Hutchinson has pre-empted a “rollicking” historical page-turner by Neil Blackmore in a “strong five-figure deal”.
Jocasta Hamilton, publishing director, acquired world English rights for The Intoxicating Mr Lavelle from Veronique Baxter at David Higham. It will be published as a demy hardback on 14th May 2020.
“In 1764, Benjamin and his brother are sent on a Grand Tour of Europe by their ambitious mother,” its synopsis states. “Having raised them in the twin holy tenets of the Enlightenment and Englishness, she wants them to make the kind of connections that will ensure the family business flourishes on their return. Instead, Benjamin meets the beautiful and cruel Lavelle, who seduces him and drives the brothers apart. Benjamin’s sexual and intellectual obsession with Lavelle – a mad, all-consuming love - unfurls across beautiful locations: Paris, Venice, Florence and Rome, threatening to overwhelm him until at last tragedy strikes and a reckoning is forced.”
Hamilton said: “Like an 18th-century Talented Mr Ripley this is a rollicking journey across 1760s Europe and wonderful on the dangerous thrill of first love. Brilliantly skewering pretension and prejudice, it acts as a tragic satire on our own times. Original, darkly funny – and thoroughly intoxicating – it is a relentlessly entertaining read.”
Blackmore added: “Lavelle appeared in my head fully formed, a beautiful dark angel sent to appal and seduce at the same time, and it's wonderful that he, and the poor souls he decides to bewitch and torment, are going to be unleashed on the world. I'm thrilled to be with Hutchinson and very much look forward to readers having a chance to meet the intoxicating Mr Lavelle next year.”