UK & Commonwealth rights have been acquired by Editorial Director for Fiction Sara Adams from Hayley Steed. And, following a hotly contested auction, Canadian rights were acquired by Sarah St. Pierre at Simon & Schuster Canada in a stellar six-figure deal.
The book has also already sold into international territories – in deals brokered by Liane Louise Smith, Dutch rights and Brazilian rights have sold to De Fontain and Companhia das Letras, respectively.
The novel deals with themes close to Heather’s heart, given her educational and professional background in politics, with a particular interest in Canadian women’s reproductive rights. Looking for Jane is a story which seamlessly interweaves the past and present; set between 1970s and present-day Toronto, we follow three women of different generations, fighting tirelessly for body autonomy. They are all linked to an underground abortion network, known only by its whispered codename: Jane. They are also connected by long-buried secrets, which threaten to emerge.
In 1970s Toronto, a group of daring women operate an illegal underground abortion network known only by its code name: Jane.
As a teenager, Dr. Evelyn Taylor was forced to give her baby up for adoption—a trauma she has never recovered from. Despite harrowing police raids and the constant threat of arrest, Evelyn joins the Jane Network as an abortion provider, determined to give other women the choice she never had.
After discovering a shocking secret about her family history, twenty year old Nancy Mitchell finds herself pregnant. Grappling with her decision, she locates ‘Jane’ to terminate her pregnancy, then covertly joins the network’s ranks as the lies begin to pile up around her.
Decades later, Angela Creighton finds a mysterious letter containing a life-shattering confession. While searching for the letter’s intended recipient, she crosses paths with Evelyn, who realizes Angela may hold the key to providing her the closure she desperately needs.
Spanning six decades, Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela’s lives intertwine to reveal the devastating consequences that come from a lack of choice, and the buried truths that will always find a way to the surface…
Sara Adams confirmed: “I’m so delighted to welcome Heather to Hodder Studio. Her debut novel Looking for Jane is powerful, purposeful and utterly compelling and it serves as an important call to arms, for though Looking for Jane begins in the 60s, its themes are still heartbreakingly relevant today.”
An excited Heather Marshall proclaimed: “I’m thrilled to have found my UK and Commonwealth home with Hodder Studio! Sara’s enthusiasm for Looking for Jane and the message of hope woven through its pages made it clear from the start that Hodder Studio was the right publisher for this book. I’m so excited to work with Sara on bringing Evelyn, Nancy, and Angela’s story to UK and Commonwealth readers.”
Hayley Steed added: “I’m overjoyed that Heather’s debut has found such a fantastic home with Sara and Hodder Studio – from the moment I read Heather’s first draft I was taken in by the resilience and bravery of the Jane Collective and other services like it. Its themes are universal and important, and Heather handles them deftly with great care, giving a voice to every woman who fought, and is still fighting, the right for choice.”
Heather Marshall was born and raised near Toronto, Ontario, where she still lives with her family and their giant golden retriever. After receiving an honours degree in history and political science, Heather completed Master’s degrees in Canadian history and political science. Her thesis papers for those degrees focused on the treatment of birth control in Canadian print media in the 1960s and the evolution of child care policy in Ontario, respectively.
Upon graduation, Heather worked for a city councillor, a Member of Provincial Parliament, and a Member of Parliament from 2012 through 2019 before moving to communications in a large labour union.