The Essex Serpent

Front Cover
Serpent's Tail, 2016 - Great Britain - 416 pages
76 Reviews
THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLEROverall Book of the Year and Fiction Book of the Year at the British Book Awards 2017 (Nibbies)Longlisted for the 2017 Baileys Women's Prize for FictionThe Waterstones Book of the Year 2016Shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award'One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade' Sunday TimesLondon 1893. When Cora Seaborne's husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Accompanied by her son Francis - a curious, obsessive boy - she leaves town for Essex, where she hopes fresh air and open space will provide the refuge they need.When they take lodgings in Colchester, rumours reach them from further up the estuary that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, is immediately enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a previously undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar.Like Cora, Will is deeply suspicious of the rumours, but he thinks they are founded on moral panic, a flight from real faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, he and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other's lives in ways entirely unexpected.Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LARA335 - LibraryThing

Not surprised this was Waterstones book of the year. Like a modern rendition of a Hardy novel a la French Lieutenant’s Woman. Merry Widow Cora sojourns in Essex, delighting in her freedom & with a ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - AmaliaGavea - LibraryThing

‘’Come tomorrow, if you like, to the grave. I said I’d go alone, but perhaps that’s the point; perhaps we are always alone, no matter the company we keep.’’ This novel is as complex, as beautiful and ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. She has been the writer in residence at Gladstone's Library and the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague. After Me Comes the Flood, her first novel, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize, and won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award in 2014. Her latest novel, The Essex Serpent, was a number one bestseller, Waterstones Book of the Year 2016 and both Fiction book of the Year and Overall Book of the Year 2017 at the British Book Awards. It was then nominated for a further eight literary prizes, including the Costa Novel Award 2017, and the Bailey's Women's Prize for Fiction 2017. Her work is being translated into fifteen languages, and her essays and fiction have been broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and RTE 1. She reviews fiction for the Guardian and the Financial Times. She lives in Norwich.

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