The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry

The Essex Serpent

A Kirkus Review Best Book of 2017 and a Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction. Winner of the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year and overall Book of the Year, selected as the Waterstones Book of the Year, and a Costa Book Award Finalist"A novel of almost insolent ambition—lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden's part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. I found it s...

Details The Essex Serpent

TitleThe Essex Serpent
Release DateApr 24th, 2018
PublisherCustom House
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction

Reviews The Essex Serpent

  • Will Byrnes
    ‘Sometimes I think I sold my soul, so that I could live as I must. Oh, I don’t mean without morals or conscience—I only mean with freedom to think the thoughts that come, to send them where I want them to go, not to let them run along tracks someone else set, leading only this way or that…’ Frowning, she ran her thumb along the serpent’s spine and said, ‘I’ve never said this before, not to anyone, though I’ve meant to: but yes I...
  • Amalia Gavea
    ‘’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 mesmerizing as its cover. It is astonishing, an exciting, majestic literary journey. It deserves all the recognition it gets and then some. It is plain and simple one of the most beautiful, unique novels I’ve ever read. There will be no...
  • Hannah Greendale
    Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.After the death of her husband, the intelligent young widow, Cora Seaborne, abandons her society life in London and departs for coastal Essex, accompanied by her neurotic eleven-year-old son and his nanny. Cora's plans to recuperate are derailed when she learns of a rumor about a mythical serpent taking the lives of villagers further up the estuary. Feeding h...
  • Murray Ewing
    Late Victorian England. Cora Seaborne, newly widowed by a sadistic but wealthy husband, and now free to follow her interests in palaeontology, finds herself in the Essex village of Aldwinter, where rumours of a sea serpent lurking in the always-(conveniently)-foggy bay have the locals in a superstitious tizz. There, she meets local vicar Will Ransome, and the two form an instant rapport, despite their supposedly opposing views — and despite the...
  • Rebecca Foster
    (4.5) This exquisite work of historical fiction explores the gaps – narrower than one might think – between science and superstition and between friendship and romantic love. The Essex Serpent was a real-life legend from the latter half of the seventeenth century, but Perry’s second novel has fear of the sea creature re-infecting Aldwinter, her invented Essex village, in the 1890s. Mysterious deaths and disappearances are automatically attr...
  • Robin
    We are cleaved together - we are cleaved apart - everything that draws me to you is everything that drives me away. How I loved holding this book in my hands, with the gorgeous William Morris cover and the soft, uneven deckle-edged pages. While perusing this lovely volume, I revelled in the gothic atmosphere. I looked forward to the intimate letters and notes sprinkled throughout the narrative. I was intrigued by the mystery of the serpent, the p...
  • Katie
    You might say The Essex Serpent is about the strivings and fears of the child within. When we’re children we have no problem whatsoever believing that a huge winged beast might live in the dark waters behind the marshlands if that’s what we’re told and what legend believes. And as children we’re always struggling to forge a bond with some companion we single out as being a kind of annunciation angel. Everyone in this novel possesses a res...
  • Trudie
    Well, this will certainly teach me about that old adage re books and covers. I really love a Victorian floral in the William Morris mode and buttercup yellow endpapers, charming ! In my mind this was going to be a gothic tale of serpents and maybe some Victorian sexual repression - something along those lines. Certainly, serpents were mentioned, people seemed flustered about it but the entire thing lacked any kind of narrative tension or gothic e...
  • mark monday
    A snake of doubt winds its way through their lives, forked tongue flicking, a subtle sneaking menace. It slithers through the villagers' minds, bringing their faith low, raising their superstitions high. It slips through chinks in the vicar's armor, built so carefully over a lifetime. It slides into our heroine's life and into that of her friend, the doctor, whispering into their minds when they are at their weakest. Its brother serpent, a snake ...
  • Peter Boyle
    "STRANGE NEWS, they'd say, of a monstrous serpent with eyes like a sheep, come out of the Essex waters and up to the birch woods and commons..."I know I'm going to love a book when I find myself growing very fond of the characters early on. A mere fifty pages into this engrossing story, I was absolutely charmed by the most captivating of casts and wanted to know everything about them. And on the final page, I felt utterly bereft as I bid them far...
  • Dianne
    A completely unexpected treasure! This has everything I look for in a book - lovely writing that you can get lost in, rich dialogue, memorable and lively characters, an imaginative and unusual plot and tons of atmosphere. Goodness! Read this!!
  • Sam
    The Essex Serpent is a beautifully written work of historical fiction, absolutely immersing you in 1890s Victorian England, and has a fantastic cast of characters whose attitudes, ideas, and actions are the best parts of the novel. Though I found the plot itself could have been a bit tighter and my attention would occasionally wane during some of the subplot portions, and it may not have engaged me as much emotionally as it did in spades intellec...
  • Tanja Berg
    I was wavering between a one and a two star rating, but my disappointment landed on a one. I hoped, and was led to expect, that this would be a tale of Victorian cryptozoology. That there would be an independent and interesting woman, recently widowed Cora, hunting for a creature while being hampered by the local pastor. Turns out the serpent barely features. I didn't feel I got to know Cora, and I didn't particularly like any of the cast. This w...
  • Roger Brunyate
    Something Severed, and Something Joined Then it carried me in spate to the Essex shore, to all the marsh and shingle, and I tasted on my lips the salt air which is also like the flesh of oysters, and I felt my heart cleaving, as I felt it there in the dark wood on the green stair and as I feel it now: something severed, and something joined. This is from a letter written near the end of this miracle of a novel by its heroine, a young widow named ...
