The Binding by Bridget Collins – Book Review

Title: The Binding

Author: Bridget Collins

Genre/Themes/Content Warnings: Alternative Historical Timeline, Gothic Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal, Folklore, Magical Realism, Books about Books, LGBTQ+, Memory, Love, Rape, Sexual Violence, Homophobia, Animal Abuse

Blurb from Goodreads

Books are dangerous things in Collins’s alternate universe, a place vaguely reminiscent of 19th-century England. It’s a world in which people visit book binders to rid themselves of painful or treacherous memories. Once their stories have been told and are bound between the pages of a book, the slate is wiped clean and their memories lose the power to hurt or haunt them.

After having suffered some sort of mental collapse and no longer able to keep up with his farm chores, Emmett Farmer is sent to the workshop of one such binder to live and work as her apprentice.

Leaving behind home and family, Emmett slowly regains his health while learning the binding trade. He is forbidden to enter the locked room where books are stored, so he spends many months marbling end pages, tooling leather book covers, and gilding edges.

But his curiosity is piqued by the people who come and go from the inner sanctum, and the arrival of the lordly Lucian Darnay, with whom he senses a connection, changes everything.

My Review


Historical fiction mixed with folklore and magical realism, and a love story that gave me all of the feels!!!!!!!! YASSSSSS. Do yourself a favour and read it.

Perfect for people who liked The Thirteenth Tale or The Shadow of the Wind


The freaking blurb on the back cover gave away a plot line that didn’t occur until page 161…. Like I get that I probs would have figured it out anyway BUT STILL! Robbed me of some of my fun so bah humbug to you blurb writing types. (note the blurb I quoted before this review is not the spoilery blurb)

Anywho…. TAKE MY FIVE STARS AND MY MONEY AS I AM DEFINITELY BUYING THE HARDBACK EDITION FOR MY BOOKCASE!!! I borrowed this from the library and it’s in trade paperback form and even that is the most gorgeous book you’ll see!….

Some time later...

I now am the proud owner of a hardback copy of this beautiful book. Beautiful inside and out. Honestly, I haven’t been so moved by a book like this in a long time.

The less you know about the story the better but what I will say is this. In the world that The Binding is set in books are magical objects ….. I know, I know. It’s not as of I don’t think they’re magical in our world too but in the world of The Binding it’s a more literal sense of the term magical. As you see people’s memories can be bound into the pages of a book. Bound so that the person does not remember. So that they can move past whatever hurt it is that affected their life so deeply.

Emmett becomes the apprentice to a binder, Seredith. He begins to learn the trade with her and it leads him to a fateful meeting with one Lucian Darnay…

In book binding there are those who use it for nefarious reasons… because corruption is just everywhere even in this world… but Seredith who Emmett apprentices with is just the very opposite of that and instils good old fashioned ethics in Emmett. The narrative weaves back and forth until we get a clearer picture of the plot and well…. WOAH PEOPLE. JUST WOAH! That’s all I’ll say about what happens so you will just have to read this for yourself.

Emmett is such a beautiful character…oh how I loved my beautiful sweet boy. He’s brave, he loves fiercely, he’s honourable… he’s just perfection. It turns into a story of good versus evil in the simplest sense, because there’s a love story… and it’s just THE BEST love story. It broke my heart and then put it back together again.

I just loved this book. It has gothic fiction vibes. Historical fiction vibes. Fairytale vibes… those kind of really good dark ones…

Everything I love about a book is in this story:

  • It’s a book about books
  • It’s got a creepy atmosphere
  • It’s got great characters
  • Beautiful prose
  • Brilliant twisty plot
  • A love story for the ages
  • Have I mentioned it’s a book about books
  • Feels like a fairytale for grown ups

I 100% love and recommend this book. Please don’t tell me if you don’t like it because I think you’ll break my heart!

All of the stars! A perfect book.

Other Works by Bridget Collins I’ve Reviewed

My Socials

26 thoughts on “The Binding by Bridget Collins – Book Review

  1. I loved this too!! It was such a beautifully written story and the romance completely melted my heart!! I will admit that from the blurb I imagined more about the magic of book binding but I don’t care that it took a different course than I imagined as the story was just glorious. And I totally get why you wanted it in print. I can’t believe that I haven’t got around to reading the authors second novel yet.


  2. A great review! This has been one of my firm favourites of this year 🙂 I have to agree with you on the beauty of the hardback edition, I actually read mine on Kindle but once I saw how beautiful the hardback edition was it went straight onto my ‘to buy’ list! 😀


  3. Such a great review! This book was one of my favourites from the past year and I’ve got to agree with you about the absolute beauty of the hardback edition. I actually read it on Kindle and when I saw how gorgeous the hardback edition was it went straight onto my ‘to buy’ lists! 😀


  4. Fab review, Emer! I still *really* need to get to this one but I’ve heard so many reviews by trusted reviewers say the exact same thing about this. I’m looking forward to giving it a try 😀 I also have it sitting on my shelf and it’s DEFO one of the most beautiful books on my shelf. It’s absolutely stunning (especially the inside pages)! 😍


  5. Okay, I seriously think I might need this… 😁 Especially since the last book I read that included magic based on books (a German one that has – big surprise – not been translated 😅) turned out to be a huge letdown. But this sounds right up my alley!


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