Faber has pre-empted debut The Rapture in a "major" deal ahead of Frankfurt Book Fair. The novel is based on real events and written by ITV news journalist Claire McGlasson.
Editorial director Louisa Joyner pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights to the title from Laura Williams at Peters Fraser & Dunlop.
The Rapture is a story of madness and friendship, repressed emotions, acts of true devotion and the dangers that lurk within our own minds, said the publisher.
Set in Bedford, England, in 1926, a woman calling herself Octavia claims to be the Daughter of God. For six years she has been gathering followers who take up houses enclosing a garden which they believe to be the original site of Eden.
With the Great War having claimed so many husbands and sons, women flock to join the Society and follow Octavia’s teachings, but one young woman, Dilys, isn’t there by choice, and in a society where members are encouraged to spy and report even the smallest transgression Dilys is surrounded by people yet feels utterly alone. And as Dilys struggles to untangle the truth from the lies, she starts to hear the Devil whispering in her ear...
Describing the story as "mesmerising", Joyner called the novel a "fabulous blend of anxiety and desire, fear and claustrophobia".
McGlasson is a journalist who works for ITV News Anglia. She lives in Cambridgeshire.
She said: “When I stumbled upon this hidden pocket of history I was hooked - and as soon as I met Louisa Joyner I knew she was just as passionate about getting this story out there. Writing about real people is both a privilege and a responsibility and I am beyond excited to be working with the incredible team at Faber. Huge thanks to my agent, Laura Williams at Peters Fraser and Dunlop, for believing in this book from the beginning.”
Faber will publish The Rapture in 2019.
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