Doubleday has acquired Anne Youngson’s novel A Complicated Matter as well as a short story collection provisionally entitled The Six who Came to Dinner.
A Complicated Matter will be the author's third novel with Doubleday, following her debut Meet Me at the Museum (2018) and Three Women and a Boat (2020). It will be set against the Blitz of 1940 and inspired by first-hand refugee testimonies.
The synopsis reads: "A Complicated Matter is a powerful, emotionally probing story of a young English woman, uprooted from her home on the island of Gibraltar, after the British government set up a military base on the Rock, forcing the islanders off ships to find a home elsewhere. A restless stranger in London as the bombs begin to fall, the young woman joins the Women's Voluntary Service and later becomes the amanuensis to a veteran German soldier."
The Six Who Came to Dinner will be a collection of "visceral" village mysteries.
Editorial director Jane Lawson acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, including exclusive European rights and audio, in both titles from Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton.
Lawson said: "A coming-of-age story rooted in history, and given complexity, wisdom and beauty by Youngson, this is a timeless, layered story of what it is to be displaced in a time of war. Anne has a highly individual imagination, and her narratives are humane and humorous. We at Doubleday are absolutely thrilled to continue to build this unique author and take her burgeoning literary career to new heights."
Youngson commented: "I love the books that Doubleday choose to publish so it is a great source of pride for me to be part of their list, and to have their support in bringing my work to market. I very much look forward to working with Jane Lawson again, on the next two titles."
A Complicated Matter will be published in early 2023, and The Six Who Came to Dinner will be published in October 2022.