H&S lands 'captivating' Downes debut in two-book deal

H&S lands 'captivating' Downes debut in two-book deal

Hodder & Stoughton has bagged the “captivating” debut thriller from Anna Downes in a two-book deal.

UK and Commonwealth rights for The Safe Place were acquired by senior commissioning editor Eve Hall from Katie Greenstreet of C&W. It will be published in July 2020 with a second, untitled novel to follow.

It tells the story of Emily Proudman, a struggling actress whose life is falling apart. The synopsis states: “When she is offered a job living and working for a wealthy family on their remote estate in France, it seems like the perfect opportunity to start again. But her charismatic new employers are hiding dangerous secrets, and what at first appears to be a dream come true turns out to a be a prison from which none of them will ever escape. Superbly tense and mesmerising, The Safe Place is a deft examination of the lengths we’ll go to project and protect the façade of a perfect life.”

US, Australian, Dutch, Russian, Hungarian, Croatian, and German rights have already been sold, while film and TV rights are being handled by Josie Freedman at ICM.

Hall said: “The Safe Place is completely captivating. It is genuinely one of those novels that you will read in one sitting, even if you’re up all night. It is a brilliant debut; full of heart, atmosphere and perfectly plotted twists and turns. Anna is such a talent and I’m thrilled to be part of her team.’

Downes said: “To have found a home with Hodder & Stoughton, who publish some of my all-time favourite authors, is beyond my wildest dreams. I could not be happier or more excited for what's ahead.”