Cover Image: The Bookbinder's Daughter

The Bookbinder's Daughter

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Member Reviews

The Bookbinder’s Daughter by Jessica Thorne is a fantasy novel.

First, let me thank NetGalley, the publisher Bookouture and of course the author, for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

My Synopsis:   (No major reveals, but if concerned, skip to My Opinions)
Sophie Lawrence returns to Ayredale Special Collection Library, where her mother disappeared, where she lived until she was 15, where her memories are few.  She left London behind.  Her father is dead, and her lover not worth her time.  Was she truly coming home? Uncle Edward offered her the book-binding job in the most prestigious library, that had the finest collection of rare books in the world.  Her parents both worked there in the past.  Now she could too.

When her mother disappeared, Sophie lost herself.  She remembers very little of the Library, or the people who still inhabit this expansive estate.  But things are coming back to her.  Her father had refused to speak of her mother,  and Sophie now hopes that someone here can tell her what she needs to know.

Will Rhys returned to the Library eight years ago, and is now cataloguing and indexing, working with the researchers who came here and fielding enquiries.  He and Sophie were once close.

However, there are some strange things in this Library.  The Keeper of the Library seems to be keeping secrets, as do others.  They seem to be reluctant to speak to her about her mother.  What are they hiding?  Why can Sophie read the strange spells in the old books, when no one else can?

My Opinions:   
First, I loved the cover, and although I don't usually pick a book by it's cover....this one definitely caught my eye.  I have never read anything by the author before, so the next thing that caught my eye was the blurb, which appealed.

Then, I really enjoyed the book.  The plot, atmosphere and imagery were good.  As were the characters, especially the Tree.  I loved both Will and Sophie (once she stood up for herself).  Even the romance angle was okay.   Yes, the book is about magic.  It is also about love, family, and re-birth.  Then there is the darker side of it.  Manipulating, bullying, and the need for power.  Add a few secrets, mix them together, and end up with an an interesting read.

Overall, it was a very captivating story, and although a little repetitive at times, the book held my interest from start to finish.  I was almost surprised to find that it was a stand-alone novel.
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This was the perfect companion to a lazy day spent in bed while it rained outside! The concept of a dyslexic book binder is delightful! The main character, Sophie, was someone I definitely wanted to spend more time with. 

My biggest complaint is the story felt too short and maybe rushed in places where I would have liked more time seeing the relationships between all the characters develop. But I’ve already recommended this to quite a few people and will continue to do so! 

My biggest question? Is there going to be more stories set in this library? I feel that the door has only just been opened enough to catch a glimpse of this world, the characters and Jessica Thorne’s imagination! I hope there are more to come as I don’t feel done with the Ayredale Library just yet!
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I normally avoid fantasy books as I’ve never quite got along with them but the draw of a magical library and the mystery of her missing mother was so strong that I decided to take another chance.

I am glad I did as there was a lot I loved about this book plus it had a black cat and they are my eternal downfall. Want me to read a book, stick a cat in it.

Sophie was a great protagonist, her life isn’t making her happy except for her job and after the death of her father she only has her boyfriend Victor. He has been screening phone calls and not passing on letters so she is shocked when she receives an unexpected visit from a long lost uncle with a job offer at The Ayredale Special Collection, a coveted role prized by many and where her mum went missing. After leaving work early to think about it she catches Victor and his pa in a very compromising position and flees to a hotel. With nowhere else to go, her uncle’s invitation feels like destiny and she’s being pulled home again.

The author has managed to create an exquisite world for book lovers and her descriptive, lyrical writing brought it to life on the page. The mystery was like a shadow seen from the corner of your eye and every time you turn around it vanishes and you are left questioning if it was real.

The characters were wonderfully eccentric my only little quibble was the romance element with childhood friend Will. I personally would have preferred the book without it but that’s down to me and not the author and I know many fantasy readers will love it.

The star of this book though is the quality of the writing and the imagery it conjures is just magical.
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A magical library. Secrets. Danger.... what's not to love!?  This was a wonderfully magical read and is the kind of book that you totally lose yourself in! I know I did!

Sophie is at the heart of the story and is desperate to make her father proud who she has recently lost, whilst wanting to learn more about her mother who disappeared from her life when she was younger.  The more she discovers about the mysterious library where she gets a job as a bookbinder, the more the mysteries of the past become a little clearer.  And why is she the only person who can understand the language of some of the oldest books in their care?!

When her dreams start to lead her towards uncovering secrets from the past, she is unsure of what she will find or just who to trust along the way and you find yourself anxious on her behalf!  I loved the mystical feel of it all and the way the story flows and how she begins to emerge from the shell she had found herself living in because of the past trauma she'd gone through.  

