Black & White lands Pan Macmillan editor Castelletti’s ‘joyful queer ode to the classics’



Black & White Publishing, an imprint of Bonnier Books UK, is to publish The Manor House Governess by Charlie Castelletti under the pseudonym C A Castle.

Campbell Brown, managing director, acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Abi Fellows at The Good Literary Agency, in association with Caroline Eisenmann at the Frances Goldin Literary Agency. The Manor House Governess will be published on 9th November 2023.

Described as “an exquisite, eloquent ode to the classics”,  the story follows Brontë Ellis, an orphan raised with chilly indifference at an all-boys boarding school. Stifled by rigid rules, he is forbidden from expressing his genuine gender identity, until a position as a live-in tutor provides a welcome escape.

The synopsis adds: “Greenwood Manor is the elegant Cambridgeshire country house Bron has only seen in his beloved books, and amid lavish parties and cricket matches the Edwards family welcomes him, accepting that his gender presentation is not traditionally masculine. All but Darcy, the eldest son, who seems uncomfortable with Bron, and the strange tension between them is palpable.

“When a tragic fire burns through the idyllic peace of Greenwood Manor, Bron begins to sense dark secrets smouldering beneath the surface as he sifts through the wreckage, and soon is not sure what to believe – especially when his growing attraction to Darcy clouds his vision. Filled with warmth and wit uniquely its own, fans of Lex Croucher’s Reputation (St Martin’s Griffin) and André Aciman’s Call Me by Your Name (Atlantic Books) will adore this contemporary queer homage to classic literature.”

Castle, an editor at Pan Macmillan who was a finalist in the 2016/17 cohort of  Penguin’s WriteNow scheme, said: “I am so glad that The Manor House Governess is going to be published by Black and White, and for readers to finally meet Bron, who has kept me company for years and seen me through some difficult times. I started writing this novel during my MPhil at the University of Cambridge — I was so inspired by my academic studies and the city I was living in. It is an exploration of how my reading and viewing habits shaped my own gender fluid identity; how queer love is everywhere, if you know where to look, as well as a love letter to Jane Eyre and the period dramas I grew up with.”

Brown said: “The Manor House Governess is a joy of a novel, and we are thrilled to be publishing it here in the UK. A contemporary, eloquently written ode to the likes of Jane Austen and the Brontë sisters, it’s also an uplifting story on the importance of self-expression.”