NOVEL OF THE MONTH
The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
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…
This stunning novel is one of the best of the year so far, and probably a strong contender for the Booker Prize. It conjures its Victorian setting perfectly, and has vivid, memorable characters and big, interesting ideas as well. It is one of those books that is both pleasurable and thought-provoking, and I will be eagerly pressing it into the hands of customers, friends and family all year!