  • Penny
    3.5I liked this novel quite a lot, but I didn't love it and I somehow felt a bit disappointed about that. The glowing reviews had made me expect more. It started off really strongly, but by the time I was past the half way mark I started to feel restless and to plan what I'd read next. Not a good sign!I liked the depiction of the Blackwater Estuary, an area I know well from living near Maldon for several years. It's a good choice of setting as ev...
  • Geo Marcovici
    Translation widget on the blog!!!O poveste interesantă despre libertatea unei femei scăpate din jugul unui soț abuziv. Despre zborul acesteia spre lumea larga. Un roman despre autocunoaștere, despre viața de zi cu zi și despre oameni și locuri ce influențează destine!Recenzia mea completă o găsiți aici:
  • Diane Barnes
    This novel is classified in my mind as "A damn good read". Set in Victorian England in the 1890's, it juxtaposes religion, superstition, and science in equal measure, and makes you believe in all of them at the same time. A little bit of Dickens mixed with Wilkie Collins mixed with Sarah Waters, it combines beautiful writing with great characters, a setting both lovely and sinister, and ideas and emotions that are foreign and familiar at the same...
  • Paula Kalin
    What a surprisingly charming book!Nominated for both The Women’s Prize and The Costa Book Award, The Essex Serpent is a beautifully written book. Set in 1893 Essex, England, we meet Cora Seaborne, recently and happily widowed and William Ransome, the town vicor, who is dealing with rumors and superstition of a returning mythical Essex Serpent. Cora, an amateur naturalist, develops such an interesting friendship with William Ransome. At odds wit...
  • Margitte
    Random notes while reading: - I just love the ambiance of this book!- Mmmm... do we have a curmudgeon on our hands? Reverend William Ransome, Rector of Aldwinter Parish forbids his children entry to his study; escapes by window when they're at the door; threatens them with bread and water when they're disobedient; detest the pagan celebration of an old shipwreck by the children of the town; "Aside from the church’s curiosities – which were in...
  • Hugh
    I was a little apprehensive about reading this because the plaudits it gained when published last year and its subsequent popularity made me suspect that it would disappoint. Such thoughts were groundless - within a few pages I was engrossed in this page-turner set in the 1890s. I should have known that Perry was a promising writer since I read her debut novel After Me Comes The Flood, which was memorably atmospheric if rather more elliptical.The...
  • Ron Charles
    Standing at the shoreline on a calm, moonless night, you can hear a low-pitched roar. Some say it’s just the waves; others claim it’s a winged monster swimming through the watery depths. But it’s actually the sound of thousands of fans cheering for “The Essex Serpent,” an irresistible new novel by Sarah Perry.Last month, “The Essex Serpent” won the British Book Award, and it’s already sold more than 250,000 copies, which should co...
  • Helene Jeppesen
    4.5/5 stars. What a beautiful novel! On the outside as well as on the inside. For some strange reason, I though that this was going to be a really dense book to get through. I imagined that it would be written in an intricate language and that the magical realism would be hard to follow. However, I'm now happy to say that that was not at all the case. In fact, the language was beautiful, and the dialogue was easy to follow. I'm not entirely sure ...
  • Beverly
    This reminded me so much of Oscar and Lucinda. That novel also charmed me with the two main characters who were so good, so decent yet were beset by the vagaries of life. Cora and Will are two such, decent, kind people thunder struck by their immediate attachment to each other, although Will is happily married and a parson. That sounds sordid, but nothing could be further from their minds.
  • Phrynne
    A beautiful cover on a beautiful book. The author writes so well it would be a pleasure to read even if there were no story and the characters were boring, which is far from the case.The main character, Cora, is recently widowed and free at last from a controlling man. Our sympathies are with her at first but in her first flush of freedom she becomes very careless with other people's emotions and causes many problems along the way. Another very i...
  • Carol ꧁꧂
    2.5★ Well... I loved the cover.In fact one of the most beautiful covers I've ever seen. The contents...not so much. Set in Victorian England, Ms Perry's writing is so beautiful, so elegant but she couldn't make me care about her heroine, Cora, an abused wife freed by becoming a widow. Cora and her (probably on the spectrum) son Francis move to a village in Essex where she becomes fascinated by the legendary Essex Serpent.Every time I want...
  • Blair
    What to say about The Essex Serpent? It seems much easier to think about, to mentally inhabit this novel than to write about it. It's a rich and indulgent piece of historical fiction that draws many-layered contrasts between science and faith, and depicts a love story that is centred on, and continually circles back to, a friendship. At its heart is Cora Seaborne, a lovingly crafted character who, as the overquoted line goes, contains multitudes;...
  • Jill
    Oh my. It has been a while since I’ve devoured a novel this magnificent. In Essex Serpent, Sarah Perry hasn’t just crafted a novel. She’s created a world.It’s a world ruled by reason and order, a touch of faith, and fantastical beings that have no explanation. Set in Essex – not coincidentally, a location where a mythical winged serpent scared locals out of their wits in 1669 and where infamous witch trials were held – the novel jumps...
  • Laysee
    As book titles go, The Essex Serpent repulses me. Anything that has scales on its body, slithers and crawls on its belly, scares the daylights out of me. Yet, for one week, I camped by the Blackwater estuary in fictional Aldwinter, wrapped up in the foggy mystery of a serpentine creature that is alleged to be terrorizing the inhabitants of an Essex village. The monstrous serpent in question has dragon wings and eyes like a sheep – a formidable ...
  • Issicratea
    I can see why The Essex Serpent would make publishers’ eyes light up. It’s a rich old fruity Dickensian plum pudding of a novel, full of generous dollops of Victorian-novel-of-ideas ingredients (Darwinism and the rise of science vs faith; early Marxism; early feminism), mixed together—if I haven’t overstretched the culinary metaphor already—in a highly digestible form.If this sounds faintly sardonic, it may be the result of disappointme...