Black & White Publishing, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, is to publish The Manor House Governess by Charlie Castelletti under the pseudonym C. A. Castle.
Campbell Brown, managing director at Black & White Publishing acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Abi Fellows at The Good Literary Agency, in association with Caroline Eisenmann from Frances Goldin Literary Agency.
An exquisite, eloquent ode to the classics, the story follows Brontë Ellis, an orphan raised with chilly indifference at an all-boys boarding school. Stifled by rigid rules, he is forbidden from expressing his genuine gender identity, until a position as a live-in tutor provides a welcome escape.
Greenwood Manor is the elegant Cambridgeshire country house Bron has only seen in his beloved books, and amid lavish parties and cricket matches the Edwards family welcomes him, accepting that his gender presentation is not traditionally masculine. All but Darcy, the eldest son, who seems uncomfortable with Bron, and the strange tension between them palpable. When a tragic fire burns through the idyllic peace of Greenwood Manor, Bron begins to sense dark secrets smoldering beneath the surface as he sifts through the wreckage, and soon is not sure what to believe – especially when his growing attraction to Darcy clouds his vision.
Filled with warmth and wit uniquely its own, fans of Lex Croucher’s Reputation and André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name will adore this contemporary queer homage to classic literature.
C. A. Castle said: “I am so glad that The Manor House Governess is going to be published by Black and White, and for readers to finally meet Bron, who has kept me company for years and seen me through some difficult times. I started writing this novel during my MPhil at the University of Cambridge — I was so inspired by my academic studies and the city I was living in. It is an exploration of how my reading and viewing habits shaped my own gender fluid identity; how queer love is everywhere, if you know where to look, as well as a love letter to Jane Eyre and the period dramas I grew up with.”
Campbell Brown said: “The Manor House Governess is a joy of a novel, and we are thrilled to be publishing it here in the UK. A contemporary, eloquently written ode to the likes of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, it’s also an uplifting story on the importance of self-expression.”
C. A. Castle is an editor at Pan Macmillan. He holds a BA in English Language and Literature from King’s College, London, and an MPhil from the University of Cambridge, where he focused on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literature, period adaptations and queer studies. He was a finalist in the 2016/17 cohort of Penguin’s WriteNow scheme. He is also a picture book author as well as an anthologist, where he contrasts the old with the new with a view to capturing the zeitgeist. He currently resides in Cambridgeshire.
The Manor House Governess will be published on 9 November 2023.