Thursday 15th September
7.30 – 9.00 pm at Mugen Tea House
The book selected for the next meeting is:
The Essex Serpent, the second novel by Sarah Perry.
The story begins in London in the summer of 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 London 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.
The book is published in a hardback edition (RRP £14.99), but copies are available to Book Group members from Rhyme & Reason at Hunter’s Bar at a reduced price of £9.99.
If you’d like to come along and join in discussion of The Essex Serpent on 15th September please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The delightful Mugen Tea House is on the corner of Scotland Street and Lambert Street near West Bar (postcode S3 7AA). Buses no 81/82 towards Stannington stop on West Bar at the bottom of Lambert Street, just a couple of minutes’ walk from the Tea House.