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“An absolutely gorgeous novel! Collins writes Emmett in such a way that readers will experience his confusion and frustration and then have it unknotted simultaneously as his tale unfolds. The three parts of the novel are brilliantly ordered to deliver a powerful tale that will tear your heart to pieces slowly and, in one spectacular scene, mend it completely with hope and love. Do Binders provide healing and comfort, or are they wicked magicians determined to leave you empty? What are you willing to risk for someone you love?”
— Angela Shores, Adventure Bound Books, Morganton, NC
“The Binding is a dark, atmospheric, heart-wrenching tale in which the binding of people’s memories into books helps them forget their darkest traumas and protect them from their crimes. The more Collins’ intricate, magical tale unwinds, the more dangerous and unruly the practice of ‘binding’ becomes. At its core, this is a story about the beauty and power of books. Ethics, emotion, and magic abound in this triumphant, beautifully woven must-read for any book lover or hopeless romantic (or both).”
— Jackie Mann, Anderson's Bookshops, Naperville, IL
A NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW EDITORS' CHOICE
Proclaimed as “truly spellbinding,” a “great fable” that “functions as transporting romance” by the Guardian, the runaway #1 international bestseller
"A rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” — TRACY CHEVALIER
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 amongst 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.
An unforgettable novel of enchantment, mystery, memory, and forbidden love, The Binding is a beautiful homage to the allure and life-changing power of books—and a reminder to us all that knowledge can be its own kind of magic.
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. She lives in Kent, United Kingdom.