The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry

Jacket Image
Format:
Paperback
ISBN:
9781781255452
Published:
20 Apr 2017
Publisher:
Serpent's Tail
Dimensions:
416 pages: 200 x 130 x 25mm

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.

Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979, and grew up in a deeply religious home. Kept apart from contemporary culture, she spent her childhood immersed in classic literature, Victorian hymns and the King James Bible. She has a PhD in creative writing at Royal Holloway which she completed under the supervision of Andrew Motion. She has been writer in residence at the Gladstone Library and is the winner of a Shiva Naipaul award for travel writing. She lives in Norwich.