The Binding by Bridget Collins. (2019).
**3.5 out of 5 stars**
Emmett is working on his family’s farm when a letter comes summoning him to be an apprentice for a bookbinder; bookbinders evoke fear, superstition and prejudice. He will learn to handcraft beautiful volumes with something unique inside – a memory extracted from people who wish to forget something and never remember it. But one day, Emmett discovers a book with his name on it…
An intriguing story, this book was not what I expected. The synopsis led me to believe this was a fantasy book which it does have fantasy elements but is definitely better classified overall as a love story. I think I would have rated it higher if there was more fantasy included to be honest, as I found the binding process fascinating. I would have liked the concept behind people willingly being bound for various reasons, and the history behind bindings, to have been explored more. I will warn readers that although it is written beautifully, it is pretty slow going (certain parts are extremely slow!) and at 438 pages is fairly long. The first third begins with Emmett’s point of view as he is taken on as a bookbinder’s apprentice, the second section explains the events leading up to the first part, and then the third section is Lucian’s point of view after the events of the first part. This is the author’s first adult novel after writing numerous young adult books.
Overall I’d say this is a love story with a fantasy twist in relation to the binding and readers will either be drawn into it or just find it too slow.