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The Essex Serpent: A Novel by [Perry, Sarah]
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3.9 out of 5 stars 268 customer reviews

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Length: 449 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“A novel of almost insolent ambition--lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate...it’s part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home.” (New York Times)

“An irresistible new novel…the most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice…By the end, The Essex Serpent identifies a mystery far greater than some creature ‘from the illuminated margins of a manuscript’: friendship.” (Washington Post)

“Richly enjoyable... Ms. Perry writes beautifully and sometimes agreeably sharply... The Essex Serpent is a wonderfully satisfying novel. Ford Madox Ford thought the glory of the novel was its ability to make the reader think and feel at the same time. This one does just that.” (Wall Street Journal)

“Gloriously alive” (NPR)

“A fabulous summer read...If Middlemarch heroine Dorothea Brooke had heard of dinosaurs, she might have gone tromping through the salt marshes with Cora Seaborne.” (Christian Science Monitor)

“The sumptuous twists and turns of Perry’s prose invite close reading, as deep and strange and full of narrative magic as the Blackwater itself. Stuffed with smarts and storytelling sorcery, this is a work of astonishing breadth and brilliance.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“The vivid, often frightening imagery… and the lush descriptions… create a magical background for the sensual love story between Sarah and Will. Book-discussion groups will have a field day with the imagery, the well-developed characters, and the concepts of innocence, evil, and guilt.” (Booklist (starred review))

“In Perry’s excellent second novel… a fatal illness, a knife-wielding maniac, and a fated union with the Essex Serpent will dictate the ultimate happiness of [the] characters. Like John Fowles’s The French Lieutenant’s Woman... this is another period literary pastiche with a contemporary overlay.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Compulsive...narrative and voice coil together until it is very difficult to stop reading.” (The Guardian)

“Irresistible” (People (Book of the Week))

“Astonishing...Perry’s prose is rich, textured, and intricate...a thoughtful and elegant book about the human need for knowledge and love, and about the fears and desires we bury.” (Vox)

“Triumphs on every level, whether in its rich, evocative prose or its authentic Victorian detail, its credible, multifaceted characters or its high-stakes drama...Perry likened writing her novel to a ‘possession.’ Reading it, we find ourselves under a similar mesmerizing spell.” (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The Essex Serpent is Sarah Perry’s first book to come across the pond to us from Great Britain, and it is a corker...Even the most minor characters are filled with a particular life, light and love...one of the best, most memorable novels I have read in long years.” (Daily Herald)

“As engrossing as its reputation would suggest...Perry’s command of language as a tool to evoke time and place proves remarkable.” (Paste Magazine)

“A work of great intelligence and charm, by a hugely talented author.” (Sarah Waters, author of Fingersmith)

 “Dickensian in scope, depth, and exquisite use of language … At once love story and mystery, deeply penetrating layered characters with wit and grace, The Essex Serpent reveals the mundane beast that spawned wild rumors, and the stranger, less easily unmasked beasts within us.” (Historical Novels Review)

“Perry’s second novel is a dazzling and intellectually nimble work of Gothic fiction.” (San Francisco Gate)

“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…It is so good its pages seem lit from within.” (Helen Macdonald, author of H is for Hawk)

“Everything they’re saying is true: sumptuous, beautiful, powerful, engrossing, brilliant.” (Nina Stibbe)

“[T]he most deeply satisfying fiction you will read this year.” (Waterstones Book of the Year)

“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, author of The Miniaturist)

“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, author of At Hawthorn Time )

“For originality, richness of prose and depth of characterization is unlikely to be bettered this year ... one of the most memorable historical novels of the past decade.” (Sunday Times)

“Confident, intelligent and original storytelling -- I was seduced by the many charms of The Essex Serpent.” (Laline Paull, author of The Bees)

“Had Charles Dickens and Bram Stoker come together to write the great Victorian novel, I wonder if it would have surpassed The Essex Serpent? Sarah Perry establishes herself as one of the finest fiction writers working in Britain today.” (John Burnside)

“A suspenseful love story… The Essex Serpent recalls variously the earthiness of Emily Brontë, the arch, high-tensile tone of Conan Doyle, the evocation of time and place achieved by Hilary Mantel and Sarah Waters and the antiquarian edgelands horror of M. R. James.” (New Statesman)

“Perry’s achieved the near impossible…A thing of beauty inside and out… a stunning achievement.” (The Independent)

“Irresistible... you can feel the influences of Mary Shelley, Bram Stoker, Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Hilary Mantel channeled by Perry in some sort of Victorian séance. This is the best new novel I’ve read in years.” (Daily Telegraph)

“An exquisitely absorbing, old-fashioned page-turner…The Essex Serpent is shot through with such a vivid, lively sense of the period that it reads like Charles Dickens at his most accessible and fans of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell will also find much to love.” (Daily Express)

“Perry fully inhabits many of the concerns and stylistic elements of the 19th century novel -- but its interests are still contemporary ones: desire, fulfillment and questioning the world… Her language is exquisite, her characterization finely tuned… [I]t’s clear that Perry is a gifted writer of immense ability.” (Irish Times)

“A Victorian-era gothic with a Dickensian focus on societal ills, Perry’s second novel surprises in its wonderful freshness . . . [her] singular characters are drawn with a fondness that is both palpable and contagious, all making for pure pleasure.”  (The Observer)

“Sarah Perry’s novel of 19th century England tackles big ideas...reversals and sharp darts of psychological insight combined with a sense of the substance and feeling of late 19th-century ideas in bloom make this a fine novel, both historical and otherwise.” (Newsday)

From the Back Cover

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 an unhappy one. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space, she leaves for coastal Essex, accomp-anied by her eleven-year-old son and his nanny. Once there, they hear rumors that after nearly three hundred years, the mythical Essex Serpent, a fearsome creature that once roamed the marshes, has returned. When a young man is mysteriously killed on New Year’s Eve, the community’s dread transforms to terror. Eager to investigate, Cora is introduced to parish vicar William Ransome. As they attempt to discover the truth, these seeming opposites find themselves inexorably drawn together in an intense relationship that will change them in ways entirely unexpected. 


Product details

  • File Size: 1900 KB
  • Print Length: 449 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1781255458
  • Publisher: Custom House (June 6, 2017)
  • Publication Date: June 6, 2017
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01M0HPKE6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,768 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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