Avon Books has signed a two-book deal with debut author and former journalist Lorna Cook, including a novel inspired by a ghost village in Dorset.
Cook’s debut, The Forgotten Village, explores the lives of two women, living seven decades apart, connected by the real-life ghost village of Tyneham, which was requisitioned by the War Office during World War Two forcing the villagers to abandon their homes. It has remained uninhabited for 75 years.
Senior commissioning editor Rachel Faulkner-Willcocks acquired world English Language rights to The Forgotten Village, to be published next spring, and one further book from Rebecca Ritchie at AM Heath Literary Agency.
German rights to the title were also pre-empted in a substantial six figure two book deal by Penguin Verlag, and Dutch rights sold in a two-book deal to Bruna. All other territories are currently available.
Faulkner-Willcocks said: “I am thrilled to be publishing this brilliant debut, which pairs an arresting setting with an irresistible exploration of the lives of two very different women, who are bonded by their experiences, despite living in completely different eras. With themes of domestic violence, war and the power of friendship and love, I have no doubt The Forgotten Village will captivate readers next spring.”
Cook, a former journalist who now works in PR, said: “Tyneham is a village steeped in incredible history—so it’s a real pleasure and a privilege to combine my characters’ stories with the little-known truth of its sudden, permanent, requisition 75 years ago.”
Ritchie described the Essex-based author as "an exciting new voice in commercial women’s fiction" with Avon "the perfect publisher to build her readership”.