London 1893: When Cora Seaborne and her son Francis reach Essex, rumours spread from further up the estuary 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 is enthralled, convinced that it may be a previously undiscovered species.
As she sets out on its trail she meets William Ransome, Aldwinter's vicar. They find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other's lives in ways entirely unexpected.
"One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade." (Sunday Times)
"The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author." (Sarah Waters)
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This book bursts with colour, creativity, passion, history, intelligence, unique characters, and strong women. Perry is obviously an extremely learned writer, and one who is no less engaging for being so. I am totally flabbergasted at the negative reviews here. This is something bordering on a masterpiece; we don't often see such novels written these days. At its heart is a meditation on faith and reason, which might sound boring, but Perry truly makes it fascinating, seamlessly embedding it within the interactions between characters as she does. If it makes a difference to potential readers, I love both contemporary and classical fiction. I enjoyed the first half, but don't think I was completely hooked until the second. It was definitely worth hanging in there. There are some truly breathtaking passages especially towards the end of the novel. Enjoy!
Good Story Let Down by Poor Performance