An intensely creative imagining of place, this tends towards the overwritten and occasionally the frankly sentimental, especially in the poem Binding writes to his mother's memory in the final chapter, nevertheless, I found things to enjoy in it, such as the wrangling between two council members, and the rather overwrought account of a murder which took place of an unfortunate woman. I know Ilkley quite well, having been taken there as a child. It's a place with a river, quite a wild one as I remember, and the moor above the town does rather hulk and glower so it is easy to see how Binding was able to romanticise the place. If that kind of writing appeals, you'll enjoy this book. If you'd rather just have the facts, then you'd be missing something in my opinion. Binding treats the heart of the place, rather than it's head, and, in the main, I enjoyed his excesses of description and didn't find it hard to pick up again.
The history of the place is covered, with two world wars taken in, with stories of battles in in the Boer War of especial note, and the hydropathy craze in the late 19th and early 20th centuries providing a wealth of eccentric stories. I'm not sure how much was added to this by being told of amounts deposited in the bank by the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, and other esoteric facts, but the history of the Belgian Refugees, and the story of Jimi Hendrix's visit to the Gyro Club and the chaos that resulted are interesting asides. I would suggest this will be an instant success for anyone who has visited the place, but don't expect a straightforward read. It's a hotchpotch of fact and fancy and that's okay with me, but probably not with those who like to be led by a writer, rather than being left to find what interests the reader.