Clare Chambers' book Small Pleasures optioned for TV, and we can't wait!

Clare Chambers' stunning book Small Pleasures has been optioned for TV adaptation by Shy Punk Productions, starring Anna Maxwell Martin, and we couldn't be more excited.

First published in July 2020 Small Pleasures was an absolute hit with the LoveReading team, a well deserved Star Book of the Year. Our expert Liz Robinson called it "a beautiful, bittersweet story of loneliness, longing and love sewn up in an exquisite mystery - you won’t want this mid-century treasure to end."

A book of the year for the Times, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily Express, Metro, Spectator, Red Magazine and Good Housekeeping, the novel received glowing reviews. If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for?

Bafta-winner Maxwell Martin, of Bleak House, Motherland and Line of Duty fame, is to play protagonist Jean, and will also executive produce.

Hauntingly tender, and written with powerful grace, it is an absolute joy from start to finish. It’s 1957 in suburban Kent, where Jean writes for a local newspaper with every aspect of her life still dominated by her contrary, controlling mother as Jean approaches forty.

No post-work drinks with colleagues. No friends. No romance. Enter Gretchen Tilbury, an elegant Swiss woman who writes to the paper claiming her daughter was the result of a virgin birth. As Jean investigates the case, she becomes close to Gretchen, her kind, witty husband Howard, and the alleged miraculous daughter, all four of them finding comfortable joy in each other’s company. 

While researching Gretchen’s youth, Jean inadvertently sends shockwaves through the Tilbury family when she reconnects Gretchen to a powerful figure from her past. At the same time, she and Howard find themselves falling for each other, both of them remaining faithful to Gretchen, graciously skirting their attraction - until it’s right to act.

Chambers said the idea for the novel came from an interview on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour about a woman who had contacted the Sunday Pictorial in 1955, claiming to have given birth while still a virgin.

Federico Andornino, W&N publishing director, said: "Seeing countless readers discover the true gem that is Small Pleasures has been one of the highlights of my career and I can’t wait to see it transported to the screen so that even more people can fall for Jean’s heartbreaking love story."

Maxwell Martin added: "Small Pleasures belies its name: it is a massive great pleasure. Clare Chambers has written a beautifully nuanced novel, bittersweet, with huge heart and I can’t wait to bring it to the screen." 

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