Usborne has sold Lucy Ivison’s “gorgeously glamorous” 1920s-set The House of Serendipity trilogy to four territories in the run-up to the virtual Bologna Children’s Book Fair.
French rights were won at auction by Gallimard Jeunesse while Amsterdam-based independent Billy Bones snatched up Dutch rights in a pre-empt. The series has also gone to WSOY in Finland and Denmark’s Gads Forlag.
The House of Serendipity focuses on two young women and unlikely friends, the Irish maid Myrtle Mathers and daughter of a duke and duchess Lady Sylvia Cartwright, who bond over their love of fashion and sewing. The first in the series, Sequins and Secrets, revolves around Myrtle and Sylvia helping Agapantha Portland-Price in attempting to escape from her debutante ball to explore the Amazon dressed as a man.
Sequins and Secrets was published in the UK last week (10th June) and is illustrated by Catharine Collingridge. Ivison is an author and London-based school librarian, who has written three previous Young Adult titles for Chicken House with Tom Ellen.
Senior commissioning editor Sarah Stewart originally acquired UK, Commonwealth and translation rights for three books in the series from Molly Ker Hawn at the Bent Agency. Ker Hawn also sold the series to Razorbill/Penguin in the US.
Bibi Rumping, publisher of Billy Bones, said: “We really wanted to acquire a new series about fashion for this age, but with a feminist twist. And with such fantastic characters like Sylvia, Myrtle and Agapantha, I dare to say: mission accomplished!"