all of my reviews please visit Lit.Wit.Wine.Dine.

I was immediately drawn to the cover of To Capture What We Cannot Keep. Paris is one of my favorite cities. I’m also fascinated by the construction of the Eiffel Tower. In fact, I love reading about all of the World’s Fairs . Needless to say, I was really looking forward to this book.

Sadly, there was much about it that did not work for me. First, in fairness, I must admit that I’m not sure I was the intended audience for this book. At the
Jan 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To Capture What We Cannot Keep is a historical fiction romance, set in Paris during the construction of the Eiffel Tower. It's on a hot air balloon ride where Caitriona Wallace and Emile Nouguier meet. Cait is a widow and Emile is an engineer who is working on the Eiffel Tower.

When Cait first set eyes on Emile her heart skips a beat. Could this be the beginning of something or is the timing is all wrong? I enjoyed this book and found parts of it really interesting. With thanks to Goodreads firs
Cynthia Hamilton
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the things I love most about reading is being able to learn about history while being entertained. I loved To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin so much. I was hooked from the first page by her writing style. Her phrasing is so lyrical, her observations so unique, the scenes she takes us through so moody, all the while she still has the ability to hone in on universal truths that all of us can appreciate.

Set inside this fascinating look at the construction of the world’s most r
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a sweeping story of love and drama under the dreamy backdrop of late 19th century Paris. 1887 and Emile Nouguier, An engineer working with Gustave Eiffel on a tower and Scottish widower Caitriona Wallace will have their lives transformed after meeting on a hot air balloon over Paris. Cait is being paid to be a companion to youngsters Alice and Jamie and is tasked with finding the young lady a husband while keeping the lad in check. But it will be her meeting with Emile that sets of feeli ...more
Debra Schoenberger
Oct 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to find an intelligent romance novel today and this was the exception. It was intriguing to learn about the construction of the Eiffel Tower as well as the lives of the French impressionist artists living at that time. The pages flew through my fingers and I look forward to reading more from this author. ...more
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Beatrice Colin's book To Capture What We Cannot Keep would be an interesting book to read before going to Paris. I wish I had done that! The novel begins in 1886 and ends in 1889, when the Eiffel Tower (A building without a skin) is completed.
The characters in the story are realistic and believable. Mrs. Wallace (Cait), a paid companion to supervise Alice and her brother Jamie Arol, Emile Nouguier, the designer and Gustave Eiffel all bring the reader back to a very different Paris. The plight o
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book was slow , and it isn't so much focused on the construction of the Eiffel Tower as much as it is focused on the lives of the main characters. But that aside the book really picks up after the first 100 pages and you get caught between the lives of its characters, you are treated to mental images of Paris and its surroundings , the growth of all the characters is rewarding and most of all it feels real, it doesn't feel like it couldn't happen , the characters are flawed but then again t ...more
Nov 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, historical, kindle
I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

It's the late 1800s and the Eiffel Tower is still plans on paper. Cait is 30-something chaeprone to a young girl and her brother visiting Paris when they meet engineer Emile on a hot air balloon ride. Cait and Emile immediately have an undeniable spark but circumstances push them apart while faith pushes them together. Their story plays out as the backdrop shows the famous Eiffel Tower being bu
Ron Charles
Dec 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
In an age when overexposure threatens to sap the magnitude of everything’s physical presence, the Eiffel Tower is one of those rare treasures that never loses its power to awe. Constructed for the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, the iron lattice rose 1,000 feet into the sky, soaring past the Washington Monument to become, for decades, the tallest structure in the world. Guy de Maupassant called it a “giant and disgraceful skeleton,” and Léon Bloy dubbed it a “truly tragic lamppost,” but it nonethele ...more
MaryannC. Book Freak
This wasn't an action packed read but lovely and enjoyable nonetheless. It is a story of contemplation and self realization in the course of Cait Wallace's life when she is hired to chaperone a young pair of siblings as they visit Paris during their Grand Tour. Set against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower as it's being built, Cait meets Emile Nouguier, a designer of the tower who creates an awakening in Cait to want more than just being a widowed chaperone on the brink of spinsterhood. Again thi ...more
The Candid Cover (Olivia & Lori)
Full Review on The Candid Cover

3.5 Stars

There is something glamorous and intriguing about this time in history that just draws you into this book. Colin has created a unique and interesting story surrounding the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. There are also beautiful passages and gorgeous descriptions of the fashion and lifestyle during the time period. However, the main character, Cait, goes through so many personality changes that I had a hard time liking her as a character towards
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Originally published at Desert Island Book Reviews

I love all things French and especially Parisian, so when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. Set in 1880s Paris during the construction of the Eiffel Tower, To Capture What We Cannot Keep is a historical novel, but it’s also a romance. Not a genre romance, but a story of a man and a woman who fall in love and want desperately to be together. Cait and Émile certainly had their challenges, but I couldn’t help but cheer them on, even when the
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars.
This is an atmospheric novel. A romance combined with the story of the building of the Eiffel Tower. The story starts in 1887 when Caitriona Wallace, companion to Alice and Jamie, a spoiled rich young sister and brother, meets Emile Nouguier in a hot air balloon over Paris. Emile is an engineer working with Gustave Eiffel on the tower. Cait and Emile are attracted to each other but their different social classes present obviously insurmountable barriers.
The setting and ti
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Not only was there a love story, there was a story about the building of the Eiffel Tower. The latter being very interesting. I didn't realize all the turmoil and protests about having it built. Also, the builders were thinking it would only stand for 20 years.

