Paris, a city unequivocally associated with romance, is front and center in Beatrice Colin’s latest novel, To Capture What We Cannot Keep, an unlikely love story involving the Eiffel Tower’s real-life engineer, Émile Nouguier, and a 30-year-old Scots widow.
We begin on a cold and rainy morning in February of 1887, inside a hot air balloon. Caitriona Wallace, known as Cait, is chaperoning the unconventional Arrol siblings as they tour Europe on their rich uncle’s dime. Émile and Cait’s chance meeting seems more awkward than electric, but leaves behind a spark.
Émile’s prestige and promising career is a stark contrast to Cait, whose gender, age and marital status point toward a grim and choiceless future. But love is not always reasonable—something Colin proves over and over again as Émile and Cait’s secret relationship advances.
Colin ably brings to life a time before the iron lattice of the Eiffel Tower became an iconic part of the Parisian landscape. To Capture What We Cannot Keep is part history lesson and part thrilling love story, leading to an ending full of depth, promise and hope.