HarperFiction will publish the debut novel from freelancer writer Holly Dawson, inspired by a tweet about an anonymous benefactor in her village.
The Book of Keys originated from a tweet from Dawson, about an anonymous benefactor who had left houses in the village to families, which ended up going viral and currently has almost 50,000 'Likes' on Twitter.
"Just heard about a guy who died in my village left 3 houses to the council, with the stipulation that they're for young families to rent for a fixed period of 3yrs with rent of £300 pcm (in an area where rent is £1000+)," the writer tweeted in October. "Because we all need to talk more about the good humans."
When some cast doubt on her tweet, she researched the claim and “discovered a tale of kindness and generosity”, and the resulting BBC article trended on the BBC homepage for a week, racking up nearly 2 million page views, HarperFiction said.
Martha Ashby, editorial director at HarperFiction, has pre-empted world English rights for a novel, The Book of Keys, from Jenny Hewson at Rogers, Coleridge and White.
The Book of Keys follows a single mother down on her luck and struggling to make ends meet when she receives a mysterious envelope in the post, containing a heavy brass key and a letter – her long-estranged mother is going into respite care and the house, the one that she grew up in, is there if she needs it.
The synopsis reads: "With nothing left to lose, she packs her family’s few possessions and does a flit in the night, travelling back to Cornwall, back to the past and a secret that has bound a family, and a community, together for half a century."