The Bookbinder’s Daughter
reviewed by Gail Byrd
The Bookbinder’s Daughter is a mystery. Sophia’s mother disappeared when she was a teenager. What happened to her? Why won’t her father talk about her, or about their life when she was alive. Sophia has a few partial memories of her mother, and a necklace her mother gave her; but nothing more.
Her mother’s disappearance and her own confusion about it led to what was diagnosed as a mental breakdown and her current situation. She is an extreme introvert who has willingly let her life be controlled by Victor for several years. Sophia is a talented bookbinder who loves creating them for their beauty. Victor loves to exploit them for the wealth they can yield. BUT WAIT…
The Bookbinder’s Daughter is a fantasy, a tale about a remote place where there is a magical library. A place where the books talk or sing to Sophia as well as some other residents. A library that has some legacy employees whose families have been part of the library for generations. Sophia learns she is a legacy, but she doesn’t yet know how that will change her life. BUT WAIT…
The Bookbinder’s Daughter is an adventure story. All her adult life, Sophia has dreamt of a beautiful tree whose leaves are of gold. In her dreams the leaves fall from the tree and scatter around her; but when Sophia tries to pick them up they turn to ashes in her hands. As Sophia encounters a tree that reminds her of the dream tree, she begins to explore more closely and eventually finds the actual tree that has spawned her dreams. The necklace she wears grows warm when she approaches it, and she feels the tree calling to her. BUT WAIT…
The Bookbinder’s Daughter is a romance. Sophia encounters Will, a young man with whom she fell in love in her early days when she lived with her mother and father at the library. As their relationship is slowly rekindled, Sophia ultimately must decide who she can trust. Is Will nothing more than a young man who works as the guardian of the library, or is there more to him. Occasionally Sophia senses something different inside Will. What is it and can it be trusted…BUT WAIT
The Bookbinder’s Daughter is also a literary work celebrating libraries, books, knowledge, and new ideas. Readers may find it calling them as they consider the possibilities of living in an elegant building filled with beautiful books, a place that hums with knowledge. The library in this book is all that, and more.
Readers will be captivated by the imagery of the tree, that isn’t an aspen, but has golden leaves. They will be fascinated by the thought of the building which houses the most significant books from around the world. Scholars come from everywhere to do research at this library. They will want to know more about the Keeper of the Library, a seemingly ancient woman with incredible calm who becomes Sophia’s boss when she is given a job at the library.
In addition to the characters names above, there is Edward, Sophia’s uncle. He’s a suave, sophisticated man who is involved in acquisitions to the library. He also delivers a job offer to Sophia that brings her back to the library. There is Arthur, Will’s half brother. Arthur is a few years older than Sophia and Will and when they were children he was the one they would follow around. The three were frequent companions, but why does Sophia have memories about the three of them being in the center of things when the library is almost destroyed and what are his goals now as an adult? Finally there is Tia, a woman of indeterminate age and unparalleled beauty. She defies definition of any sort, even the most mundane such as how old she might be. The only concrete thing Sophia learns is that Tia is in love with Edward; but that relationship is as complex as the rest of the things Sophia encounters at the library.
The book begins in the mundane world of a very timid Sophia who is controlled by a manipulative Victor. It moves quickly from there and begins to unfold in a world that not only embraces Sophia but has been waiting for her to return to it for years. The new world is a beautiful combination of knowledge, history, and future, waiting to reveal Sophia’s rightful place in it. To say more might spoil the reader’s journey as the story unfolds before them. I would like to thank Bookouture for an advance copy for this review. The opinions here are entirely my own.