Pan Macmillan has acquired Deborah Hewitt’s The Nightjar, a book for adult readers infused with magical adventure and Finnish mythology.
According to Pan Macmillan, the book will appeal to fans of Joanne Harris and Claire North, featuring a "will-they-won’t-they romance arc and a compelling undercurrent of darkness".
The Nightjar introduces readers to an "engaging, flawed" heroine, Alice, who has to journey into darkness to save her friend's life. Set in a "unique, alternative" London, full of magic as well as hunters of magic users, its protagonist is an "aviarist", capable of seeing nightjars - the magical birds that guard human souls. When an accident leaves her friend Jen in a coma, Alice must risk everything to reunite Jen with her soul bird - else lose her forever.
Editorial director Bella Pagan acquired world rights to the book and its sequel from Jemima Forrester at David Higham Associates.
Pagan commented: "I knew within pages that I’d found a very special new voice. The Nightjar is amazingly imaginative – and Deborah’s engaging, flawed heroine is a triumph. I loved the immersive and adventurous story, with its will-they-won’t-they romance arc and a compelling undercurrent of darkness. This leads to bittersweet moments and a story that lingers in the memory long after reading."
Hewitt is a teacher and previous "Undiscovered Voices" winner living in Manchester. Pan Macmillan will be publishing her debut novel in the summer of 2019 and the next book a year later.