I was enchanted by this story and just loved the magical library setting alongside a cast of intriguing characters.
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I was so excited about this book and truly wanted to love it. But I realized about halfway through that none of the characters were developed beyond an adjective or two, leading to a lot of incredibly one-dimensional people. The main character was so weak willed and such a pushover that I found myself getting frustrated and losing interest in her journey. I also weirdly found it difficult to keep track of who held what kind of power, because I don't think it was explained terribly well.
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This is a book for book lovers, about a book lover 📖 Sophie is a book binder, restoring books for a living.

I loved that this story was a contemporary fantasy where magic wasn’t expected or normal! I also enjoyed the writing style, imagery, and the Ayredale Library as a magical setting!

Thank you to @bookouture and @netgalley for this advanced readers copy!!

Published September 20th, the Book Binder’s Daughter is out now!! ✨✨
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It felt a bit slow when I read the opening.  I wasn't hooked but by the end of the 1st chapter I was enthralled by the writing.  It was so descriptive as well as very melodic.

Sophie is interesting but being very unsure of herself.  She doesn't seem to even want a relationship with her uncle. 

It must be very scary for Sophie to lose part of your past and not even remembering friends you made except as dim recollections that are a shadowlike.

There is so much to like about this book.  The characters seem great and just flow easily and I love the mystery aspects as well in this book.

Will Rhys is an interesting character and you can feel something is between him and Sophie that defies all logic.

Reading this I realize I had no idea where this book was going or even who the characters really were.  This made it an exceptional read and had me so invested in the story.

While this isn't exactly a love story or light there are some uplifting moments which made the book even sweeter.  

I am enthralled with the writing style as it was magical.  While the magic was part of this book it was nothing compared to the story.

I first hated Edward but grew to see a different side of him which wasn't the arrogrant annoyance that he first was.  I think it made him one of the better characters even if he wasn't the main focal point.

This book is one of the best urban fantasy books I have had the honour to read in the last five years.  There is nothing greater then find a book that really sings to your inner self
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I loved the idea of this book but I felt that it didn't have as much depth as it could've had. This could've been a great book but instead was just a good book.
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A pleasant and entertaining book with a STUNNING cover.

The Bookbinder’s Daughter by Jessica Thorne is a contemporary fantasy set within a magical library. 

Sophie is a very talented bookbinder with a very mysterious past. As an adult, she prefers the quiet mundane life she’s cultivated after her mother mysteriously disappeared in her teens. When her personal life begins to go haywire, she accepts a new position  at the Ayerdale Library, repairing bindings from the finest collection of rare books. What she discovers is that within the library she can unlock the mysteries of her past, and potentially craft a future unimaginable. 

This is a great book to add to your stack of cozy reads. I suggest you go into knowing as little as possible because the magic that unfolds after the first half of the book is worth the long setup to get there. The plot progresses nicely with an epic finale that will leave you wanting more. I hope that Jessica Thorne continues with this, as it has the potential to become a fantastic series. 

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read and review.
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Sophie is the bookbinders daughter of the title, and she is a young woman in a bad relationship who lost her mother in a mysterious way when she was a young girl. 

Sophie re-connects with her uncle, who is an enigmatic figure, and the library which has some powerful magic hidden within it. She also gets to spend time with Will, her teenage crush. The library is where her mother disappeared, so will she get some answers, now she is back there?

All in all, this was a good book, but it did miss the mark with me. It had the potential to be really amazing but somehow or another, it wasn't quite. It was interesting, no doubt about it, but I just didn't get as emotionally connected as I had hoped.

3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture.
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Rating: 2.5 stars

Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the ARC copy!

     Sophie is haunted by her mother's disappearance. When her uncle shows up and invites her to work at the famous Ayredale Library, she accepts and is brought to a place where everything is not what it seems. Will she discover her forgotten memories and will finally find out what happened to her mother? Or will her world burn down around her?

       The premise and the cover of this book are what made me request it. Who doesn’t love the idea of magical libraries and an air of mystery? Unfortunately, I felt that the book did not deliver on its promise. I had to drag myself through reading it, hoping that it would get better, and finished reading it with a sense of disappointment. 
      There were several things about the book that I loved, that unfortunately got undercut by other elements. I thought the author did a good job creating striking and beautiful imagery. Also, I was intrigued by Sophie’s occupation as a bookbinder, since I’ve never read a book before where the MC has that job. And initially, I liked Sophie’s character too. My favorite character, hands-down, was Villus, because cats that live in magical libraries are the best kind. 

     However, there were many aspects of the book I just couldn’t get past. One of the things that made this difficult to finish was that there was so much repetition of both the imagery and plot-related details, which felt weird and completely unnecessary. 

