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To capture what we cannot keep
2016
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  Library Journal Review

To be in Paris to witness the construction of the Eiffel Tower is a magnificent occasion: to have a hand, however small, in its building, even better. Jamie Arrol, the nephew of a successful Scottish engineer, talks himself into an apprenticeship. His sister, Alice, and their chaperone, Caitriona Wallace, travel with him, for it is just possible that -Alice might find an acceptable husband in the City of Light. And what of Cait, a widow only too happy to escape penury and the gloom of Scotland for a while? It is she who finds something fleetingly beautiful, a love that in the end must be left behind. Hauntingly melancholic in places, Colin's (The Glimmer Palace) story moves like wisps of fog through Parisian streets, capturing moments of both gaiety and tragedy. VERDICT This exquisitely written, shadowy historical novel will appeal to a wide variety of readers, including fans of the Belle Époque. [See Prepub Alert, 5/2/16.]-Pamela O'Sullivan, Coll. at Brockport Lib., SUNY © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Summary
<p> 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. </p> <p>In February 1887, Caitriona Wallace and #65533;%mile 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. #65533;%mile 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 #65533;%mile must decide what their love is worth.</p> <p>Seamlessly weaving historical detail and vivid invention, Beatrice Colin evokes the revolutionary time in which Cait and #65533;%mile 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.</p>
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