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

The Essex Serpent (Jan) DIDN'T FINISH:  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!)


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