Legend Press has snapped up Ana Johns' "beautiful" time-slip novel, The Woman in the White Kimono, billed as “competition for Memoirs of a Geisha”.
Johns' novel includes two threads of two women separated by oceans and decades but "inextricably bound by the secrets between them”, the Lorella Belli Literary Agency said.
One narrative follows 17-year-old Naoko Nakamura in Japan, 1957, who is preparing for a prearranged marriage to the son of her father’s business associate, despite the fact she has fallen for an American soldier. Meanwhile in present day America, Tori Kovač, is caring for her dying father and finds a letter containing a shocking revelation—one that calls into question everything and leads her half-way around the world to a remote sea-side village in Japan.
Johns is the pen name of the internationally published author of two romantic comedies. The Woman in the White Kimono is her first historical fiction and is aimed at the reading group market. It will appeal to those who enjoy books by authors such as Amy Tan and Victoria Hislop, Legend Press said.
Lauren Parsons, commissioning editor at Legend Press, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Lorella Belli of the Lorella Belli Literary Agency for publication in autumn 2019, with audio rights going to Ellis Moore, rights and content manager at Bolinda, for simultaneous publication with the UK release. North American rights have been sold to Erika Imranyi at Park Row Books/HarperCollins for hardback publication in May 2019.
Johns paid tribute to Park Row Books as well as Legend Press, "a smart publisher with an impressive list", adding that the audio aspect is "wonderful as it gives Tori and Naoko’s story an even stronger voice".
Belli, of the Lorella Belli Literary Agency, said: "A poignant, sweeping novel of spirit and love - between fathers and daughters and husbands and wives— that travels the difficult road to acceptance through secrets, sacrifice, and lies - this book is a heartbreaker."
Parsons commented: "The Woman in the White Kimono is a beautiful novel – full of incredible detail and heart-wrenching dialogue."
Moore, appointed a Bookseller Rising Star last year, said: "So many titles have claimed to be competition for The Memoirs of a Geisha, but I think now that the claim is finally and entirely justified by The Woman in the White Kimono. I knew as soon as I saw the first chapter of the manuscript, it was going to be a unique read in print, and so leant itself perfectly to audio.”