Clare Leslie Hall’s BROKEN COUNTRY is the talk of London Book Fair 2024 after publishers across the globe fall head over heels with the unputdownable novel

15 March 2024

Jocasta Hamilton and Abi Scruby at John Murray have pre-empted UK and Comm rights to BROKEN COUNTRY by TBP author Clare Leslie Hall (pictured) from Hattie Grunewald! US rights were also acquired at auction by Carina Guiterman at Simon & Schuster. Head of International Rights, Liane-Louise Smith, and Kathryn Williams at TBP have also been extremely busy selling rights internationally, with twenty-four deals to date, including a heated fourteen-way auction in Germany, won by Piper.

BROKEN COUNTRY is the story of a passionate love-triangle written with the pulse of a thriller.  Alternating between the beauty and brutal reality of rural life and the tension of a murder trial at the Old Bailey in the late sixties, this is a compulsive novel about the far-reaching legacy of first love.

When Beth’s husband Frank shoots a dog who is worrying the sheep on their farm in North Dorset, she doesn’t realise that the life they have worked so hard to create will be devasted. The dog belongs to Gabriel Wolfe, who she loved as a teenager, who broke her heart and who she hasn’t seen for a decade. And with him is his young son Leo, who reminds her so much of Bobby, the little boy she and her husband lost and are still grieving for.

As Beth is pulled back into Gabriel and Leo’s lives, tensions around the village rise, and jealousy rears its ugly head. Beth and Frank have their share of secrets, and their marriage relies on the past staying buried. 

When the truth begins to come out, events spiral out of control, with deadly consequences. And Beth must make a choice – between the woman she once wanted to be, and the woman she has become.

Clare says: ‘I have been carrying the love triangle of Beth, Frank and Gabriel inside my head for many years and so it has been amazing to see the response to it in the outside world. The story arrived in one of those rare thunderbolt moments after a farmer threatened to shoot my son’s beloved puppy when he strayed from the footpath into a field of cattle. It’s a dream to be working with Jocasta and the team at John Murray and it feels like the perfect home for BROKEN COUNTRY.’

Jocasta Hamilton says: ‘BROKEN COUNTRY is impossible to put down. The twists took me completely by surprise and I finished the novel in tears, wrung out in the most satisfying way. In other words, everything you could possibly want from the perfect book club read! With a vivid sense of time and place, Clare’s novel reminds us of the multiple ways in which opportunities for women, particularly working-class women, have been curtailed, the enormous sacrifices we’re prepared to make for love and the ways in which love changes us. We’re so excited to be working with Clare and her publishers around the world to make BROKEN COUNTRY an international bestseller.’

Hattie Grunewald says: ‘The love for Clare’s book has been unlike anything I’ve ever seen – across the globe, editors have fallen in love with Beth, and been captivated by her story. I’m overjoyed that she has found her UK home with John Murray.’

John Murray will publish in summer 2025.