Bonnier Zaffre has acquired two books from debut historical novelist, Helen Moffett - the first of which tells the story of Charlotte Lucas, Elizabeth Bennet’s closest friend in Pride and Prejudice.
Kate Parkin, managing director of Adult Publishing, acquired world rights to Charlotte and a second novel from Oli Munson at A.M. Heath, intending to publish the first book in 2019.
Parkin called Charlotte a "tender and thoughtful exploration of Charlotte’s choices", with the sensible character's decision to marry pompous clergyman Mr Collins a "perennial puzzle" for many modern women today.
"In Helen Moffett’s tender and thoughtful exploration of Charlotte’s choices, we come to understand exactly the bargain she has struck and its consequences," said Parkin. "Compelling, rich and immersive, Moffett’s novel speaks of the intimate lives of women, about grief, about maternal love, about friendship and passion and escape, while at the same time offering a deliciously subversive narrative. Just as Jo Baker’s superb Longbourn told the hidden story of the Bennet family servants, so Charlotte reveals the shocking depths of dependency of ordinary women on a pitiless patriarchy."
Moffett said: "When I studied Pride and Prejudice at university, I always wondered about the character of Charlotte. If you were a poor, plain and not particularly accomplished woman reaching a dangerous age, what were your options? And so the seed of Charlotte was sown. To have this story – my first novel – published by Bonnier Books UK is literally the fulfilment of a dream. I’m beyond excited."