Review: To Capture What We Cannot Keep, by Beatrice Colin

I would like to thank Flatiron Books and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book.

Imagine, if you can, Paris, France, in the year 1887 – when work on the Eiffel tower has just begun, and there is not yet this towering work of art that is known world-wide. This is the setting that we start out in with To Capture What We Cannot Keep. The grounds for the Eiffel tower are just some massive holes in the ground for the foundation, and there is worry that the foundation won’t be enough to hold the tower up.

And so begins a story that alternates between the birth of a national landmark and a tumultuous love story.

My favorite part of this book was “watching” the tower grow from its very beginning to a completed work. It was quite easy to picture the men putting the tower together piece by painstaking piece, though it is still amazing that they finished it in just 2 years and 2 months. What is even more amazing is that something that they expected to last only 20 years is still around today. I don’t think I knew until I read this book that they had intended the structure to be such a short-term installation.


Cait and Emile were both interesting characters in this book, but Jamie and Alice were really rather troublesome as far as I was concerned. Jamie seemed only to care for himself, and Alice seemed impossibly dense. Cait at least had some sense, but could not seem to keep the two of them reeled in, despite being paid to do so. However, the connection between Cait and Emile really kept the story going in between parts about the tower.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own, and I am never compensated for my reviews.

3 thoughts on “Review: To Capture What We Cannot Keep, by Beatrice Colin

  1. I really enjoyed this book! I loved learning about the building of the Eiffel Tower – like you, I don’t think I ever knew that it was designed to be temporary. Nor did I realize that so many people were against the building of it!
    I really loved the love story of Cait and Emile – it was refreshing to read a love story that dealt with more adult issues. I kind of agree with you about Jaime and Alice – Jaime was pretty irritating, and Alice was so frustrating at times, but I really felt for her – especially at the end of the story.


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