The Bookbinder’s Daughter – Jessica Thorne

Published By: Bookouture
Pages: 269
Released On: 20/09/2021

The song surrounded her now, the murmuring of the library insistent, and her foot took the first step on the winding stairs. She knew it wasn’t entirely a dream. It was the library calling her, it’s magic driving her.

When Sophie is offered a job at the Ayredale Library – the finest collection of rare books in the world, and the last place her bookbinder mother was seen when Sophie was just a teenager – she leaps at the chance. Will she finally discover what happened to the woman she’s always believed abandoned her? Taking in the endless shelves of antique books, the soaring stained glass windows, and the grand sweeping staircase, usually shy Sophie feels strangely at home, and is welcomed by her eccentric fellow binders. But why is the Keeper of the Library so reluctant to speak about Sophie’s mother? And why is Sophie the only person who can read the strange spells in the oldest books on display, written in a forgotten language nobody else understands?

*****

Thanks to Bookouture for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I hadn’t read any of Jessica’s previous books, but other reviewers let me know I was in for a real treat.

I love libraries, especially really old ones, so I thought the descriptions were breathtakingly beautiful and I wish I could see inside this particular one.

There’s a lot of backstory and explanation which took a little while to sink in, but as long as you clear your mind and accept the book’s world for what it is, then you soon get to grips with it and can fully submerge yourself into it. The art of bookbinding is such a beautiful but forgotten practice, and it’s given the highest honour in this book.

It’s so eerie and mysterious, and it leaves you, always wanting to know more. There are all sorts of characters; sweet, caring, loving, smart, evil, manipulative, and some who aren’t what they appear, and they are all perfectly individually written. It is slow and explorative, it doesn’t rush the reader, waiting for you to understand what’s happening before moving on.

I do hope this is the start of a new multi-book series, and hopefully a film deal. I can totally see a fantasy movie with hints of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Chronicles of Narnia, all perfectly packaged together in a rollercoaster of a story.

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