📚Set in Oxford During #WW1. Rosie’s ARC #Bookreview of #HistFic The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams @ChattoBooks @vintagebooks @carmellalowkis #BooksWorthReading

The Bookbinder of JerichoThe Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Bookbinder of Jericho is set in Oxford during the first World War.

This is a wonderful piece of historical fiction based around the little known bookbinders of the Oxford University Press. Peggy and Maude are twins, but very different. Peggy dreams of studying English at the Ladies College in Oxford, while Maude has a passion for origami.

When WWI breaks out, the OU press loses many of its workers. Some are replaced by Belgian refugees who are welcomed to Oxford at the outset. As casualties of the war pour into the Oxford hospitals, Peggy volunteers to read and write letters for the wounded soldiers.

The story flows smoothly; news of the war filters through from letters sent home by Tilda, a nurse at the Front. At the bindery the printing and creation of books continues and the descriptions of the processes are so interesting to learn about.

The book is filled with memorable characters, some slipping in from the author’s previous book The Dictionary of Lost Words. If you are familiar with the story it felt like waving to old friends, but it isn’t necessary to have read about them before.

I really enjoyed this story. I read an ARC uncorrected proof, so there may be changes before publication and even the title may change. However, the overall piece of fiction will remain the same.

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What is lost when knowledge is withheld?

In 1914, when the war draws the young men of Britain away to fight, it is the women who must keep the nation running. Two of those women are Peggy and Maude, twin sisters who work in the bindery at Oxford University Press in Jericho. Peggy is intelligent, ambitious and dreams of going to Oxford University, but for most of her life she has been told her job is to bind the books, not read them. Maude, meanwhile, wants nothing more than what she has. She is extraordinary but vulnerable. Peggy needs to watch over her.

When refugees arrive from the devastated cities of Belgium, it sends ripples through the community and through the sisters’ lives. Peggy begins to see the possibility of another future where she can use her intellect and not just her hands, but as war and illness reshape her world, it is love, and the responsibility that comes with it, that threaten to hold her back.

In this beautiful companion to the international bestseller The Dictionary of Lost Words, Pip Williams explores another little-known slice of history seen through women’s eyes. Evocative, subversive and rich with unforgettable characters, The Bookbinder of Jericho is a story about knowledge who gets to make it, who gets to access it, and what is lost when it is withheld.

AmazonUK | AmazonUS (Due to be published July 6th

Book Binder Of Jerico

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