Rebecca Miller's novel set to become a bestseller this summer

Sarah Marcus
Monday 16 June 2008 00:00

The daughter of the playwright Arthur Miller is among eight emerging novelists who can expect their debuts to become best-sellers after they were included on Richard and Judy's summer read list.

Rebecca Miller, who is married to the actor Daniel Day- Lewis and has already found success as a writer and director, is the best known of the chosen writers.

Her book, The Private Lives of Pippa Lee, has been selected along with The Outcast by Sadie Jones; No Time For Goodbye by Linwood Barclay; East Of The Sun by Julia Gregson; Down River by John Hart; The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson; Addition by Toni Jordan and The Resurrectionist by James Bradley.

Titles which have been championed by Richard and Judy on their daytime television programme in the past have seen sales rise by as much as 3,000 per cent. Former beneficiaries have included Kate Mosse's Labyrinth and Richard Benson's The Farm, which shot to the top of the best-seller charts after being included. The Richard and Judy effect is estimated to have turned 10 authors into millionaires.

The woman behind the phenomenon is producer Amanda Ross, sister-in-law of Jonathan Ross and regularly referred to as the most powerful woman in British publishing. Commenting on the 2008 list, she said: "This year's diverse list is an extraordinary snapshot of the wealth of extraordinary newtalent that is out there."

Miller's novel, which is to be made into a film starring Robin Wright Penn, Winona Ryder, Julianne Moore and Alan Arkin, is the story of an outwardly perfect wife who has just moved with her successful husband – 30 years her senior – to a retirement community where she is by the far the youngest person.

As she begins to question who she has become, the book recounts her wild past and how her quest to find her identity changes her future. It received considerable praise on publication, with critics warming to Miller's voice and the intelligence of her writing. Some, though, have claimed that parts of the novel are strained and overdramatic.

Her fellow writer JosephO'Connor, however, described the work as "a beautifully layered and subtle novel of identity, with a wonderfully vivid sense of place and character".

Miller is the first child of Arthur Miller's marriage to the Austrian-born photographer Inge Morath. She married Daniel Day-Lewis in 1996 and the couple live a near-reclusive existence in Co Wicklow, close to Dublin, with their two sons, Ronan and Cashel.

The Richard and Judy list

*The Outcast, Sadie Jones' debut novel, is the story of a boy in 1940s England whose life is thrown into disarray when his mother drowns.

*Linwood Barclay's No Time For Goodbye focuses on a woman making a TV programme about the unsolved disappearance of her entire family years earlier.

*In 1928 an inexperienced chaperone takes three young charges to India. East Of The Sun by Julia Gregson tells of their journey aboard the Kaiser-i-Hind.

*In John Hart's second thriller, Down River, a traumatised man returns to the community from which he was exiled for a crime he did not commit.

*Based on events in the life of Errol Flynn, The Pirate's Daughter by Margaret Cezaire-Thompson tells of Ida and her daughter by Flynn, May.

* Addition by Australian Toni Jordan is about Grace, a troubled and lonely woman who finds that love can heal tragedy.

*James Bradley's The Resurrectionist is set in 1820s London and traces the downward spiral of the central character into a gothic world of violence and death.

*In The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller, perfect wife Pippa begins to question her identity when she moves into a retirement community with her elderly husband.

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