“Intense, immersive. . . . A stirring, highly original piece of storytelling and world-making.” (Sunday Times (UK))
“Bookbinders capture souls in this fantasy’s bleak Dickensian world. The novel’s most horrifying victim is the starving mother who doesn’t recognize her children because she had to sell her memories of them.” (New York Times, New Books We Recommend This Week”)
“The Binding is a dark chocolate slice of cake with a surprising, satisfying seam of raspberry running through it. It is a rich, gothic entertainment that explores what books have trapped inside them and reminds us of the power of storytelling. Spellbinding.” (Tracy Chevalier, bestselling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring)
“The Binding succeeds in creating the magic it proposes: the experience of memory returning, a rush of recollection that can change the whole world, if only for one person at a time — or sometimes two.” (Naomi Novik, The New York Times Book Review)
“Everyone keeps calling this novel spell ~binding~ and they! are! not! wrong! A true epic in every sense of the word.” (Cosmopolitan)
“The Binding held me captive from the start and refused to set me free. It’s a beautifully crafted tale of dark magic and forbidden passion, where unspeakable cruelty is ultimately defeated by enduring love. Breathtaking!” (Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things)
“Pure magic. The kind of immersive storytelling that makes you forget your own name. I wish I had written it.” (Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said)
“Truly spellbinding… Many readers of The Binding will simply sink gratefully into the pleasures of its pages, because, like all great fables, it also functions as transporting romance.” (The Guardian)
“A captivating fantasy novel with forbidden love at its heart.” (Good Housekeeping (UK))
“The new ‘Have you read The Miniaturist’ will be ‘Have you read The Binding?’ … ‘Gorgeous’ and ‘spellbinding’ is the consensus among those who’ve already devoured it.” (Grazia, “The 2019 Hot List”)
From the Back Cover
PROCLAIMED AS “TRULY SPELLBINDING,” A “GREAT FABLE” THAT “FUNCTIONS AS TRANSPORTING ROMANCE” BY THE GUARDIAN, THE RUNAWAY #1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER ARRIVES IN AMERICA
Imagine you could erase grief.
Imagine you could remove pain.
Imagine you could hide the darkest, most horrifying secret. Forever.
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, the bookbinder Seredith informs her new apprentice, and he is a binder born. Under the old woman’s watchful eye, Emmett learns to handcraft 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 Seredith’s workshop, rows upon rows of books filled with memories are meticulously stored.
But while Seredith is an artisan, there are others of their kind, avaricious and amoral tradesmen, who use their talents for dark ends. And just as Emmett begins to settle into his new circumstances, he makes an astonishing discovery: there is a book with 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.
About the Author
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.