I’m not entirely sure what to say about Sarah Perry’s “The Essex Serpent”. At first it felt a little like a slow pastiche of Thomas Hardy or even Dickens. I was worried that it was going to be too predictable. But at some point – probably half-way through – it seemed to take on a merit of its own; the plot became independent and resilient, and the characters seemed to matter more. In the end, I’m glad I read it, and I can see why people have enjoyed it.
I can see it making a splendid film.