After wowing in the UK, Sarah Perry’s sophomore novel, The Essex Serpent (HarperCollins/Custom House; HarperLuxe; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), is earning rave reviews here. Holds are high at most libraries we checked, several topping 10:1.

It is People‘s Book of the Week in the new issue and is one of Book Mark’s “Most Talked About” titles. The Washington Post chief critic Ron Charles headlines his review with the opinion that it features “The most delightful heroine since Elizabeth Bennet” and features it in one of his video reviews.

The NYT glows, writing it is:

“a novel of almost insolent ambition — lush and fantastical, a wild Eden behind a garden gate. Set in the Victorian era, it’s part ghost story and part natural history lesson, part romance and part feminist parable. It’s wonderfully dense and serenely self-assured. I found it so transporting that 48 hours after completing it, I was still resentful to be back home.”

NPR is also on board, calling it “painfully lovely” and a “gloriously alive historical novel.” All Things Considered has an interview:

As we posted earlier, it is an Indie Next pick and has done extraordinarily well in the UK. The Guardian writes it has had “an astonishing trajectory, selling more than 200,000 copies in hardback alone – 40 times more than the initial sales target – and scooping up nominations as varied as the Costa fiction award to the Wellcome prize for books about medicine and health.” Perry beat both Sebastian Barry and Paul Beatty out to win the British Book Award, both as Best Novel and the Book of the Year. It was also on the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction long list and the Dylan Thomas Prize shortlist.

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