Sphere has acquired two historical novels by writer Jenny Ashcroft.
Manpreet Grewal, commissioning editor, acquired UK & Commonwealth rights in Beneath a Burning Sky and a second novel from Rebecca Ritchie at Curtis Brown.
Beneath a Burning Sky is desribed as “a story of love and betrayal”, set against a backdrop of British-occupied Egypt in 1891. It follows 22-year-old Olivia, coerced into marriage, as she sets about finding her abducted sister. The result is a descension into “the shadowy underworld of Alexandria, a rabbit-hole of intrigue, adultery, blackmail and deceit”.
Grewal said: “Jenny is such a talent; Beneath a Burning Sky had me gripped from the very first page – it’s a beautiful, epic and evocative novel full of secrets, romance and mystery, all set against an incredibly atmospheric historical backdrop. It has everything readers want from this kind of story and will appeal to fans of Victoria Hislop, Dinah Jefferies and Rosanna Ley.”
Ashcroft's first novel, Remember Me, was published in October 2014 in Germany under the title, Die Frauen vom Rose Square (Goldmann Verlag).
Ashcroft said: “I'm absolutely delighted to be working with Manpreet and the team at Sphere – it's a dream come true to be joining their list and I couldn't be more excited."
Ritchie said: “Jenny is an incredibly exciting new writing talent, and I can’t wait for readers to discover Beneath a Burning Sky. It’s a wonderfully atmospheric debut and Sphere is the perfect home to launch it in the UK.”
Sphere will publish Beneath a Burning Sky in export C format - the trade paperback edition for Sphere's export territories - in November 2016, with the UK paperback following in summer 2017.