The Binding by Bridget Collins
Reviewed by Jo, Mona Vale
Bridget Collins’s first adult novel is so good when I finished it I went hunting for a signed hardback first edition because this is going to be a classic. In a Victorian-esque England, young Emmett Farmer is forced to become an apprentice bookbinder instead of taking over the family farm. But book binders are no mere artisans in the world of Castleford. True binders have the ability to take away memories, particularly painful ones, and bind them in a book. But there’s an unsavoury side to this business that Emmett is starting to uncover: books of other people’s dark and sometimes torrid memories are traded by unscrupulous binders to an underworld of rich collectors, and not all those being bound are willing participants. When Emmett discovers a book with his own name on it, he’s determined to rediscover his lost memories. Take a fantastic concept, add a twisting plot, beautifully written, then thread through a heartbreaking romance and you have Jo’s Book of the Year.