A #1 National BestsellerAn Indie Next PickA New York Times Book Review Editors' ChoiceYoung Emmett Farmer is working in the fields when a letter summons him to begin an apprenticeship as a Bookbinder -- a vocation that arouses fear, superstition, and prejudice in their small community. Emmett has always been drawn to books, even though they are forbidden. Bookbinding is a sacred calling, Seredith informs her new apprentice, and under her watchful eye he learns to craft elegant leather-bound volumes in which they will capture something unique: a memory. But others of their kind use these talents for dark ends. The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books, and a reminder that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.
"Collins' first foray into adult fiction presents an alternate world reminiscent of nineteenth-century England, brimming with correctness and repression, where books are literally made from memories. Binding is not just the craft of making an elegant tome but also the art of taking away selected recollections to help a person forget pain, grief, or a terrible secret. Emmett, a young apprentice binder, learns the craft from the elderly Seredith but also learns that many despise binders, believing they take a piece of a person's soul. He has been taught that a binder cannot steal anything, the memory must be offered freely, but there are unscrupulous buyers who sell volumes for personal profit, and even a binder can be bound. Emmett and an aristocrat's son unknowingly share a secret one that could destroy them both. Using evocative language to express a lovingly told tale of lost memories, Collins wraps her story of a passionate, forbidden relationship in mystery and magic.--Lucy Lockley Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Collins's solid first adult novel (following several YA novels) is a haunted, Dickensian fantasia. At the story's outset, teenage Emmett is a farmer's son in an alternate England at an indeterminate point in the past whose mind is riddled with gaps due to an unspecified illness. He receives a letter that calls him for an apprenticeship with a bookbinder, Seredith, who's reputed to be a witch. Emmett quickly discovers that Seredith is not your run-of-the-mill bookbinder: she draws traumatic memories out of people's minds and hides them away in books, thereby removing the memories from their minds. The first client Emmett meets is a man named Lucian Darnay; their encounters unsettle and even enrage both of them, but neither knows why. Emmett eventually discovers there is a book with his name on it, and it holds an essential secret about him. The relationship between Emmett and Lucian plays out satisfyingly, but the novel suffers from portentous conversations and a few plot points that the characters don't realistically react to. Emmett is a YA protagonist, too-sullen, reluctant, wrapped in victimhood. This is an enjoyable novel for readers of any age, but the story remains YA at its heart. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
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