464 Pages | Paperback
In the tradition of Sarah Waters, Helene Wecker, and Jessie Burton, an atmospheric and mystery-laden historical novel set within a magical world where books are not stories, but the repository of individual lives.
“A rich, gothic entertainment that 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. 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 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, the bookbinder 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 Seredith’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: 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.