I love historical fiction and learning about different things. So I pleasantly surprised when the book got into the details of the Tower. I also didn't know that Gustave Eiffel was involved in the Panama Canal, as well.
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In 1889, at 324 meters, the Eiffel Tower was the tallest structure in the world.

Gustave Eiffel at the time of construction of the Eiffel Tower was already a well-known engineer. The tower was the most controversial structure of its time while being build. Once finished, it became the most popular and famous construction, solidifying Gustave Eiffel’s fame.

But who designed the Eiffel Tower? It was Emile Nouguier and Maurice Koechlin.

This book explores a little-known figure of Emile Nouguier. The
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
I love historical fiction and I was intrigued by the blurb for this book which promised details about the engineer who designed the Eiffel Tower and why it was built.

I thoroughly enjoyed the beginning of the book when we meet Caitriona Wallace, a young widow who is employed as a chaperone to two wealthy charges and Emile Nouguier who is the designer of the Eiffel tower. The two meet in a ride in a hot air balloon, although they are tethered to the ground all of the time it is still a unique expe
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it
I was intrigued by the cover & description of this book. The story, while enjoyable to read, just wasn't as captivating as I'd hoped.

Perhaps it was BC's choice to allude to various events throughout the book and let the reader decide what happened, but I found that a bit frustrating. Also, the formatting of the book had me scratching my head a few times as it wasn't overly clear that at certain points you were reading a flashback. I had to go back and re-read to get straight what was going on.

Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Quiet, lovely, and sad. A slow read, yet memorable even when the story lacked urgency. And interesting the way the author put together her cast of flawed characters.
Laurie • The Baking Bookworm
A Historical Fiction novel with a romance in Paris! Ahhh, l'amour!

What struck me about this novel was the historical detail that Colin brings to her story. Paris and the Eiffel Tower's very early days were clearly described for the reader and each played roles within the plot. This is a very atmospheric read and Colin places her readers deep in the heart of 19th century Paris with its culture, food and social mores (including the limitations for women at the time). She also shows the dichotomy
Regina Lindsey
Boy meets girl, boy falls for know the drill.

But, even though the structure is totally predictable this is just a gem of a novel even from someone who finds most romance novels trite even if they are fashioned in a historical novel with some really solid writing.

Set against the backdrop of the construction and opening of the Eiffel Tower for the 100 year anniversary of the French Revolution and in advance of of the 1889 World's Fair, Caitriona Wallace, a Scottish widow in her early
Jenna Rigsbee
Colin's book about the Cait Wallace and her charges' in Paris during the construction of the Eiffel Tower really disappointed me. I imagined I would be falling into the magical word of Paris during one of its most beautiful ages. Instead I was given an odd omniscient narrative by one who sometimes knew everything and other times just sort of sat there.
This book just couldn't hold my interest. My mind would wander multiple times in single paragraphs. There were occasional stunning descriptions o
Dec 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
To Capture What We Cannot Keep

Impossible-to-remember title! (Authors, don’t do that!) Impossible to put down, though (at least for me). I must admit, I bought this book — preordered it, in fact — mostly on the basis of the gorgeous jacket illustration (Eiffel Tower, large snowflakes, metallic gold filigree border) and because I enjoy almost anything about Paris or the Eiffel Tower. And fortunately, this time it worked out for the best. The book is quite well written, and provides a lot of backgr
May 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Reread in 2020
Still one of my fav. It’s like the cheapest trip to Paris you can buy 😍.
The references to places and artists, painters remain my favorite part of this book. The atmosphere and setting as well, if you’re not interested in any of those aspects in this type of historical fiction then skip this one, can’t recommend. The audiobook narrated by Polly Stone is simply magical. I read the physical copy the first time, and listened to the audiobook for my reread and she remains as one of my
Davida Chazan
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
On the backdrop of the construction of the Eiffel Tower, Beatrice Colin builds a story that is perfect for those who like some romance with their historical fiction. You can read more about this novel in my review here. ...more
Nov 11, 2016 rated it liked it
As I’m sure most of the people in the world know of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It has always been a deep fascination for me. I have to admit growing up I questioned why it was built but never really wondered at who built it and the ingenuity that went into it. As I got a bit older, I did think on that and about the people who built the tower. I was delighted when this book came along. During that era, the tower became the largest man-made structure in the world. As it was being construct ...more
Nov 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
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
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.

How can you resist the year's most beautiful cover? The star of this lovely novel is really the Eiffel Tower, and its story is what will stick with the reader after the book is over. The decision to use a real historical figure (Nouguier) was so smart; I already love side characters who are fleshed out into full novels, but to have it be a little-known figure in the construction of the Eiffel Tower was brilliant. Beatrice Colin's details of Be
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I'm a novelist/radio dramatist. I've written seven novels (two for children) and numerous plays for BBC Radio 4.

My last novel, To Capture What We Cannot Keep was published in late 2016/early 2017.

I am inspired by new places and old books, snatches of conversation and boards on Pinterest (seed catalogues from the 19th century!) I am a list-maker, a grower, on a good year, of fruit and vegetables,

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