The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
Published May 2016 by Serpent's Tail
Source: borrowed from the library
Rating: 4 stars
From the blurb: Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890's, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery which defined the era, The Essex Serpent has at its heart the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other, but not in the usual way.
They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners' agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.
I wasn't sure what to expect from The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry. I'd been seeing it everywhere, who could ignore that stunning cover, but I thought it might be a little dark for me. I was wrong, this book was such a wonderful, unique story. I loved the historical aspect, the mystery, the unpredictability of the plot. It was captivating, touching, atmospheric, and beautifully written. I loved it so much that I need to buy a copy for my very own, my only question is: do I buy the original cover or the special (but hard to acquire) Waterstones edition?
Cover designer: Peter Dyer
This cover! It is just beautiful, I could stare at it for hours. It's definitely one of my favourite book covers.
I started with a base of black nail polish and used acrylic paint for the serpent, flowers, and leaves.