• To Capture What We Cannot Keep

  • A Novel
  • By: Beatrice Colin
  • Narrated by: Polly Stone
  • Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
  • 4.1 out of 5 stars (201 ratings)

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To Capture What We Cannot Keep

By: Beatrice Colin
Narrated by: Polly Stone
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Publisher's Summary

Set against the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young widow and an 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--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.

Polly Stone, who was praised for her use of French accents in her reading of The Nightingale, will bring the same talent to her narration of To Capture What We Cannot Keep.

"Stone's French accents add authenticity and a sense of place to her reading." – AudioFile on The Nightingale

©2016 Beatrice Colin (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about To Capture What We Cannot Keep

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

What a wonderful story. The writer leads us on a magical and enchanted journey through Europe and then Africa. One of the most gifted storytellers I have read in a long time and bringing scenes to life. I can't wait to read more of her books!

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Interesting but a tad slow.

The storyline was interesting, but slow moving at times, but performances made up for that. The musical interludes throughout were annoying and di not add to the enjoyment of the Los tending.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting time period

Story was a little slow. Characters had more inner thoughts and not enough dialogue with each other.

1 person found this helpful

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Well done.

Very real and authentic. Kept me attention and pulled at my heart. Hope to read more from Beatrice Colin.

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Romantic Dream

History, romance, agony, scandal. I’ve listened to this once a year the last three years!

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To Capture What We Cannot Keep

A little long. Could have told this story in less pages or in this case less hours. I would have liked to hear more about the building of the tower and less about the love lives of very immature young people in this story. I would give this story a C grade.

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Where are the Scots in this story?

Although the narrator tells us that three of the main characters are from Glasgow, none of them uses language that would identify them as Scottish. This daughter of Glaswegians kept waiting for an "aye" or an "och." Most disappointing, the reader did not use a Scottish accent when speaking the lines of the Scottish characters. They sounded American. (Oddly, the reader was able to muster an Irish accent for one very minor character.) It was jarring to hear characters referred to as "the Scottish woman" or "the Scottish man" when there was nothing Scottish about them. Perhaps none of this would bother a reader who hasn't spent time around Scottish people, but I was annoyed and distracted enough that I nearly quit on the book more than once.

It was also frustrating that Kate (the protagonist), whom the narrator tells us was well-educated and unusually direct and bold for her time, kept leaving the young woman whom she was paid to serve as a companion in risky situations. I wanted to shake her.

The author couldn't seem to decide whether she was writing historical fiction or a romance novel. The ending suggests romance novel. Ick.

Finally, although the author often used language skillfully, and some of her descriptions were very well-done, she had a couple of tics that I found annoying. The word "suddenly" was used too often, and one too many scenes involved a character "blinking" in response to something said to him or her.

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Not for me!

Not for me! I listened for an hour and was bored out of my mind.

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Beautiful writing, gave such life to Paris

This is a beautifully written story with characters that the reader comes to care so much about. The descriptions are incredible and vivid. The author enables the reader to see, smell and taste Paris. There are many plot twists and turns, with a satisfying ending. And, as usual, Polly Stone reads so well which adds to the story's dimensions. She has impeccable rhythm and pronunciation, and even uses different voices for each character. Very easy to follow and listen to.

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loved it

loved it!
loved the main characters
loved the details of the setting and time and historic figures