A debut novel by 70-year-old Anne Youngson has been pre-empted by Transworld and is set to become the publisher's lead fiction title for summer 2018.
Transworld editorial director Jane Lawson pre-empted UK and Commonwealth rights including Canada to Meet Me At The Museum, described as "the gentlest, most humane and emotional" novel, from Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton, just 48 hours after receiving the submission.
Meet Me at the Museum tells of a man and a woman with more of their life behind them than ahead, who find new beginnings when they connect unexpectedly through a mutual love of ancient history, personal treasures and nature.
Lawson said it was rare for her to fall for a novel so "instantly and irrevocably".
"Anne Youngson has created an enduring novel of ideas, full of grace and humanity, and charged with emotion", said Lawson. "I realised as soon as I started this novel that I would not stop until I had acquired it. And I am fortunate to have a superb team at Transworld who read overnight and loved it equally".
Youngson said: "It is astonishing and thrilling in equal measure to have my first novel selected for publication by the team at Doubleday. My agent advised me not to hesitate to accept their offer and she was right. I have been so impressed with the passion and professionalism they have brought to the process (all new to me) of moving towards publication. I feel truly privileged to have this opportunity to develop another career, and I plan to take full advantage of it."
Youngson, a debut novelist who is just turning 70-years-old, worked at a senior level in product development at a major car company. "It is all the more surprising therefore that after so many years in the cut and thrust of a high-pressure day job, Anne has produced the gentlest, most humane and emotional novel", the publisher said. Since then she has also supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network. She lives in Oxfordshire with her husband.
Transworld will publish in Doubleday hardback on 14th June 2018, backed by a "major impact" publicity campaign.