Headline has snapped up the début of the daughter of bestselling author Penny Vincenzi, a tale which “opens up a Pandora’s box of secrets and lies”.
Associate publisher Sherise Hobbs bought world rights to Emily Gunnis’ The Numbered through agent Kate Barker in a “major pre-empt” on the eve of the fair. Headline will release the novel in autumn 2018.
The story “combines mystery and suspense with a strong emotional core” as a journalist unearths a devastating letter from a Magdalene Sisters-esque mother and baby home among her grandmother’s possessions.
Gunnis, who has previously worked in TV, said that while the issue of unwed mothers forced to give up their children has been much-discussed in Ireland - such as in Martin Sixsmith’s bestselling Philomena - the subject has rarely been tackled in the UK.
She said: “I hope this heartfelt story provides a platform for people to talk about a subject that’s close to my heart: the forced adoption of hundreds of thousands of babies, the impact of which is still being felt.”
Vincenzi, who is also published by Headline, is one the UK’s bestselling commercial women’s fiction authors, having earned £18.3m through Nielsen Book- Scan since records began in 1998.