Hodder & Stoughton has acquired romantic comedy Rescue Me and a second novel from author and journalist Sarra Manning at auction.
Rescue Me, a romcom about how a rescue dog who brings two people together, will be published in hardback and e-book in early 2021. With a second novel planned for 2022, World English rights in both were acquired by women’s fiction publisher Kimberley Atkins from Rebecca Ritchie at A M Heath. A M Heath conducted a multi-way German auction just before Christmas, resulting in a "substantial" deal for two books with Isabelle Toppe at Piper Verlag.
Pitched as perfect for readers of The Flatshare (Quercus), Rescue Me tells the story of Will and Margot, who meet at an animal rescue shelter and reluctantly end up "co-pawrenting" a charming Staffy called Blossom. The novel follows their unlikely friendship as they begin to realise that they might have even more in common than their shared love of a good dog.
The book was inspired by Manning's own own rescue Staffy, who was called Miss Betsy, making it "a very personal book" for the author. "I'm thrilled that it's in great hands with Kimberley and the team at Hodder," said Manning. "|t's been wonderful to go back to my romcom roots and I'm so excited for this new chapter in my writing career."
Atkins called it "big-hearted and memorable romantic fiction at its very finest". Ritchie said it was "Sarra Manning at her very best and most authentic".
Manning, a journalist for 25 years, has published seven novels, which have been translated into 15 different languages. Her latest was The Rise and Fall of Becky Sharp, published in 2018 by HarperCollins. She has also written more than 15 YA novels and light-hearted romantic comedies under a pseudonym.