Why, yes, I am probably the only person you know who didn’t love The Essex Serpent.


I got about 150 pages before the end of The Essex Serpent before giving up. In theory, this book- about an eccentric Victorian widow-turned-fossil hunter- should have gripped me. It had all the ingredients I usually love in a novel. It was Waterstone’s Book of 2016. EVERYONE seemed to love it. It has a nice cover.

But nope.

I can’t put my finger on why exactly I disliked it. The characters didn’t really grab me, but that’s not always put me off before. The writing was good, although I was driven to distraction by one character’s obsession with blue, which reminded me of Tim’s ‘blue bloody walls’ outburst in Spaced. But, ultimately, the whole thing bored me. I had an inkling as to how it would end, who would die and so on. I found myself bored and it’s a shame because I so wanted to like it. So many of my friends have adored it and I… didn’t. Maybe it’s because I was reading another book set in Essex (The Witchfinder’s Sister) or I wasn’t in the mood, I don’t know.

I do know that I have form for hating very popular books (oh, hai, Disclaimer and Gone Girl!) and I’m very vocal about what I do like (I am DYING to tell you about See What I Have Done, but I’ve been sworn to hold my typing fingers til March.) I guess I’m just a bit out of the loop on this one.




  1. (I feel the same about Gone Girl, which I dislike more the more I think about it.)

    I’ve read the first page of The Essex Serpent, and while I know you shouldn’t judge on this, but I wasn’t drawn to it.


  2. I often hate popular books, but luckily I read and reviewed this one long before it got praised, so I wasn’t swayed by public opinion on it. I did like it very, very much and I’m fascinated to understand why you didn’t. (Actually I’m always curious about this with other readers. It’s a deep mystery!)


  3. I’ve just finihed it and I really dind’t like it either. I think the main character is far too ovbious and unatractive (although everybody seems to fall in love with her). There are many characters and subplots that don’t really add anything to the main story. I don´t understand how this book came to be a best seller and why the heck now is going to ve a tv adaptation. I really don´t get it.


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