Suddenly uprooted from everything and everyone she knows, bubbly fifteen-year-old Anna Maybury and her mother are forced to move in with the grandfather Anna has never met – a bad-tempered old man who disapproves of her very existence. At ninety-four, every day of Algernon’s life is broken up into a routine governed by the relentless ticking of the clock on the mantelpiece. It gives his life the structure and order he craves, but he’s also incredibly lonely. And soon, so is Anna. Her colourful personality doesn’t seem to fit in at her new school and she begins to feel herself turning as dull and grey as the uniform. Surprisingly, it’s cranky old Algernon who is determined to do something about it. With a road trip to Cornwall on the cards and important life lessons to learn, it’s going to be a summer neither of them will ever never forget. The Shape of Happiness is an emotional, uplifting read perfect for fans of Mike Gayle, Eva Woods and Marianne Cronin.
Phyllida Shrimpton’s novel Sunflowers in February (published February 2019) won the Red Book Award for YA Fiction. Having lived in London, The Netherlands and the Cotswolds with her husband, daughter, giant Saint Bernard and grumpy old terrier, she now lives on the Essex Coast in a place she likes to describe as being where the river meets the sea. Her firm belief is that there are two sides to every story in life and that is what inspires her to write. The Shape of Happiness is her first adult novel and is inspired by her relationship with her father, and a decades-old letter she found that introduced her to a forgotten side of the man she thought she knew.
Shrimpton says: ‘I’m positively beaming that my venture into the world of adult fiction has resulted in a publishing deal with Aria, Head of Zeus and that I shall be working with their dynamic team. Who knew that finding a letter written over seventy years ago would form the basis of my uplifting book about the relationship between an old man and his teenage granddaughter?’
Thorne Ryan, Editorial Director of Aria, says: ‘As soon as we started reading The Shape of Happiness, the whole team knew it was something truly special. It made us smile, cry and want to call our grandparents. We cannot think of a better book to mark Aria’s transition from Head of Zeus’s digital list to our all-format centre of women’s fiction excellence.’