Yes it was a thumbs up to this intriguing novel from most of the group. A couple gave up reading early on, others felt it was a tad long but those of us who finished the book thoroughly enjoyed it and intend to read the author’s latest book The Betrayals. Like another of our recent reads Wakenhyrst, we felt the period, names of the characters and marsh and city settings enhanced the mysterious atmosphere of the book. The historical period was also crucial for the story to work as modern society is now much more discerning about mediumship and the supernatural.
We all agreed that the story wasn’t what we were expecting. From the back cover description we thought that Emmett would do more binding and that ultimately it was a love story. Misunderstood and full of integrity Seredith was by far our favourite character. Unlike her son she provided binding as a service to help others rather than for profit. We wanted to know more about her life so wondered if a prequel is in the offing! We also wanted to know what happened to Alta and her parents.
The author’s inspiration for the novel came from her experiences volunteering at The Samaritans whilst learning the craft of binding. We all felt it would be wonderful to have the power to capture and absolve the painful memories of those who had experienced trauma. However our experiences – both good and bad – help shape us so we wouldn’t be tempted to undergo binding ourselves. Characters in the book who had been bound seemed to be left feeling empty or became “stuck” as a shell of their former selves so not a quick fix to happiness. We also chatted about how differently binding was accessed by the poor and wealthy in the novel. The rich seemed to use it to facilitate and excuse criminal behaviour and to absolve sins, whilst the poor were forced to undergo binding to keep quiet.
One of us struggled with the switch to Lucian’s narrative in the last part of the novel but it helped us to develop more empathy with his character as we learned more about his childhood and life with his sadistic father. Most of us found him brash and duplicitous at first. We liked how the relationship between Emmett and Lucian developed throughout the story –never the main focus, just beautifully intertwined with the concept of binding. One of us had a “light bulb” moment during the dancing scene, others spotted a few earlier sown seeds.
When asking everyone about parallels between the popularity of trade bindings in the novel and modern taste for celebrity news there was a resounding absolutely! We decided everyone is nosy and why social media and reality TV are such a part of our lives.
So another great read with so much to talk about. Thanks to everyone who joined us online or sent feedback if they couldn’t attend.
A few copies of our next book The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale are still available to collect from the Library. If you are working from home let us know if you need us to post a copy to you. Our next meeting will be on Thursday 4th March 12-12.30pm – see you then!