Avon Books has bought a novel about intergenerational friendship between a struggling young writer and a feminist author with dementia.
The “funny and moving” comic novel, The Forgotten Guide to Happiness, was inspired by author Sophie Jenkins’ own experience of caring for her mother with Alzheimer’s. Jenkins has previously written novels and short stories under the name of Norma Curtis.
The HarperCollins imprint’s senior commissioning editor Rachel Faulkner-Willcocks negotiated the deal for the title and a further novel by Sophie Jenkins from Judith Murdoch at the Judith Murdoch Literary Agency. It is slated for publication on 26th July, in paperback original retailing at £7.99.
It is billed as a “heart-warming romantic comedy” about the friendship between Lana Green, a newly-single young writer who struggles to pay her rent, and feminist author with Alzheimer’s, Nancy Ellis Hall. The pair meet through the ‘Caring Share’ scheme that that houses young people with older home owners with care needs.
Publishing under the name of Curtis, the author wrote commercial women's fiction including her debut Living It Up, Living It Down, published in 1994 by HarperCollins, which won the Romantic Novelists' Association New Writers’ Award (RNA). The Welsh-born writer has also acted as secretary and press officer for the association, worked for a local newspaper in Wrexham and compiled Readers True Experiences for DC Thompson magazines.
Faulkner-Willcocks said: ‘I’m thrilled to be publishing this funny and moving story about a young woman learning the true meaning of friendship and love. Sophie Jenkins draws on her experiences supporting her mother, a long-time Alzheimer’s sufferer.”
She described how Jenkins “writes about this brutal disease with compassion and authenticity, but also a humour that is incredibly touching”.
Jenkins, who is based in north London, said: “I am absolutely delighted to be published by Avon and I am sure the positive, life affirming power of happiness will resonate with readers.”