I know I’m very late to the party but I finally got round to reading The Binding by Bridget Collins this week and I loved it!
Emmett Farmer is a binder’s apprentice. His job is to hand-craft beautiful books and, within each, to capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory.
If you have something you want to forget, or a secret to hide, he can bind it – and you will never have to remember the pain it caused.
In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, row upon row of books – and secrets – are meticulously stored and recorded.
Then one day Emmett makes an astonishing discovery: one of the volumes has his name on it.
The Binding by Bridget Collins is one of the most extraordinary novels I’ve read. I have to admit, when I first spotted it in a bookshop, over a year ago now, I was immediately drawn to its cover. It’s such a stunning design that I couldn’t help not buy it. I’m kicking myself now that I’ve kept it on my TBR pile for so long. When Bridget’s next book comes out, I’ll certainly be reading it as soon as possible.
Bridget Collins’ first novel for adults is set in an alternate world, in which books are almost seen as the devil’s work; they are feared and they are seen as dangerous. Binders have an unusual talent; they can harness a person’s memories, with just one touch and bind them in a book. This act ensures that the client can forget whatever it is they want to about their past. But Binders are hated among many people and they are often thought of as soul stealers.
In the first part of the novel, we meet Emmett Farmer, who is just recovering from a severe illness. It is clear that he has done something that has brought serious shame to his family. He can’t remember anything, which makes it all the more frustrating for him. His family certainly won’t reveal to him what he has done to make them so upset. What is even more horrific, is that it appears that his family are willing to cut all ties with him. When a book binder offers Emmett employment, his family seize the opportunity. But you can see that Emmett is less than keen to go. I really felt for Emmett and I couldn’t understand why his family were doing this. It made me want to find out what it was that Emmett had done to upset them. From this point in Emmett’s life, things don’t go smoothly for him.
It is only in the second part of the novel that we begin to understand what Emmett has done, as Bridget Collins takes us back in time. This is the part of the story where the tension really begins to pick up. As well as this being a fantasy book it is also part romance. Romance is a genre I would never normally read, but I became so invested in this part of the story. This is the part which I also don’t want to reveal too much about, as I don’t want to spoil it for you, if you haven’t read it yet. But it was in this part of the story where I found Bridget Collins’ writing utterly captivating.
I wish I could go back and experience reading this book for the first time, all over again. It was so good I didn’t want it to end. I’m sure I will come back to it again and again, and it’s definitely going to be in my top ten books of the year. I’m going to repeat myself here, but this book really is extraordinary. If it’s still on your TBR pile, you need to read it as soon as possible, you won’t regret it.
Publisher: The Borough Press
Publication date: 7th January 2019
Print length: 445 pages
The Binding is available to buy: