If you were enthralled by the historical and spiritual mystery surrounding Anna O’Donnel’s miraculous fast, then a scientifically-minded widow’s search for a mythical serpent might be exactly your cup of tea!
As in The Wonder, questions of religion versus science, and faith versus reason take centre stage in The Essex Serpent. Just like Lib, Cora Seaborne is an intelligent, skeptical woman of science, eager to stretch her wings and explore her passion for naturalism in the wake of her domineering husband’s passing. And so, when she hears intriguing rumours that the mythical Essex serpent has resurfaced after 300 years and killed a man, Cora is convinced the sea beast is a yet-undiscovered species.
Her investigation throws her into the path of local vicar William Ransome, who believes the serpent sightings are caused by moral hysteria and a departure from true belief. Despite their opposing views, he and Cora are drawn together and develop an intense, complicated relationship.
Despite the period settings, both of these novels speak to the tensions between religious and scientific thinking; something that seems ever-relevant, even in our contemporary world. And of course, the allure of a good period mystery is sometimes an itch you just need to scratch. When all those things come together and include smart, scientific heroines — and breathtaking covers! – what’s not to love?
What’s your favourite part of a historical mystery? Tell us what you thought of The Wonder, or why you’re looking forward to The Essex Serpent (releasing June 6th) in the comments section or on Twitter!