Lynne Drew, Publishing Director at Harpercollins, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights, ex Canada and ANZ, in THE PEARLER'S WIFE, a stunning historical debut by Roxane Dhand, from Hattie Grunewald at Blake Friedmann. Australian rights were sold to Beverley Cousins at Penguin Random House Australia in a heated auction. Publication is scheduled for March 2018, in ebook and audio in the UK, and trade paperback in Australia, with the UK paperback scheduled to follow in Summer 2018.
Opening in 1912, this compelling novel follows 19-year-old Maisie Porter as she sails from England on the SS Oceanic. Her destination is Buccaneer Bay in Australia's far north-west; her fate, marriage to a distant cousin, Maitland Sinclair.
When Maisie arrives in the unfamiliar country she is shocked at her new husband's callous behaviour towards her. Drawn into Maitland's pearling business, she is thrown together with the intriguing William Cooper, a British diver who travelled out at the same time, and inhabits a world across the social divide. But Maisie's husband is harbouring secrets - deadly secrets. As Cooper and the divers sail out to harvest the pearl-shell, they are in great danger - and not just from the unpredictable and perilous ocean...
Maisie's story is based on true stories of the pearl shell industry and this unique trade in the early twentieth century. It is a story of passion against the rules of society and a portrait of a frontier town clinging to strict class rules, as well as the racial tensions of a multi-cultural continent.
Roxane Dhand was born in Kent and entertained her sisters with imaginative stories from a young age. She was educated at James Allen's Girls' School in SE London and studied English and French at London University. After university, she had a career in public relations in both Switzerland and London before teaching French in both the maintained and private sectors. She now writes full time and lives in Winchester, England.
Lynne Drew says:
'This is the kind of page-turning, vivid and evocative historical fiction that readers are crying out for. The Pearler's Wife introduces a fierce, brave heroine who is unforgettable in adversity and the book's basis in a true story leaves you fascinated and intrigued. Roxane Dhand has a real talent for creating memorable characters and this will launch a formidable career.'
Lithuanian rights have also sold to Baltos Lankos.