UK & Commonwealth rights for Beth Morrey’s debut novel, The Love Story of Missy Carmichaelhave been won by Martha Ashby at HarperFiction following an “extraordinary” ten-way auction.

The ‘coming-of-old’ tale was one of this year’s most talked about books at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and as reported in the The BooksellerThe Guardian and The Telegraph is at the vanguard of the new trend of uplifting (or ‘uplit’) narratives that are so in demand at the moment, due in many ways to the success of our very own Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (also published by HaperFiction).

The debut is a life affirming, deeply moving novel, and has already won over the hearts of several publishers to date, with Italian rights going to Garzanti, Swedish rights to Lind & Co., Russian rights to Sinbad and Serbian rights to Laguna.

Missy Carmichael has had a fulfilling life with two children, a golden husband and a Classics degree from Cambridge. But the world has changed around her. She doesn’t speak to her daughter, her son lives in Australia with her only grandson, and Leo, her great love, is gone. Left alone in a big house with only her memories, Missy can’t help but reminisce, and wishes more than anything that her life would return to the way it once was.

But sometimes experiences from the past can shatter rather than sooth, leaving Missy with no choice but to trust in the kindness of strangers, and an adopted dog.

As quoted in The Guardian, Martha Ashby said of the book: “I’ve seen a lot of submissions that could comfortably fit in [the uplit] area, but what I loved and felt significantly different about Beth’s novel was that it never felt saccharine or that it was pandering to the reader. It felt very real and very honest, and even shone a bit of light on to some issues that we as a society are less than comfortable talking about: loneliness, old age, and how to ask for help when you need it most.”

Beth Morrey is currently the Creative Director at RDF Television where she has been involved in numerous productions – she helped create The Secret Life of Four Year Olds series on Channel 4 and devised 100 Year Old Drivers for ITV. She was shortlisted for the Grazia Orange First Chapter competition back in 2011, had her work published in the Cambridge and Oxford May Anthologies, and was Vice-President of the Cambridge Footlights. She’s an experienced treatment and sketch writer, though novel-writing has always been her dream.

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is her first book.