Edan Lepucki, whose debut novel California became something of a cause celebre for indie booksellers after Stephen Colbert encouraged his viewers to buy it from retailers other than Amazon, sold her sophomore novel to Crown. In the deal, editor Lindsay Sagnette took world rights to Woman No. 17, which Crown described as a "sly, sinister...exploration of female relationships."
With the deal, Lepucki will move houses, leaving Hachette's Little, Brown imprint for the Penguin Random House unit.
Woman No. 17, which is scheduled for spring 2017, is, Crown elaborated, reminiscent of Zoë Heller’s 2003 novel Notes on a Scandal, about the destructive obsessions of two female teachers at a British high school. (The book was also adapted into a 2006 film starring Cate Blanchett and Judi Dench.)
In Lepucki's new work, havoc is wrought after an author, who is beginning a trial separation from her husband, hires a live-in nanny to look after her toddler and teenage son in her Hollywood Hills home. While the author is focused on finishing her new book, she has no idea that her nanny is, as Crown put it, "hard at work on a secret project of her own."
Speaking to the success of California, Crown said it hit #3 on the New York Times bestseller list, and also noted that it was a Barnes & Noble Discover Pick, as well as one of Amazon’s Best Books for July. According to Lepucki's agent, Erin Hosier at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner, overall sales for the book currently total just under 75,000 copies.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that Notes on a Scandal was the subtitle to Zoë Heller's novel; it is the title.
Editor's Note: This story initially included print sales figures of California, provided by BookScan. After the story's publication, a sales figure for the book, reflective of both print and digital copies sold, was provided by the author's agent; the story has been updated with this new figure.