Louise Fein’s poignant debut People Like Us acquired by Head of Zeus and William Morrow

People Like Us, Louise Fein’s poignant debut novel, a forbidden love story set in Leipzig during the 1930s, has been bought UK & Commonwealth rights (excluding Canada) by commissioning editor Hannah Smith at Head of Zeus in a two-book deal from Caroline Hardman. The book is set to be published in hardback, ebook and audio in January 2020, will the paperback to follow in September. In the US rights were sold to William Morrow and will be published in May 2020.

Rights have also been sold in the Netherlands to Xander in a pre-empt, to Sonzogno in Italy at auction, and in a pre-empt to Nemira in Romania, by Rights Director Thérèse Coen.

People Like Us is a powerful story that follows Hetty, a young girl growing up under Nazi rule, who is torn between family and love. With an SS officer father, a brother in the Luftwaffe and a member of the BDM Hetty is the epitome of a perfect German child.

But Walter changes everything. Blond haired, blue-eyed, perfect in every way Walter. The boy who saved her life when she was a young child. Her brother’s childhood best friend. A Jew.

As she falls more and more in love with a man who is against all she has been taught, Hetty begins to question everything. Will the steady march of dark forces destroy their world, or can love ultimately triumph?’

Fein said: “WI am absolutely thrilled to be working with Hannah and the team at Head of Zeus, as well as Liz Stein at William Morrow. Having begun work on People Like Us during my MA in Creative Writing at St Mary’s University, London, to see the result in print is literally a dream come true.

“It has been a huge journey from a personal perspective, exploring the turbulent times my father’s family lived through and endured. It is also one that has worrying overtures in today’s world of increasing intolerance and anti-Semitic sentiment. I am delighted that Hetty and Walter’s story has found a way into the world and hope that it will generate thought and discussion.”

Smith said: “This is a book I have long been waiting for and very much a story I entered publishing to publish. It’s full of drama, love and set against such an atmospheric, tense backdrop. Louise conjures the time period impeccably and from the moment I began to read I couldn’t put Hetty and Walter’s story down, not until I reached that emotional ending.”

Read the Bookbrunch article here.