|To Capture What We Cannot Keep (2016)
Set against the backdrop of the construction of the Eiffel Tower, this novel charts the relationship between a young Scottish widow and a French engineer who, despite constraints of class and wealth, fall in love.
"A novel of soaring ambitions, public and personal." Kirkus Reviews
"To be in Paris to witness the construction of the Eiffel Tower is a magnificent occassion; to have a hand, however small in its building, even better. . . this exquisitely written, shadowy historical novel will appeal to wide variety of readers including fans of the Belle Epoque." Library Journal. (starred review)
"Drawn with care and suffused with stylish ambience. Colin's Paris is a city of painters, eccentrics, aristocrats, desperate prostitutes, secret lovers, and the magnificent artistic vision taking shape high above them." Booklist.
The Songwriter (2010)
New York, 1916. Monroe Simonov, a song-plugger from Brooklyn, is in love with a Ziegfeld Follies dancer who has left him for California. Inez Kennedy, a fashion model in a department store, has just one season remaining to find a wealthy husband before she must return to the Midwest. Anna Denisova, a glamorous political exile, gives lectures and writes letters while she waits for the Russian people to overthrow their Tsar. Although the world is changing faster than they could ever have imagined, Monroe, Inez and Anna discover that they are still subject to the tyranny of the heart. In this richly atmospheric and deftly plotted novel, their paths cross and re-cross leaving a trail of passion, infidelity and betrayal, before hurtling towards an explosive climax.
"Colin, who once lived in New York herself, retraces the era with consummate period detail and beautifully flowing prose." - The List
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|Pyrate's Boy (2013)
The boy looks about seven or eight years old and should weigh next to nothing. And yet it takes four men to drag him out of the water. We soon realise why. Padlocked around his ankle is a thick metal chain, which plummets right down to the sea's bottom. If we want to save him, we have to pull up the chain. And whatever is at the end of it.'
Silas Orr, an 11-year-old runaway from Greenock, is saved from certain death by Captain Jon Harkin, aka the infamous pirate Black Johnnie. Choosing to stay aboard, he becomes pirate's boy on the feared ship Tenacity. Now the crew have rescued another drowning boy, but this one has a lead box chained to his ankle. What could be precious enough to keep safe with a human buoy? Whatever it is, someone will come looking for it.
Silas must help Johnnie discover the child's secret and outwit their pursuers. But life on the high seas isn't easy. Silas' adventures become more and more dangerous as he escapes from an erupting volcano, navigates through treacherous coral reefs, and encounters a knifewielding, cartwheeling girl. The pirates' exploits take them from Jamaica to Glasgow -- but what awaits Silas there?
'"This is a terrific swashbuckling adventure which combines a vivid sense of place with page-turning urgency and a roster of charismatic characters, particularly the pyrates. This is quite simply a novel of most excellent storytelling, transporting the reader across oceans and back in time at pace which never flags and always surprises. I am more than a little in love with Black Johnnie, a Jacobite hero of the high seas with the heart of a gentleman and the fashion sense of a Carnaby St dandy, and am delighted that Silas is to continue ploughing the high seas with Billy the Fiddle and Toombi. I will be booking my passage when they next set sail. "
'[T]his swashbuckling adventure, which owes much to Treasure Island and many others, but still offers a story of interesting characters, darkest villains and a rattling good pace that keeps the surprises coming thick and fast. Silas is an endearing young hero, who never forgets the sister he left behind or those that have helped him on his way, while Black Johnnie is as good a role model as a pirate could be … Its plot, pace and characters make this story live and brings new impetus to an old genre. Recommended.' - Armadillo
'Silas’ story is compelling enough to keep the story afloat. Blackmail, mutiny and an erupting volcano all contribute to the page-turner, but it is the bond between the captain and Silas that makes this story a page-earner. An exciting adventure with a tender heart.' - Kirkus.