Review: The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent

The Essex Serpent
By Sarah Perry
Custom House, 9780062666383, 2018, 464pp.

The Short of It:

Not exactly what I expected but entertaining nonetheless.

The Rest of It:

London, 1893. When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was an unhappy one, and she never suited the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space, she leaves the metropolis for coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year-old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend. ~ Indiebound

What makes this story interesting is that it also includes a mythical creature, the Essex serpent. After years of rumors, a man shows up dead and once again the town is convinced that the serpent is back to its tricks.

As you’re reading though, whether or not this creature actually exists is left up to the reader. Does the creature represent something or more specifically, someone in the story? I found this story to be very readable and read it in one afternoon but I found the characters to be unremarkable. We picked it for book club and there wasn’t that much to discuss but some of the members have seen the series adaptation and so  had some good comparisons to share.

Have you read it? I think I expected it to be more adventurous.

Source: Borrowed
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

5 thoughts on “Review: The Essex Serpent”

  1. I haven’t read this and have heard such mixed things that I gave away my thrift-store copy a few years ago. Like I don’t think I’ve seen anyone rave about it in quite a while, just a lot of people who read it post-hype cycle and weren’t super impressed. :/

  2. I haven’t heard of this one and it doesn’t seem like my kind of book. It’s interesting how only certain types of books lend themselves to animated book group discussions; and it isn’t a comment on whether the book is good or not.

  3. I recall the book & saw a glimpse of the series but it’s too bad the book isn’t more adventurous … sounds like a great premise but then delivered a bit less. I’m still on the fence for it.

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