Hodder & Stoughton is releasing a new collection of stories from Rosamunde Pilcher, to be published two years after the author died in early 2019.
Hodder & Stoughton chief executive officer Jamie Hodder-Williams bought world rights, excluding North America and Canada, in A Place Like Home from Felicity Bryan at Felicity Bryan Associates.
Kate Howard, publisher for General Fiction, will publish in the UK, while St Martin's Press vice-president and executive editor Charles Spicer will publish in the US and Canada.
Hodder, which has published Pilcher for over 30 years, will release the book as a "beautiful" hardback in February 2021 alongside new covers for her novels, including her most famous,The Shell Seekers, a family saga first published in 1987.
New covers will also be issued for Coming Home, Winter Solstice and September. The launch will be supported with "an innovative and creative" marketing campaign "to bring Pilcher’s absorbing page-turners about relationships and family life to a generation of new readers".
A Place Like Home is described as a collection of Rosamunde Pilcher’s "most enduring" short stories, never before published in book form.
The collection contains 15 stories. Hodder said these range from "The Holiday", in which a wife surprises her husband of 25 years with a holiday full of Mediterranean sunshine, red rocks and blue seas in an effort to rekindle the romance they had before children; "The Eye of Love" which takes the reader to the bright spring sunshine and sparkling waves of a Northumbrian village where old flames meet again, and "A Place Like Home", where a lonely young woman goes to recuperate in the Scottish countryside after a brief illness.
All together, each story is described by the publisher as "the perfect slice of romance written with warmth and passion featuring some wonderfully memorable smart and feisty female characters that will transport the reader to another time and place".
Hodder-Williams said: "I was just starting as a trainee when The Shell Seekers was published and I’ll never forget the thrill of such passionate reader responses and the creation of a huge bestseller around the world. It’s been an honour to be her publisher for all these years and I am thrilled her literary executor has trusted us with this new collection. I know that these stories will reignite some of the original warmth from readers of all ages."
Hodder publisher Kate Howard said: "We are delighted to be publishing this gloriously escapist collection from a legend of storytelling. We hope her long-term fans will love these newly available stories, as well as inviting in a whole new generation of readers. Once you’ve read one Rosamunde Pilcher book, it’s impossible not to want to read more, and each of these short stories offers up the perfect sized piece of delicious escapism."
Bryan, who this week announced her retirement, said: "When Ros died her children found a treasure trove: a box containing 15 small bound lined notebooks in which Ros had meticulously recorded every sale she had made – stories, plays, novels, articles – since 1945 when she was in the Wrens in Trincomalee in Ceylon. These led us on a detective trail tracking down stories in the depths of the British Library. She would have been amazed by our discoveries."