St. James Book Club: The Essex Serpent, 11/28/2018

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The Essex Serpent

We had a fun conversation about The Great Coat last session. Our next selection is The Essex Serpent, by Sarah Perry. We will meet on Wed., Nov. 28, at 7pm. The book is fairly long; start reading soon!

About the book: “Set in Victorian London and an Essex village in the 1890s, and enlivened by the debates on scientific and medical discovery that defined the era,The Essex Serpent has, at its heart, the story of two extraordinary people who fall for each other.

They are Cora Seaborne and Will Ransome. Cora is a well-to-do London widow who moves to the Essex parish of Aldwinter, and Will is the local vicar. They meet as their village is engulfed by rumours that the mythical Essex Serpent, once said to roam the marshes claiming human lives, has returned. Cora, a keen amateur naturalist is enthralled, convinced the beast may be a real undiscovered species. But Will sees his parishioners’ agitation as a moral panic, a deviation from true faith. Although they can agree on absolutely nothing, as the seasons turn around them in this quiet corner of England, they find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart.

Told with exquisite grace and intelligence, this novel is most of all a celebration of love, and the many different guises it can take.”

As always, we welcome your recommendations to add to the pool from which we draw our selections. You can borrow book-club reads (typically available in several formats) from your local library, or purchase them from your local independent book store, or on-line from sites such as Amazon, where they are no doubt available in a variety of formats and editions. Check here or search for us on Facebook (@StJSomervilleMA) for cancellations or reschedulings.

Do join us, whether or not you make it through the whole book. ALL opinions are aired! (Even “I couldn’t get past the first chapter.”)

Past selections have included:

  • The Great Coat
  • The Clothes They Stood Up In
  • The Bookseller of Kabul
  • Mrs. Caliban
  • All Standing
  • Last Bus to Wisdom
  • Dreamland
  • News of the World
  • A Confederacy of Dunces