announcing-fleet-new-literary-imprint

Fleet

A new literary imprint

Fleet is a literary imprint from Little, Brown, launched in the spring of 2016. Its publisher is Ursula Doyle, formerly of Granta, Picador and Virago.
 
Fleet’s three hardback launch titles are Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, a thrilling and inspiring memoir about a lifelong love affair with science; Now & Again by Charlotte Rogan, a contemporary novel about war and the choices it forces us to make by the author of the international bestseller The Lifeboat, published in twenty-sixlanguages; and Only in Naples, in which American-born Katherine Wilson takes a three-month rite-of-passage trip to Naples which turns into a permanent embrace of this boisterous city thanks to a surprising romance, a new passion for food, and the wise and spirited woman who will become her mother-in-law. The paperback launch title is Early One Morning by Virginia Baily, a Sunday Times top-ten hardback bestseller.
 
Fleet will be a small list of between eight and ten titles a year, both fiction and non-fiction, which will be published in hardback and subsequently in paperback. The colophon, an upright hare, poised for action, embodies its spirit: inquiring, alert, responsive and with a dusting of magic.

Virago

Early One Morning

By Virginia Baily

A grey dawn in 1943: on a street in Rome, two young women, complete strangers to each other, lock eyes for a single moment.

One of the women, Chiara Ravello, is about to flee the occupied city for the safety of her grandparents' house in the hills. The other has been herded on to a truck with her husband and their young children, and will shortly be driven off into the darkness.

In that endless-seeming moment, before she has time to think about what she is doing, Chiara makes a decision that changes her life for ever. Loudly claiming the woman's son as her own nephew, she demands his immediate return; only as the trucks depart does she begin to realize what she has done. She is twenty-seven, single, with a sister who needs her constant care, a hazardous journey ahead of her, and now a child in her charge - a child with no papers who refuses to speak and gives every indication that he will bolt at the first opportunity.

Three decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained, self-possessed woman working as a translator and to all appearances quite content with a life which revolves around work, friends, music and the theatre. But always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, the boy from the truck, whose absence haunts her every moment. Gradually we learn of the havoc wrought on Chiara, her family and her friends by the boy she rescued, and how he eventually broke her heart. And when she receives a phone call from a teenage girl named Maria, claiming to be Daniele's daughter, Chiara knows that it is time for her to face up to the past.

This epic novel is an unforgettably powerful, suspenseful, heartbreaking and inspiring tale of love, loss and war's reverberations down the years.

