Published UK: 10 January 2019
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.
Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter arrives summoning him to begin an apprenticeship. He will work for a Bookbinder, a vocation that arouses fear, superstition and prejudice but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.
He will learn to hand-craft beautiful volumes, and within each he will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, he can help. If there’s something you need to erase, he can assist. Your past will be stored safely in a book and you will never remember your secret, however terrible.
In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books and memories are meticulously stored and recorded.
Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of them has his name on it.
THE BINDING is an unforgettable, magical novel: a boundary-defying love story and a unique literary event.
I was drawn to this book as being a book lover reading about the making of books is a joy and even more so when a mystery is attached – can you think of anything better? Of course not!
Bookbinding the actual putting together of books is explored in a fascinating way through this story. This is no handbook on the making of books, although there are snippets, rather this is about the gathering of the content, the story.
As we meet and come to know Emmett the mystery unravels. It is indeed more than one mystery – how is the story gathered and what has happened to Emmett? He has been ill and isn’t as strong as he was and so cannot work in the fields as well as he did anymore but when he overhears his parents arguing one day he realises he is being sent away. So begins his work in bookbinding. He becomes apprenticed and his mentor slowly introduces him to his new life. We know that there is something about Emmett that meant he was bound to be a bookbinder. As this intriguing story gently unfolds you are drawn in more and more. It is when his mentor becomes ill that the story really gets going and when we get to the section, which is almost a prologue, you really start to grasp what has happened and become totally gripped.
Bridget Collins brings to life the bleakness of the landscape and those who inhabit it, she adds a little intrigue and mystery and gives us a story in which you can become truly immersed. It is a ‘slow burner’ so stick with it as it is a fascinating, well crafted story that is certainly worth reading.
With thanks to The Borough Press via NetGalley for an eCopy of The Binding by Bridget Collins. All thoughts are my own, I have not received any payment for the review of this book.
Publisher: The Borough Press (10 Jan. 2019)
Hardcover: 448 pages Language: English
ISBN-10: 0008272115 ISBN-13: 978-0008272111
Bridget Collins trained as an actor at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art after reading English at King’s College, Cambridge. She is the author of seven acclaimed books for young adults and has had two plays produced, one at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. THE BINDING is her first adult novel.
Follow Bridget Collins on Twitter: @Br1dgetCollins