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THE WATERSTONES BOOK OF THE YEAR SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 COSTA NOVEL AWARD LONGLISTED FOR THE WELLCOME BOOK PRIZE 2017 LONGLISTED FOR THE BAILEYS PRIZE 2017 #1 Sunday Times bestseller 'One of the most memorable historical vels of the past decade' Sunday Times 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 t 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 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 thing, 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 vel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.
Sarah Perry was born in Essex in 1979. She has a PhD in creative writing from Royal Holloway, and has been the writer in residence at the Gladstone Library and the UNESCO World City of Literature Writer in Residence in Prague. Her first novel, After Me Comes the Flood, was longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Folio Prize, and won the East Anglian Book of the Year Award in 2014. She lives in Norwich.
Winner of Waterstones Book of the Year 2016. Shortlisted for Costa Novel Award 2016.