Simon & Schuster has won what it has labelled a “psychological drama” by author Sarah Vaughan at auction, paying a “good six figures”.
S&S acquired UK and Commonwealth rights to Anatomy of a Scandal, and a second novel, from Lizzy Kremer at David Higham Associates. Former Guardian journalist Vaughan has published two novels with Hodder.
Kremer said she sent the novel to 10 publishers and received “not one rejection”, which the agent said was unprecedented, “but it is so rare for a book to be both grippingly page-turning, and beautifully written. Sarah tackles a difficult subject with great sensitivity.”
The novel centres on a marriage that begins to unravel when the husband is accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is sure her husband James is innocent and desperately tries to protect her family, but Kate, the prosecuting barrister, is certain James is guilty and determined to see him pay for his crime.
Jo Dickinson, publishing director for fiction at S&S UK, said: “I absolutely loved Anatomy of a Scandal from the first page; it represents a new focus from Sarah on the dilemmas that women face when their lives are touched by crime. Sarah has created a stunning novel that is thought-provoking, brave, real and emotional.”
Author Vaughan said: “I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of those who bid for my novel, and thrilled that it resonates. I’m delighted to be joining Simon & Schuster, where Jo has been passionate about the novel from the start. I can’t wait to work with her.”
Anatomy of a Scandal will be published in the UK in hardback and e-book in January 2018. Rights have been pre-empted in France (Préludes) and Italy (Stile Libero), with offers on the table from Germany, Turkey, Russia and Lithuania, and a Norwegian auction under way. The book is currently on submission in the US.