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The Binding

"Truth, memory and the extremes folk will go to to keep their secrets hidden - this spellbinding historical yarn gleams with love, lust, intrigue and lies. "

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Everything changes for rural lad Emmett Farmer when a gloriously grouchy wise woman compels him to be her bookbinding apprentice. While this line of work is generally shrouded in superstitious fear, Emmett is shocked when his mentor explains that they “don’t make books to sell, boy. Selling books is wrong”. Rather, their gothically intriguing trade involves binding unwanted memories into books: ”Whatever people can’t bear to remember. Whatever they can’t live with. We take those memories and put them where they can’t do any more harm”. Most clients are wealthy; well-to-do gentlemen who have their servants and wives bound so they forget what wrongs their masters and husbands have done to them. No wonder then, that Emmett is horrified to discover a book bearing his own name, and so a tempestuous tangle of secrets unfurls.

The novel is also fragrantly spiced with witty references to literary history and the novel as an art form: “It makes one wonder who would write them [novels]. People who enjoy imagining misery, I suppose. People who have no scruples about dishonesty”. Yet through the duplicity of her exquisitely crafted characters, and luminous storytelling, this novel’s author reveals truths of the human spirit in a most entertaining and absorbing fashion. 

Joanne Owen

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Reader Reviews

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A beautiful book inside and out. I need more - a sequel, a spin-off, anything!

First things first - this book is stunning. It took me a while to start reading it because I was too busy staring at all the details on the cover. Then, I read with incredible care to preserve my copy as much as possible. Next I loved the concept. The idea that books are illicit, powerful and evil things. Not too far from the truth when you think of the power of knowledge and imagination and the freedom granted by both.

Being born and bred in Yorkshire, I loved the Castleford setting, however I couldn't quite work out if any of the landmarks were based on real places (the New House mainly) and there wasn't any use of dialect in the speech (that I noticed) to place them in the North.

Charlotte Walker

What a spell-binding book this is! Plus its location of Castleford is not far from where I live in West Yorkshire, so had added interest for me.

What a spell-binding book this is! Plus its location of Castleford is not far from where I live in West Yorkshire, so had added interest for me.
I thought the book was very original, on a subject I had not come across before, it was well written and a page turner too! The book so interested me - I read every single word! No speed reading here.
The quotation at the beginning of the book is irresistible -

Imagine you could ease your grief.
Imagine you could forget your pain.
Imagine you could hide a secret.

Marjorie Lacy

The Binding is something special, a book that will stay with me. It's complex, clever and absolutely stunning with a powerful love story at its heart.

Oh, this wonderful book. I was bowled over by the complexity and the cleverness of this story.

The Binding begins with us following Emmett Farmer as he becomes the apprentice to a very old bookbinder called Seredith. She lives in the marshes, well away from the farm where Emmett's parents and sister, Alta, live.

These are no ordinary books though. These are people's memories, sucked out of them so they can no longer remember. The idea is to take away the bad memories but it can be misused, memories stolen for titillation, for others amusement. However, those with a true vocation, like Emmett, do it right, not for profit.

Nicola Smith