Early One Morning isn't just an incandescent novel, but the rarest of reading experiences, offering a view both wrenching and luminous of how love pushes us past what we're capable of, and somehow - impossibly - reclaims us when we're long past saving. Utterly magnificentEarly One Morning heralds the arrival of an exciting new voice in fiction, with a story that is instantly engaging, and characters that effortlessly lift from the page and are rendered so rich and full that they wrap themselves around you and refuse to let go. Beautifully written and emotionally taut, Virginia Baily's Early One Morning is a powerhouse of a novelA real treat: a beautifully written account of the long consequences of war, set in a richly evoked Roman of the 1970sWonderful . . . I was completely inside it from the first pages, just that delicious (rare) feeling of knowing you're in safe hands, this writer isn't going to make a mess of anything, or forfeit your trust or your belief. It managed to be so witty and dry and true . . . Vividly intelligent, gripping and moving and aliveA powerfully moving tale of war's reverberationsBaily subtly tugs at your heartstrings and by the end of her novel you're likely to be as desperate as the women in Daniele's life to discover his fateA moving assertion of the power of maternal love to overcome unimaginable obstaclesVirginia Baily pulls off a triumph with an exquisitely rendered novel that explores how one powerful and unexpected love can shape a life foreverAs gripping as any thriller . . . crammed with the sort of heart-stopping, heart-breaking scenes that brought a lump to the throat of even this jaded reviewer. Really, really goodIntricate, moving - I loved itHeartbreaking . . . a powerful story of sacrifice, despair and ultimately redemptionBaily offers a poignant, not-too-sappy fable about surviving war's cruelties and crushing losses, and the near-miraculous feats of bonding humans are sometimes capable ofIncredibly sure-footed, a big, generous and absorbing piece of storytelling, fearless, witty and full of flair . . . It's a surprisingly humorous novel, in which the characters are tenderly mocked or mock themselves. It's also defiant. Even as it forces its characters to lose so much, it asserts itself against those losses with vehemence and hopeA powerfully moving novel about the long shadows cast by the terrible separations of the Second World WarVirginia Baily's wonderfully-imagined novel . . . The war years - the journey from Roman and the months spent at the grandmother's - are exceptionally well done . . . Anyone familiar with Rome will delight in following Chiara's movements about the city. She is a true Roman, infuriating and delightful . . . Virginia Baily is a natural novelist [who] cherishes the details of daily life and this gives the novel so much of its vitality, but it is her ability to evoke tangled emotions and present them convincingly that makes her book remarkableAn enchanting storytellerEarly One Morning is a story to be savoured. Filled with characters who are far from perfect people, who complement and contrast so well, it really is incredibly well written, the pages fly by so quickly, the story totally consumed me. I was left with lots of questions about identity, about upbringing and parental influence, and how our lives are shaped by those around usEarly One Morning is a sweeping story, played out in two continents and two different times, each charged with equal emotion. It isn't a book that breaks your heart. It's a book that chips away at your heart with a tiny hammer until you're left a shattered mess, and only Baily can piece it back together againA wonderfully evocative historical novel that made me desperate to revisit Rome . . . compelling and hauntingA triumph . . . an exquisitely rendered novel that explores how one powerful and unexpected love can shape a life for ever . . . By turns witty, poignant, tragic and uplifting, this feast of a novel will mark out its author as a powerful voice on the literary sceneWhat does it mean to save a life?This is Virginia Baily's second novel. Her first, Africa Junction (Harvill Secker), won the McKitterick prize in 2012. She holds a PhD and MA in English from the University of Exeter. She founded and co-edits Riptide, a short-story journal. She is also the editor of the political series of the Africa Research Bulletin. She lives in Exeter, Devon. www.virginiabaily.com.

A grey dawn in 1943: on a street in Rome, two young women, complete strangers to each other, lock eyes for a single moment.

One of them, Chiara Ravello, is about to flee the occupied city for the safety of her grandparents' house in the hills. The other has been forced at gunpoint on to the back of a truck with her husband and their young children.

As time stands still, Chiara makes a decision that changes her life for ever. Loudly claiming the woman's son as her own nephew, she demands and - to her amazement - secures his immediate release. Only as the trucks depart does she begin to realize what she has done.

Three decades later, Chiara lives alone in Rome, a self-contained, self-possessed woman, apparently content with a life that revolves around friends, music, the theatre and her work as a translator. But always in the background is the shadow of Daniele, the boy from the truck, whose absence haunts her every moment. Gradually we learn of the havoc wrought by the boy Chiara rescued, and how he eventually broke her heart. And when she receives a phone call from a teenage girl named Maria, claiming to be Daniele's daughter, Chiara knows she has to face up to the past.

Early One Morning is an unforgettably powerful and inspiring novel of love, rescue and the scars war leaves behind.

The tarpaulins on the sides of the lorries have been rolled up, and the people are made to climb aboard. A young family catches her eye. In between the husband and wife stands a boy, perhaps seven or eight. He is clutching the sleeve of his mother's coat.

The woman's eyes flick from side to side, searching the crowd. Chiara is staring at her, and the woman's restless gaze finds her. Without taking her gaze from Chiara's, she bends down and unpicks her son's fingers from her coat, pushes him away.

Chiara glances at the child, back up to the woman, down to the boy who has grabbed a different handful of cloth. Chiara focuses on the mother's fingers as she prises him off again. The woman never takes her eyes off Chiara.

Will appeal to readers of Paula McLain's The Paris Wife, Charlotte Rogan's The Lifeboat and Markus Zusak's The Book Thief.Virago's biggest launch of 2015Pre-empted by Virago. Rights now sold in ten territories.Woman's Hour dramatization to air over two weeks commencing 12 October at 10.45am
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