To Capture What We Cannot Keep

Beatrice Colin

RRP: £7.99

3 August 2017

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760291730

RRP: £4.99

2 February 2017

Published by Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781952533785

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

A hugely satisfying, romantic and evocative read.
Woman & Home

Colin is a talented literary engineer.
Washington Post

To be in Paris to witness the construction of the Eiffel Tower is a magnificent occasion...This exquisitely written, shadowy historical novel will appeal to a wide variety of readers, including fans of the Belle Époque.
Library Journal (starred review)

Colin has a sure hand with the atmospheres of both cities and with the mores and dress of the period, and she manages to continually raise the stakes for her characters without ever resorting to melodrama. A novel of soaring ambitions, public and private.
Kirkus Reviews

A must-read for every fan of Paris, for every fan of the fight for love against the odds, and for every fan of great and deeply satisfying storytelling.
David Gillham, bestselling author of CITY OF WOMEN

To Capture What We Cannot Keep is reminiscent of the Paris it so beautifully, hauntingly brings to life: it's romantic, moving and memorable.
Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author of MIDWIVES

A compelling story of love constricted by the demands of separate social classes. Told against the splendidly absorbing background of the building of the Eiffel Tower, it emerges as fresh and different. A captivating read.
Kate Alcott, bestselling author of THE DRESSMAKER