Sphere will publish Christine Simon's debut novel The Patron Saint of Second Chances in 2022.
Darcy Nicholson, editorial director, has acquired world rights, excluding the US, at auction from Hellie Ogden at Janklow & Nesbit. Rights have already been sold to Newton Compton in Italy and Hayakawa in Japan. Allison Hunter at Janklow US will be handling North American rights.
The novel was written during lockdown and is billed as a "joyous celebration of the underdog and a timely reminder of the importance of community, family and home".
The synopsis explains: "The Patron Saint of Second Chances tells the story of Signor Speranza, self-appointed mayor of a dying village on the Italian coast who – desperate to save his hometown from extinction – starts a rumour that Dante Rinaldi, Italy’s most loved heartthrob, is about to start filming his latest project there. When his neighbours want to be involved in the making of the film, he finds himself backed into a corner. So they start shooting, Speranza all the while promising that Dante is on his way. And he almost gets away with it, until Dante Rinaldi actually shows up…"
Nicholson said: "Imagine 'Local Hero' but shamelessly upbeat, or 'Waking Ned' with less death and you’ll be some way to imagining the wonderful world of Christine Simon’s debut novel. We all fell hard and fast for The Patron Saint of Second Chances and though it’s a refrain we’ll no doubt be hearing too much of, I really have to declare this the perfect antidote to everything happening around us. Christine is a proper talent and I’m fiercely proud to be launching her career at Sphere."
Simon said: "I had so much fun writing The Patron Saint of Second Chances, and whisking to Italy for a few hours every day during the early months of the pandemic. I’m so glad my wonderful agent Hellie brought this book to Darcy at Sphere, where it has found a perfect home. Darcy took my beloved characters to her heart and helped me make their story better than I ever thought it could be."
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