Transworld has acquired two more books by historical novelist Rachel Rhys, the pen name of Tammy Cohen.
Editorial director at Transworld Jane Lawson acquired British and Commonwealth rights including audio to two new commercial novels from Felicity Blunt at Curtis Brown. The first will be published by Transworld imprint Black Swan in paperback in summer 2020.
Set in 1955 in London and Havana, the novel tells of Iris, a gifted portraitist whose remarkable sketching talents have been spotted by a wedding planner to the rich and famous. Soon she is jetting off to a mansion in Havana to sketch family and guests at a glamorous wedding. Over the course of the week’s celebrations, Iris will uncover a toxic, fractured family.
The deal follows the successful outing of Rhys’ first historical novels, Richard and Judy Book Club pick Dangerous Crossing (2017) and A Fatal Inheritance (2018). They were acquired in 2016, when Rhys’ identity was still secret, and referred to as “a pen name for an already successful female suspense author”.
Lawson said: “Rachel Rhys writes thoroughly immersive stories that whisk readers away to a warm and exotic period location, in the company of an English heroine who is escaping a dull life. Her superior plotting skills, and sharp wit and characterisation have already garnered her thousands of loyal fans.”
She revealed how Rhys does not rely on romance in her plotting, instead focusing on adventure – and Lawson hopes to consolidate’s the author’s brand.
“Rhys brings something extra to her genre of ‘destination’ women’s fiction, as she resists allowing her heroines to find happiness through romance, but prefers to tell of independent women who are escaping the strictures of their time and class, in order to find themselves,” Lawson said. “It’s always a privilege to work with Rachel, and we could not be more thrilled to be continuing to publish her and to have the opportunity to build her into a popular brand in the coming years.”
Cohen said: "I am beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to write more books as Rachel Rhys and couldn’t ask for a better home for them than with Jane Lawson and Alison Barrow and the rest of the brilliant Transworld team. Writing as Rachel Rhys gives me the chance to root around in the dark corners of some of the world’s most exotic locations and 1950s Havana provides the perfect mix of glamour and seediness, romance and corruption, with the dysfunctional Hardman family at its black heart."
Meanwhile Cohen’s new psychological thriller Stop At Nothing will be published this summer, as part of a separate Transworld deal, for three books, announced in 2016.
Altogether, Cohen has sold a combined 166,162 books for £854,871 across her titles, according to Nielsen BookScan with her first Rhys outing, Dangerous Crossing, the bestseller, at 56,911 copies sold.