Viking has pre-empted a debut novel by Sara Collins, The Confessions of Frannie Langton, the evening before a nine-way auction was due to take place and less than a week after the manuscript was submitted.
Katy Loftus acquired UK and Commonwealth rights excluding Canada from Nelle Andrew at Peters Fraser and Dunlop (PFD). At the end of the same week, HarperCollins US successfully pre-empted North American rights in a “significant” house bid, and the novel will be published by Emily Griffin at Harper. International rights are being sold by PFD with “avid interest” reported in other countries.
The book is set in early 19th-century London with the plot following Collins’ heroine, Frannie, a slave-turned-servant who travels with her owner from a Jamaican plantation to 1800s London, where she finds herself accused of the brutal murder of her master and mistress. Loftus called Frannie “a remarkable character” and her story “truly unlike any other I have read” as “both a jaw-dropping account of one woman’s quest for freedom and love, in a world where those rights are routinely denied because of her colour and gender; and a twisted murder mystery that gripped me to the very last page”.