15 November 2016

Today's Read: To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin

To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice ColinImagine you're a widow in 1880s Scotland. As a young, respectable woman, what are your options? Your two major choices would be remarriage or to take one of the few available suitable jobs. Caitriona Wallace decided to work:

The sand on the Champ de Mars was powdered with snow. A huge blue-and-white-striped hot-air balloon swooned on its ropes in front of Ecole Militaire, the gondola tethered to a small wooden platform strung out with grubby yellow bunting. Three figures, two women and a man, hurried from a hired landau on the avenue de Suffren across the parade ground toward the balloon.

"Attendez," called out Caitriona Wallace. "Nous arrivons!"
To Capture What We Cannot Keep by Beatrice Colin (Flatiron Books, 2016, p. 3)

Quick Facts

  • Setting: 1880s Paris, with flashbacks to Scotland and elsewhere in France
  • Circumstances: Thirty-one-year-old Caitriona takes a job chaperoning two wealthy young adults—brother and sister Jamie and Alice—from their native Scotland to Paris, where the Eiffel Tower is rising into the sky. Emile Nouguier, second in command of the tower construction, is being pressured by his mother to marry and take over the family business. Meanwhile, thanks to Emile's ex-lover, Jamie and Alice are discovering the city's scandalous underworld. Although Cait and Emile are attracted to each other, their relationship seems doomed by family and cultural expectations.
  • Genre: historical fiction; adult audience
  • Themes: women's issues, social prejudice, sociocultural norms, class differences
  • Main characters: Emile, a senior civil engineer from a well-off family; Emile's mother, who wants him to find a financially secure and upper-class wife; Cait, a young widow trying to make a future for herself; Jamie and Alice, well-off Scots who discover the wilder, arty side of Paris
  • What the reviewers say: Everyone mentions that Colin gets the historical details just right, from the fashions to the social mores and the construction of the Eiffel tower. The plotting is complex enough to offer some surprises and provides a nice balance between the romance and the deeper issues. To Capture What We Cannot Keep also explores 1880s technology and the way the world was changing as France looked forward to celebrating the 100th anniversary of their revolution.
  • Other things to know: This is a Flatiron Book, which means it's an Amy Einhorn book, which in turn means it's sure to be wonderful. The novel is an Indie Next pick for November 2016.


Anonymous,  11/15/16, 6:10 AM  

This one sounds really appealing and I really love your bullet-pointed facts about the book, which gives a strong indicator as to whether to go for it, or not. Mine is a science fiction offering this week -

Vicki 11/15/16, 7:45 AM  

I usually don't like historical fiction, but this sounds good.

sherry fundin 11/15/16, 8:41 AM  

Doesn't sound like it's for me, but I have seen it around. Happy reading.
sherry @ My TT

JoAnn 11/15/16, 9:31 AM  

I haven't seen this one around yet, but am adding it to my list!

Sandra Nachlinger 11/15/16, 11:03 AM  

Sounds like a fascinating story, set in a time of change. I especially like that it's an Indie Next pick. I support indie authors.
My Tuesday post features A MAN CALLED OVE.

Laurel-Rain Snow 11/15/16, 11:32 AM  

Loving the themes and issues....and the idea that a woman, even in those times, would choose work over marriage.

Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “SEND IN THE CLOWNS”

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 11/15/16, 3:46 PM  

Hmm, I'm on the fence with that intro but, like the cover so I'd try it.

Unknown 11/15/16, 3:52 PM  

I like the setting and era. This would be a good movie.

My TT from One

Kathy Martin 11/15/16, 4:48 PM  

I've heard go things about this one but it's not a genre I usually read. This week my teaser comes from Bay of Sighs by Nora Roberts. Happy reading!

Paulita 11/15/16, 5:12 PM  

This sounds like it's right up my alley. I'd definitely read it. Thanks for the heads up! Here's Mine

Margot 11/15/16, 5:26 PM  

My first thought was that the cover looks a lot like the cover of The Light Between Oceans. This book sounds good even though its completely new to me.

(Diane) bookchickdi 11/15/16, 6:03 PM  

You can't go wrong with an Amy Einhorn book.

The Candid Cover 11/15/16, 7:00 PM  

I hope that you are enjoying this one as much as I am. It is funny that we even chose the same scene to pull quotes from. :)

Peggy Ann 11/15/16, 7:06 PM  

Never read an Amy Einhorn book! This does sound wonderful!

Nise' 11/15/16, 8:28 PM  

I am sold at Amy Einhorn!

Cleopatra Loves Books 11/16/16, 1:36 AM  

Oh yes, I'm definitely interested in finding out more - historical fiction with a great setting - what's not to like?

Laura at Library of Clean Reads 11/16/16, 8:10 AM  

I love historical fiction and this one sounds wonderful!

Daryl 11/17/16, 11:52 AM  

historical fiction AND Paris ... hard to resist

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