My rating: 3.5/5 stars
History fiction is one of my favorite genres of all times, after discovering “Outlander”. Strong heroes, feisty and independent heroines, who are capable of changing personalities and mentalities fascinate the hell out of me and I love reading about them as often as possible. “The Essex Serpent” by Sarah Perry fits into this category perfectly and it really peaked my curiosity after reading a little about the plot.
England, XIX century, Cora is an atypical widow, not very upset about it, because her late husband was extremely abusive and deprived her of her freedom. Now, without being stuck in this marriage, she could be free to pursue her dream. She wants to become a scientist, has a passion about Darwin, about his theories, about fossils and the entire unknown world, which she is dying to explore and why not, change into something better. She finds out that in Essex, the locals are being theorized by an evil snake, which apparently kills sinful persons, taking them as an offering for the committed sins. Together with her son and his nanny, they depart in Essex in search for this creature. There, she finds pastor William, that is completely different from her, a man that believes in traditions and religion as a way of life. Even if they are different, they become close, and throughout the book we will take part in some very interesting dialogues and conversations that will surely enlighten most of you. Even if the sides are different, the way they believe in everything they say and the way the stand up to their ideas is amazing, admirable.
“The Essex Serpent” is not catchy only because of the plot, but also because of the characters. Cora is a very strong woman, with a strong personality and very eager to make a difference. She is very persistent, stubborn, but always believes to be right, even if the situation might be otherwise. She is presented in comparison to William, because her ideas are new, revolutionary, born from a strong thirst of knowledge and exploring the unknown. I compared her terribly with Claire from “Outlander”, because she also had to endure an old society, with ancient beliefs in myths and religion, such as witchcraft and black magic. Cora is the type of person that manages to open up perspectives and implies that evolution is the highest peak that humankind can reach. William, on the contrary, sustains that religion and tradition have to be respected and follow as such, because of the ancestors legacy. They both strongly believe in things, only that they are the total opposite. We just have to wait and see who will win this battles of strong wills and feisty personalities. Enjoy 🙂