by Bridget Collins
Genres: Historical Fiction, Fantasy
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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
I was drawn to The Binding by Bridget Collins for it’s gorgeous cover and promising premise. Collins introduces us to the binding of memories and the damage forgetting painful memories or worse precious ones can do.
Imagine if you did something reprehensible or suffered a loss so great it wrecked you. What if you could go to a Binder and share with them your story. Freeing you of the memory, pain, and distress. It would be as if it never happened. Would you do it?
Books in this historical fantasy aren’t at all like ours. They are beautiful, leatherbound books created by Book Binders. These gifted creators, experience your story as if it is their own. They take all those memories of an event, person or place and bind them in YOUR book. The Binder then protect those books keeping your memories safe. You walk away with no memory of the story or in fact binding.
But, as with any gift some will abuse these powers. Imagine that power and wealth could have a crime erased, keep a witness from remembering. Why one could get away with the most heinous of crimes.
While not all binders are scrupulous some seek to profit. Greed can get you a book filled with the darkest tale. And worse, what if your memories were taken from you? While the person giving the memory must give consent we all know how social ladders work. A maid refusing consent could lose their position etc.
In The Binding, Collins shares a love story between a farmer and the son of a wealthy lord. I was surprised and delighted by the LGBT romance. At first it appears Lucian is interested in Emmett’s beautiful younger sister Alta. There was tension between Emmett and Lucian until the three became fast friends. It was a slow-building, innocent romance that soon became more.
The author pulled me in, with Emmett’s mysterious illness and discovery of his gifts. The story unfolds in both past and present. We follow Emmett and his sister, Alta, as they meet and befriend Lucian Darnay, then to the time Emmet is sent to the binder and eventually to the city to work for a binder.
The world building and writing pulled me in and held me spellbound. I enjoyed how the author showed all aspects of binding with its touch of magical realism. The characters came to life before me as the author revealed twists and turns that brought missing pieces of the story to life.
The Binding was beautifully written. A complex mix of magical realism with a twist on the classic historical romance featuring the privileged lord and the poor maiden.The Binding by Bridget Collins was beautifully written. A complex mix of magical realism with a twist on the classic historical romance featuring the privileged lord and the poor maiden. #NewRelease #LGBT #Fantasy Click To Tweet
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