THE SUNDAY TIMES NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER
Overall 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 Fiction
The Waterstones Book of the Year 2016
Shortlisted for the 2016 Costa Novel Award
London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne's controlling husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness. Along with her son Francis - a curious, obsessive boy - she leaves town for Essex, in the hope that fresh air and open space will provide refuge.
On arrival, rumours reach them that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming lives, has returned to the coastal parish of Aldwinter. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for superstition, is enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a yet-undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar, who is also deeply suspicious of the rumours, but thinks they are a distraction from true faith.
As he tries to calm his parishioners, Will and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves at once drawn together and torn apart, affecting each other in ways that surprise them both.
The Essex Serpent is a celebration of love, and the many different shapes it can take.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
An iBooks Best of 2016 selection. We're thrilled to name Sarah Perry's deeply evocative and deliciously chilling second novel our Book of the Year for 2016. We’ve been huge fans of Perry ever since her bold, unsettling debut, After Me Comes the Flood, and The Essex Serpent doesn't disappoint. Set in the 1890s, it’s a gloriously gothic tale that focuses on the budding romance between a self-assured young widow and the local vicar. Our imaginations ran haywire trying to second-guess who or what could be behind the mysterious, murderous creature plaguing the marshland around Essex. Most of all, we adored Perry’s languid, dreamlike prose, which swept us off to Victorian England.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great bedtime reading.
Great book! Really enjoyable read.
Only the Serpent Isn’t True
This is a remarkable book beautifully written and best of all nearly every character is a hero, not in the sense that of derring do but in the sense that each one is true to himself and especially herself. Each one is realised and defined, even children and minor characters so that this reader was engaged almost from the first page. It is textured and colourful, perhaps I am prejudiced because I knew someone like Cora and I loved them both