     There was also the promise of a magical library and mystery, which were overshadowed by Sophie's relationship with Will. It seemed like what was meant to be a sub-plot kind of took over. And to be honest, I didn't feel any spark between them and Sophie was still recovering from a terrible relationship with lots of lies. So her choice to be with someone who she admits is hiding stuff from her multiple times was a bit annoying. I was hoping for more of a focus on magic, mystery, and her family and instead, I got mediocre romance. I would have loved to see Edward's character, and the other side characters, explored more. 

As always, content warnings: 
-some kissing and implied sexual content
-mentally/emotionally abusive relationship (is ended early on)
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Prepare yourself for an engrossing fantasy! The Bookbinder’s Daughter is Sophie, a girl with a complicated past—a past she can’t remember. She’s at loose ends after her father’s death so when her uncle offers her a coveted position at a respected library, she can’t resist. She leaves the manipulative boyfriend—oh, the magic of that—and returns to The Special Collection. It’s a wondrous place that her fragmented memory longs for and fears. 

What Works:
Musical language and vibrant description. Such a poetic and thoughtful story with some nice action to boot.
A neatly spieled plot—I was sucked right in. That old disbelief suspended itself in the nearest chandelier and stayed there.
Characters and dialogue rang true for me. 

What Didn’t Work so Well:
Honestly, I bought the whole thing hook, line, and sinker. Loved it all the way through.
If you need an escape to a mysterious library filled with mystery and intrigue along with magic, legend, and adventure—then this is for you. I highly recommend it to book lovers and inspiration seekers.
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As a publisher, author and lover of books, the description for this story drew me in. 

After a tragic accident when she was 15, Sophie and her father left the only home she knew. The trauma of the incident and her father's unwillingness to discuss it left Sophie with no clear memories of her earlier days.

When we first meet her, she is reeling from the recent death of her father and the overbearingness of her lover. Presented with an opportunity to return home and perhaps unravel some of the secrets of the past, she decides to finally seek some answers.

The way she rediscovered her purpose, allowing her to regain her voice and her strength, was beautiful to witness. And her impact on the lives of those around her was inspiring.

This author was new to me, but if her other works are anything like this one, I'd definitely like to read more!

Thank you NetGalley, Bookouture and Jessica Thorne for the ARC. It has been a pleasure to read.
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A beautiful and spell-binding story about heritage, love, and embracing the past, THE BOOKBINDER'S DAUGHTER by Jessica Thorne is magical in every possible way. 

Many years ago on a fateful night, Sophie's mother simply vanished into thin air. Ripped from the only home she had ever known by her father in his grief, he trained Sophie to be a talented bookbinder, but he was no longer the man she used to know and love. Time passed and Sophie has very few memories of the place she used to call home or of her mother, only what she sees in her dreams. But when her father passes away, her uncle arrives and offers her a job opportunity of a lifetime at Ayredale Library, her childhood home. Determined to break free from a controlling relationship and discover the truth about what happened all those years ago, Sophie accepts. But nothing could prepare her for old feelings to flare to life,  the stunning surroundings of the greatest library ever created, or the mysteries that are waiting for her to unlock them. Because Sophie is special and the magic is calling to her. 

Compelling and engaging characters and a stunning setting that comes alive on the page combine to make this book unputdownable. Sophie is quiet and timid but she wasn't always that way and seeing her return to Ayredale where she belongs was fantastic as she grew more confident with what she wants and who she wants to become. I loved the magical and historical elements of this book as a whole new world came to light on each page. Will is a wonderful character and I wanted him to find the strength to embrace who he was completely.  The importance of friendship and belonging are expertly woven throughout this tale and the idea that family is those who love you and choose you is firmly placed throughout too. 

THE BOOKBINDER'S DAUGHTER has got it all - fantasy, magic, romance, betrayal, secrets, and lies - and I cannot wait to read more from Jessica Thorne.
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What reader wouldn’t enjoy a book about a mysterious, magical library? But is that enough to keep you hooked? Nope! And therein lies the reason this book faltered a little.

When Sophie Lawrence, a bookbinder, is offered a job at the Ayredale library by her estranged uncle, she grabs at the opportunity, not just because she sees it as an escape from her manipulative, cheating boyfriend but also because she wants to discover what happened to her mother at the same library fifteen years ago. Once she is there, she realises that things are not quite as they appear. No one wants to tell her the secrets of the past. The presence of her first crush Will Rhys only serves to add to the mystique. Will she find out the secrets that no one wants to reveal to her? 

Where the book worked for me:
The library, obviously, ranks as the biggest pro point. I loved how its sentience was weaved into the story. I also enjoyed all the details of the book binding process as we saw it through Sophie’s eyes. Any bibliophile would enjoy those parts.
The story is lush with such vivid imagery that you can picture the entire world in which Sophie resides. The descriptive part of the writing is mesmerising and the world-building, fabulous.
The plot, regardless of its flaws, keeps you hooked from start to end, thereby resulting the book going by very quickly. 

