New Sarah Waters due autumn 2014

Virago is to publish Sarah Waters' new novel in autumn 2014, with publisher Lennie Goodings promising it is “vintage Sarah Waters in every way”.

The book, as yet untitled, will be set in a “tense” London in 1922, in the wake of the First World War, with disillusioned ex-servicemen, and the out-of-work and hungry demanding change.

In a genteel Camberwell villa, bereft of men, impoverished widow Mrs Wray and her spinster daughter Frances have to take in lodgers. When Lilian and Leonard Barber—a modern young couple of the “clerk class”—arrive, the routines of the house are shaken up in unexpected ways. “Passions mount and frustration gathers,” Virago promised.

Goodings said: “It is vintage Sarah Waters in every way—beautifully described with excruciating tension, real tenderness, believable characters, and surprises; it is above all, a wonderful, compelling story.”   

Judith Murray of Greene & Heaton did the deal, and sold the novel through co-agents Jennifer Weltz at the Jean V Naggar Literary Agency and Dean Cooke at The Cooke Agency to Megan Lynch at Riverhead in the US and Lara Hinchberger at McClelland & Stewart in Canada.

Sales of Waters’ novels through Nielsen BookScan’s UK TCM stand at 1,046,878, to a value of £7.4m. Her most recent novel, The Little Stranger, published in 2009, was the third to be shortlisted for the Man Booker.