Michael Joseph has acquired a "darkly atmospheric" historical thriller set against the backdrop of the 17th-century Icelandic witch trials.
Editorial director Jillian Taylor - who acquired world rights in The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea, from Nelle Andrew at PFD - characterised the novel as "brilliantly gothic, full of shocking and heart-wrenching twists".
Lea’s The Glass Woman tells the story of a woman "thrown into an unsettling world" in a land governed by religion and fear. Promotional copy for the book reads: "Jón Eiríksson has just married his second wife in a year, but Rósa’s new home is terrifyingly isolated – the villagers are suspicious of strangers and fearful of something. What is her new husband’s terrible secret, and why does the spectre of his first wife, Anna, haunt them so?"
Taylor said she knew she had to publish the book after reading its first few pages. "Chillingly atmospheric and beautifully taut, Caroline’s novel will make readers think deeply about the human capacity for good and evil, and how often the two are intertwined. The response in-house has been overwhelming, and I’m hugely excited about this acquisition," she added.
Lea said: "I’m so delighted to be published by Penguin, and to be working with the wonderful and talented team at Michael Joseph. I would describe it as a dream come true, but some things are so exciting and wonderful that you haven’t even dared to dream of them."
Lea, who studied Literature and Creative Writing at Warwick University, published her first novel, When the Sky Fell Apart, set in Jersey during World War Two, last year with Text Publishing House. The Glass Woman, her second novel, will publish early 2019.