Canelo has acquired three new Lancashire-set sagas by Libby Ashworth.

July 07, 2021

Senior commissioning editor Emily Bedford has acquired World English language rights to a new saga series by Libby Ashworth from Felicity Trew at Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency in a three-book deal.

Starting with The Convict’s Wife, Libby’s new series asks what happens to the wives of convicts, at the cusp of the industrial revolution, who were left behind to fend for themselves in a world pitted against them. When Molly’s husband, Thomas, is sent to Australia for swearing an illegal oath, she must fight against poverty, convention and the unwanted attentions of her husband’s accuser in order to survive. With a young child to raise, Molly will do whatever it takes to be reunited with her husband and keep her family together.

Libby Ashworth was born and raised in Lancashire where she can trace her family back to the Middle Ages. It was while researching her family history that she realised there were so many stories about ordinary working people that she wanted to tell, especially the women whose history was mostly voiceless. She has previously published the Mill Town Lasses series.

Emily Bedford says: ‘I am so excited to be working with Libby on her new series – she has an incredible talent for capturing a time and place and bringing them to life, so much so that I was swept away by Molly’s harrowing journey in The Convict’s Wife. Seamlessly weaving real history together with complex characters, Libby has an innate ability to create stories that will play with all of your emotions in the best possible way.’

Libby Ashworth says: ‘Canelo has shown huge enthusiasm for my new series and I’m looking forward to working with Emily and all the team to bring these stories to readers.’

Felicity Trew says: ‘I remember reading the first book, The Convict’s Wife, for the very first time and was instantly hooked. Molly is such a strong and determined character and we couldn’t be happier to have found such a wonderful home with Canelo for Libby’s new series.’

The Convict’s Wife will be published in January, 2022, in ebook and paperback, with the next two books to follow later in 2022 and 2023. For more information please contact