HarperCollins has swooped to secure a new wartime saga from former “The Archers” writer Joanna Toye.
Lynne Drew, publishing director, bought world English rights from Broo Doherty at DHH in a two-book deal.
The Victory Girls will be published in May 2021. It traces the fortunes of Toye’s popular Shop Girls series characters Lily, Beryl and Gladys as the war enters its final year. The finale of the book takes place during the VE Day celebrations in London on 8th May.
The series was inspired when Toye visited an archive exhibition about her own local department store, Beatties, in Wolverhampton and memorabilia from the store planted the seed of an idea. The publisher said: “In this new novel, the store (Marlow’s) continues to feature as it recovers from bomb damage and battles with rationing and shortages but the girls are spreading their wings, as marriage, babies and the lure of call-up posters pose fresh challenges.”
Drew said: “It has been so exciting to work with Jo and see the reader passion for her books grow so quickly and I can’t wait to bring The Victory Girls to readers old and new next spring. She has a pitch-perfect eye for the kind of uplifting, warm wartime drama that it’s bliss to escape into.”
Toye worked on the production team of "The Archers" for 10 years and was a scriptwriter for the programme for over 20. On television she has written for “Crossroads”, “Family Affairs”, “Doctors” and “EastEnders”. Toye’s fourth novel with HarperCollins, Christmas for the Shop Girls, will be published in October this year.
She said: “After four books in the Shop Girls series, I didn’t want to leave the characters and readers didn’t want me to either. I feel very lucky that the team at HarperCollins feel the same and [lucky] to be working with them again.”