The Binding – Bridget Collins – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Bridget Collins has written an enchanting book which takes us on a journey through a richly imagined world filled with new possibilities and dark secrets.

Set against a landscape that is part Victorian gothic, part medieval outlier and yet strikingly modern.

The Binding slowly unravels a mystery surrounding Emmett Farmer, a farm labourer whose life is irrevocably altered when he receives a cryptic summons, pressing him into service as an apprentice to a Bookbinder. It is an invitation he is both drawn to and desperate to run from.

For a Bookbinder’s trade is like no other.

In the house set deep in the marshes, Emmett learns the skills to make exquisitely beautiful volumes, every one as unique as the last and each holding a dark and peculiar secret: a person’s most unconscionable memories. And to Emmett, they whisper in the darkness. Then one day he discovers a book with his own name on it and is forced to choose between forgetting and the dreadful, tantalising promise of remembrance.

This book truly surprised me.

The cover was absolutely gorgeous and then seeing the book without the dust jacket was something else. The gold detail with the foiling is beautiful.

Bridget Collins has written an enchanting book which takes us on a journey through a richly imagined world filled with new possibilities and dark secrets – a world where books are dangerous and frowned upon. This is such an interesting concept. When you read a book in this world, you’re reading someone’s life, their actual memories and in doing so, those memories have been taken from that person. Imagine your darkest experiences, wiped away and put in a book for other’s pleasure. It’s dark and twisted.

Emmet is naive and such an endearing character, he knows that something is wrong with him but doesn’t know what and it becomes clear that his memories have been taken away. He also has a gift, he’s a natural born binder and is taken to be an apprentice to a local binder. Fighting his feeling of not being complete and feelings for a man he shouldn’t have feelings for, he has quite the struggle on his hands.

It’s a tale of forbidden love, reimagined in a new way. I loved the historical fantasy side of the story and the social divides, I found each character rich and compelling, especially Emmett, Lucien and Alta and I couldn’t read it fast enough. 

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