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Sphere wins three-way auction for a spectacularly scary ghost novel

Sphere has won a three-publisher auction for rights to The Toll House, a hugely gripping full-length ghost story by debut author Carly Reagon. Commissioning Editor, Rosanna Forte, acquired World English rights to The Toll House and a further untitled novel from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown.

The Toll House masterfully interweaves the stories of two families who occupy an old toll house more than one-hundred-and-fifty years apart. In the present day, a mother and son uncover a death mask in the walls of their house and soon afterwards a series of sinister happenings unfold.  As they begin to piece together the dark events that took place in the house in the 1800s, the reader is drawn into the fevered mind of the man who witnessed them first-hand. Past and present become tightly intertwined as the novel hurtles towards its terrifying conclusion.

Sphere will publish The Toll House in hardback, ebook and audio in autumn 2022 in time for Halloween.

Rosanna Forte said: The Toll House is the real deal. The supernatural isn’t just hinted at here, it is front and centre of a novel that is immersive, propulsive and genuinely terrifying. Like the finest ghost stories, it is most haunting in its portrayal of real human psychology and the horrors that lurk there. I couldn’t be more excited to bring it to readers next year, and to bring Carly’s enormous talent to the Sphere list.

Carly Reagon said: I’m thrilled to be working with Rosanna and the team at Sphere on The Toll House. Their passion for the novel was clear from the beginning and I am absolutely delighted that it has such a brilliant new home. As ever, I am indebted to my agent Cathryn for making this all possible.

Cathryn Summerhayes said: The Toll House is a properly scary and page turning novel – I am so thrilled that this deal brings together a trio of Welsh publishing women, author, editor and agent, who will put all their Celtic energy into the publication.