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The Essex Serpent: The number one bestseller and British Book Awards Book of the Year

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9781781258019: The Essex Serpent: The number one bestseller and British Book Awards Book of the Year
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STRANGE NEWS OUT OF ESSEX London 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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One of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade * Sunday Times * A work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author -- Sarah Waters Had Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker come together to write the great Victorian novel, I wonder if it would have surpassed The Essex Serpent? One of the finest fiction writers working in Britain today -- John Burnside The Essex Serpent is a novel to relish: a work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author -- Sarah Waters Had Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker come together to write the great Victorian novel, I wonder if it would have surpassed The Essex Serpent? No way of knowing, but with only her second outing, Sarah Perry establishes herself as one of the finest fiction writers working in Britain today -- John Burnside A big, warm, generous novel that wears its considerable wisdom lightly, The Essex Serpent is an absolute pleasure from start to finish - I truly didn't want it to end -- Melissa Harrison The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry [is] a joyous and beguiling book that wrapped itself around me rather like its eponymous monster. -- Cathy Rentzenbrink A blissful novel of unapologetic appetites, where desire and faith mingle on the marshes, but friendship is the miracle. Sarah Perry has the rare gift of committing the uncommittable to prose - that is to say: here is a writer who understands life. -- Jessie Burton A book to make you want to be a better person -- Justine Jordan, The Guardian I loved this book. At once numinous, intimate and wise, The Essex Serpent is a marvellous novel about the workings of life, love and belief, about science and religion, secrets, mysteries, and the complicated and unexpected shifts of the human heart - and it contains some of the most beautiful evocations of place and landscape I've ever read. It is so good its pages seem lit from within. As soon as I'd finished it I started reading it again. -- Helen MacDonald A sinuous historical novel by the genius that is Sarah Perry -- Lucy Mangan * Stylist * An historical novel with real depth ... Perry writes fantastically, and this deserves attention for the rest of the year. -- Steven Cooper * The Bookseller * One day this book will make a fine BBC period drama ... Perry is a wonderful descriptive writer with a remarkable talent for making the familiar strange ... Her accounts of open-heart surgery carried out half a century before antibiotics, or an autistic child questioning the nature of sin, or a soldier's wedding in the phthisic slums of Bethnal Green, snatch the breath in your throat. Perry bleeds light into darkness and back again with a mastery born of her deep professional acquaintance with the gothic tradition. -- Oliver Moody * Times * The Essex Serpent is a work of historical fiction, set in the 1890s, which, for originality, richness of prose and depth of characterisation is unlikely to be bettered this year ... a remarkable novel. Although Will and Cora provide the focal points for her story, Perry has packed The Essex Serpent with a rich array of equally rounded characters to hold our attention. The novel is full of vivid set pieces ... it is Perry's ability to conjure up a sense of entire lives unfolding before our eyes that is most impressive. Filled with wisdom about human behaviour and motivations, and written in a distinctive, stylish prose, The Essex Serpent is one of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade. -- Nick Rennison * Sunday Times * One for the holiday suitcase. A historical romance with a gothic twist ... expect to spot a copy on beach towels this summer. * Vogue * An irresistible novel that taps the vein of Victorian gothic and British myth * Daily Telegraph * It's prompted comparisons to both Dickens and Bram Stoker and marries the former's abhorrence of injustice with the latter's genius for unsettling atmosphere ... Hardy-esque ... a rich and complex novel but also a deeply enjoyable read, with warm humanity at its core. -- Jeff Robson * iPaper * An irresistible novel ... Perry's Victoriana is the most fresh-feeling I can remember ... Her prose is often beautiful ... the tone is a masterstroke ... You feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Hilary Mantel channelled by Perry in some sort of Victorian seance. This is the best new novel I've read in years. It's the kind of work that makes you alive to the strangeness of the world and of our history. -- Charlotte Runcie * Daily Telegraph * Engaging ... On the book's cover, John Burnside compares The Essex Serpent to Dickens and Stoker. But it was one of my favourite novels, Alasdair Gray's Poor Things (1992), that kept coming back to me ... Perry takes apart our preconceptions of prim Victorian mores with similar gusto ... The Essex Serpent is a historical novel with an entirely modern consciousness, and is every bit as gripping and unusual as its predecessor. -- Alex Preston * FT * An intelligent, lushly written gothic yarn ... Reading it makes you want to hotfoot it to the Essex coast. -- Claire Allfree * Metro * The Essex Serpent is frightfully good. -- Susan Hill * Twitter * Everything they're saying is true: sumptuous, beautiful, powerful, engrossing, brilliant. -- Nina Stibbe * Twitter *

From the Author:

Hardback was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller and one of most talked about books of 2016|Fans include Sarah Waters, Jessie Burton, Susan Hill, Helen Mcdonald and John Burnside|Major paperback campaign planned including advertising|Beat J.K. Rowling to Waterstones book of the year award.

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