Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret.
Young Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a strange letter arrives summoning him away from his family. He is to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder—a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice among their small community but one neither he nor his parents can afford to refuse.
For as long as he can recall, Emmett has been drawn to books, even though they are strictly forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to hand-craft the elegant leather-bound volumes. Within each one they will capture something unique and extraordinary: a memory. If there’s something you want to forget, a binder can help. If there’s something you need to erase, they can assist. Within the pages of the books they create, secrets are concealed and the past is locked away. In a vault under his mentor’s workshop, rows upon rows of books are meticulously stored.
But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesman who use their talents for dark ends—and just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: one of the books has his name on it. Soon, everything he thought he understood about his life will be dramatically rewritten
Emmet Farmer is recovering from an illness, he’s still very weak but he’s back working on the farm with his sister Alta. But then a letter arrives and he is sent away to be an apprentice to Seredith, a binder.
Poor Emmet, a little naive has no idea why he isn’t allowed to read books, but Seredith explains that books hold memories, real memories taken from people willingly, so they can forget…
He starts to recover his health and is slowly learning how to make the books, but not yet the actual ‘binding’……
There is tragedy and fear as when he leaving the cottage to work for a commercial binder, he sees a book with his name on it….what has he forgotten? Why does he fear, on one hand yet on the other feel drawn to Lucian Darnay?
The story is told from the perspectives of Lucian and Emmet, switching between the present and the past to show what memories have been bound in this stunning, beautifully written tale of love and loss.
The idea of binding sounds so wonderful, to have awful, tragic or maybe violent memories removed, put into a book to be kept safe, BUT as with all things, this could and would be abused by the morally corrupt for their own ends. The idea that people could also sell their memories for a ‘trade’ Binding for others enjoyment is just repugnant, but I’m sure it would happen. I loved the idea that novels are just made up memories and are therefore frowned upon.
Bridget Collins has created a thought provoking tale, I wonder, if you could have bad memories removed, would you? Who would you trust to hold the book safe and not pass it to others to read……not a pleasant thought really is it ?
I loved the characters and Emmet and Lucian are just wonderful, I was so engrossed in their tale, and loved them both due to Bridget Collins captivating, spellbinding and emotive writing, I may have left a little of myself in The Binding with them….a beautiful, must read book.
I would like to thank the Author/the Publishers/NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. I have also purchased a hardback copy myself.