Usborne has snapped up a “Downton-Abbey-eqsue” middle-grade series from YA author Lucy Ivison.
Senior commissioning editor Sarah Stewart acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights for three books in The House of Serendipity series from Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency. The illustrated books will be released Spring 2021.
The series is Ivison’s first solo novel and follows the lives of a pre-teen aristocrat and a household maid in the 1920s. Ivison has co-authored YA novels Lobsters, Never Evers, and Freshers (Chicken House) with Tom Ellen.
The synopsis explains: “After her family has to sell the tailor’s shop in which she grew up, Myrtle finds work as a lady’s maid at the Serendipity House, home to the respectable Cartwright family. She doesn’t expect to find herself tasked with making a debutante gown for one of the daughters of the household, but Sylvia, the irrepressible youngest Cartwright daughter, has little regard for social propriety. Together they discover that their individual talents for designing and dressmaking are the perfect partnership, resulting in a beautiful dress and an unlikely friendship that defies social expectations. Perfect for fans of Robin Stevens and Katherine Woodfine, this stylish historical series is doused in Downton Abbey-esque period glamour, and will take readers aged 10+ on an adventure from London to Hollywood to Paris.”
Ivison said: “I have wanted to write a fun, fashion filled historical series for as long as I can remember and I am excited to work with the whole team to see Myrtle and Sylvia’s fashion illustrations come to life. I am passionate about vintage clothes and this series brings together that love with best friendship and fashion illustration, two things that are ever popular in my school library.”