Zaffre has announced the second novel by bestselling author Stacey Halls, The Foundling, will be published next February.
Halls is the writer of The Familiars, which Zaffre scooped along with her second novel in a nine-publisher auction back in 2017. It has gone on to sell 29,081 copies across hardback and trade paperback since its February release. In March, the Bonnier Books UK imprint announced it had struck a deal for two more novels.
The new novel centres on London’s Foundling Hospital, which was created by Thomas Coram as the first children’s charity in the mid-18th century. Its synopsis reads: “At the heart of the novel is a token left by a young unmarried woman as she hands her tiny baby girl over; a heart carved from whalebone. This token will prove which of two women is the mother of this foundling child, and who her father was. The Foundling examines the stark contrast between rich and poor in Georgian London, and themes of families, secrets, class, equality, power and the meaning of motherhood.”
Halls explained: “The idea for The Foundling came to me when I visited the museum and saw the wall of tokens - everyday objects from Georgian England such as engraved coins and swatches of fabric cut from clothes - that women left with their babies to identify them if they were in a position to collect them one day. I found these scraps of hope so moving. They’re so telling of how little poor women had, and how they thought they’d be giving their child a better life in leaving them at The Foundling.
“Zaffre is the perfect home for Bess, Alexandra and Clara, and I’m so excited for readers to discover them, and for all the hard work Bonnier Books UK put in to make The Familiars a success beyond what I ever imagined for it.”
Her agent, Juliet Mushens, of Caskie Mushens, said: “The Foundling showcases what Stacey does best - nuanced women, a fascinating historical period and a clever and page-turning plot. I am so excited for readers to immerse themselves in their world.”
Publishing director Margaret Stead added: “The teams at Zaffre and Bonnier Books UK have been hugely proud of the success of The Familiars and we are incredibly excited about The Foundling. It is a compelling, powerful, energetic and gripping narrative with wonderfully drawn characters at its heart, set against a rich historical setting. Stacey is a huge talent and with this second novel, she is really hitting her stride as a writer to watch.”