We’re delighted to announce that Hodder & Stoughton will be publishing The French House by Jacquie Bloese following a two-book deal.

The French House is a stunning, sweeping love story set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Guernsey during World War Two and will publish in hardback in March 2022 and in paperback in January 2023. Jacquie’s second novel, provisionally titled The Pier, will publish in hardback in March 2023 and in paperback in January 2024.

Kimberley Atkins, Women’s Fiction Publisher at Hodder & Stoughton, said, “We’ve all been completely swept away by The French House. The beautiful melancholy of Jacquie’s story, the subtle art of her writing, her masterful characterisation and her peerless evocation of both setting and emotion have made this such an irresistible novel. We are thrilled to be publishing this stunning debut, and to be working with Jacquie and Giles to get this book into as many readers’ hands – and hearts – as possible.”

The novel was highly commended in the 2020 Caledonian Novel Award, being called ‘a brilliantly moving historical novel’, and was also shortlisted for the Mslexia First Novel Award in 2019.

When Émile Quenneville loses his hearing in a tragic accident, he also loses Isabelle, the woman he loves. Thirty years later, Émile and Isabelle, unhappily married to other people, are reunited in the wake of the Nazi invasion of Guernsey. With the occupation come dangerous and difficult choices that endanger them, their families and the fragile, rekindled love that has grown between them.

Taking place in the shadow of Victor Hugo’s former residence on Guernsey, this moving, lyrical novel features a protagonist with profound hearing loss who embodies one of the principal themes of the book: wanting to hear and learning to listen, both to one’s own heart, and to those of others.

Bloese said, “To say I’m pleased to have found a home for The French House is a huge understatement, and I couldn’t be more delighted to be working with the fabulous team at Hodder. At the novel’s centre is a deaf man called Émile, inspired by my late great grandfather, who lost his hearing in similarly tragic circumstances, and whose experience has always haunted me. I grew up on Guernsey, where stories of the German Occupation pass down through generations, and I can’t wait to share The French House with readers.”

Milburn said, The French House is a wonderful novel that works on so many levels, but the beauty of Jacquie’s writing and the depth to her characters are particularly brilliant. Add a setting and time period that has endless appeal, and the result is a novel I am both very proud to represent and thrilled to see land with the amazing Hodder team.”

Jacquie Bloese grew up on Guernsey, and is in love with both the island setting and its history. She has worked as a publisher of English Language Teaching materials for a variety of publishers including Penguin Random House, Scholastic and Oxford University Press, a job which has taken her inside and outside classrooms all over the world. Jacquie is an alumna of the Curtis Brown Creative course.