Where the book could have worked better for me:
I wish the characters were more multi-dimensional. Most of them are a clear black or white. I couldn’t connect with Sophie much; some of her decisions are so questionable that one can’t help want to smack her on the head. Tia, the archivist, was outstanding and easily the best character in the book, but some of her decisions didn’t make sense in the broader picture. Will was clearly written as having some deep, shameful secret but with many obvious clues scattered throughout, it took no genius to figure out what his secret was. Sophie’s uncle was a disappointing character; he had so much potential to be a memorable main character but succumbed to a clichéd turnaround whenever required by the plot. Sophie’s mum, Elizabeth, was intriguing but hardly had any role to play, quite ironically as she’s the bookbinder referred to in the title. The rest of the characters don’t even deserve a mention.
There is a lot of repetition in the dialogues, which worsens with the recurring flashbacks. The editing should have been a lot tighter. 
The title fell flat for me. I can’t pinpoint why but it somehow sounds makes the book sound like a historical fiction. The cover too, with the girl facing away from the reader, doesn’t convey the right feelings. A fantasy reader who looks only at the cover and title will surely not pick this book up. Both of these needed to be more magical, more enigmatic.
The first 70% or so of the book kept me absolutely hooked, but the last section becomes too complicated, though it has its fair share of surprises. One theme running through the book is that of ‘contained chaos’, and towards the end, the writing itself was like ‘contained chaos’. It became a bit over-ambitious. 
Most readers remember a book by how it made them feel at the end; this book will make you feel great at the start but the end doesn’t create any impact. Overall, it is a great plot but needs a bit of fine-tuning to go from ‘good’ to ‘memorable’. For me, the end would deserve just 3 stars but the rest of the book would get 4 stars. Hence, I’ll go with the average of the two ratings and allot 3.5 to this interesting novel.

Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review.
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Sophie’s traumatic loss of her mother when she was fifteen has led her to a sheltered life with a distant father, manipulative boyfriend and low self esteem. Now as an adult, with the recent loss of her father, she makes her way back to her childhood home - the Ayredale Special Collection, a library of rare books. As Sophie settles into her role restoring books, memories return and the library and her history are revealed to be a bit magical.

I enjoyed this novel - you can’t go wrong with a magical and mysterious library with some romance mixed in. Sophie’s insecurities are heartbreaking at the start of the novel and there are a few nasty things that I would like to happen to Victor pretty early on. I like how Sophie’s personal growth tied in to the discovery of what the Special Collection is really all about. The author does a great job of endearing the reader to certain characters and in turn makes you strongly dislike some others. A very interesting story and plot line surrounding the magic in this novel which kept me turning pages to find the next pieces to the puzzle. 4 stars.

Review based on digital copy of Uncorrected Proof from Net Galley and Bookouture.
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Wow!! I loved this book ! The idea of this library and all the mystery that is going around in Sophie's life is so intriguing. I could not put the book down, especially when everything started unraveling. Such a beautiful story!
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I really did enjoy this book. It was about a library which has been something I've been reading a lot about lately. It had a touch a magic running through it which was done well, another plus for me. This was definitely my kind of book. The characters were likeable and the whole book was just a delight to read.
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I love to read, so it only makes sense that we might also love to read about libraries as well. The secrets that books hold beneath their covers are waiting to be discovered. The same can be said about mysteries of the libraries.

This was a fun story about Sophie about being offered a job at a very special library of rare books, She feels at home within the books and senses her mother close by. Sophie will search for the answers that have eluded her about her mother.
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The Bookbinder’s daughter is the 2nd book that I have read of Jessica Thorne’s. The 1st being The Lost Girls of Foxfield Hall. I really enjoyed that book and was excited to get an advance copy of The Bookbinder’s daughter. 

The Bookbinder’s daughter follows Sophie, a bookbinder like her mother. Her mother disappeared when she was young and she has been mostly alone ever since. Then her uncle Edward shows up and invites her to the Ayredale library where she lived as a child and fromwhere her mother disappeared. The Library itself seems like a character in this book, and as a lover of books I really enjoyed that aspect. There were shades of Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy about this novel, but I have to say I enjoyed this novel more. It was an nice escapist novel. The mysteries around the library and Sophie’s mothers disapparance were intriguing and kept me guessing, plus the cover was beautiful. The publisher’s art department is fantastic with covers. 

All in all this book was a great way to enjoy an afternoon immersed in another world, and a world of books and magic at that! 

Thanks to Netgalley, the publisher Bookouture and the author Jessica Thorne, for the chance to read and review this book.
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