“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. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, is immediately enthralled, convinced that what the local people think is a magical beast may be a previously undiscovered species. As she sets out on its trail, she is introduced to William Ransome, Aldwinter’s vicar.
Like Cora, Will is deeply suspicious of the rumours, but he thinks they are founded on moral panic, a flight from real faith. As he tries to calm his parishioners, he and Cora strike up an intense relationship, and although they agree on absolutely nothing, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart, eventually changing each other’s lives in ways entirely unexpected.
Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.”
-From book jacket
This book was an absolutely exquisite read – there really is no other way to put it. First of all, a little bit about the author. She is highly well educated with a PhD in creative writing from Royal Halloway, which is a very well respected university. Additionally, she has been the writer in residence at Gladstone’s Library as well as the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague (summarized from book jacket). So clearly she knows her stuff in regards to writing and this is clearly evident within the book.
It is written in an older English kind of style as there are Old English contractions between words, as well as English spelling and longer sentences. It is more like a Jane Austen novel than a newer piece of literature, which I absolutely love. This book is nothing like you will find in the ‘new’ section of your bookstores.
It was definitely a challenging read, to get into it, as it was so different from any other book that one may generally read. It took a few chapters to get into the book and understand the flow of how it would be progressing, but once you did, it was a wonderful story. It was vividly written with beautiful descriptions and you were really able to feel the atmosphere of the book and locations mentioned with great ease.
If you are looking for a book that is fast paced, then this is not your book. It is a very slow story but it keeps you interested. I do not mean slow in a negative way, but there are no fights or action scenes as such. It was a calm book and not once did I have any of my emotions go to an extreme where I had adrenaline pumping or tears streaming down my face. It was all so calm and peaceful which I loved.
There was one small sex scene, which shocked the living daylights out of me. It was so soft and nothing really happened but it was obvious what was happening. And for the time period and what was happening in the story, it shocked me overall and was just so scandalous. In other books I wouldn’t have even batted an eyelash however in this one I was internally going “oh my gosh, wait what?!”
Overall this book was fantastic! It won’t be released in the United States until June 6th, so this is definitely hot off the press. It has been released in the UK for a few months however, like all good things, other countries had to wait for it.
So I do recommend adding this to your wishlist and giving it a buy. It’s an amazing read and a wonderful gift for any book lover in your life. I mean, just look at the cover! Who wouldn’t love to receive a book that was beautiful as that?
Happy Reading and let me know what you all think!