Sarah Perry is an English author. She was raised a Strict Baptist, and didn’t grow up reading contemporary fiction. Instead, Sarah read classic novels and poetry, and listened to classical music. Her writing style became heavily influenced by classic literature and the Bible. Sarah earned a degree in English literature from Anglia Polytechnic University, and a PhD in creative writing from Royal Holloway University. Her accolades include the Waterstones Book of the Year and the British Book Award.

Sarah Perry made her debut in 2014 with After Me Comes the Flood. She followed it up in 2016 with The Essex Serpent, which won Book of the Year at the British Book Awards. Below is a list of Sarah Perry’s books in order of when they were first released:

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

After Me Comes the Flood (2014)Description / Buy at
The Essex Serpent (2016)Description / Buy at
Melmoth (2018)Description / Buy at
Enlightenment (2024)Description / Buy at

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

Publication Order of Anthologies

If You Like Sarah Perry Books, You’ll Love…

Sarah Perry Synopses: The Essex Serpent is a standalone novel by Sarah Perry. An exquisitely talented young British author makes her American debut with this rapturously acclaimed historical novel, set in late nineteenth-century England, about an intellectually minded young widow, a pious vicar, and a rumored mythical serpent that explores questions about science and religion, skepticism and faith, independence and love.

When Cora Seaborne’s brilliant, domineering husband dies, she steps into her new life as a widow with as much relief as sadness: her marriage was not a happy one. Wed at nineteen, this woman of exceptional intelligence and curiosity was ill-suited for the role of society wife. Seeking refuge in fresh air and open space in the wake of the funeral, Cora leaves London for a visit to coastal Essex, accompanied by her inquisitive and obsessive eleven-year-old son, Francis, and the boy’s nanny, Martha, her fiercely protective friend.

While admiring the sights, Cora learns of an intriguing rumor that has arisen further up the estuary, of a fearsome creature said to roam the marshes claiming human lives. After nearly 300 years, the mythical Essex Serpent is said to have returned, taking the life of a young man on New Year’s Eve. A keen amateur naturalist with no patience for religion or superstition, Cora is immediately enthralled, certain that what the local people think is a magical sea beast may be a previously undiscovered species. Eager to investigate, she is introduced to local vicar William Ransome. Will, too, is suspicious of the rumors. But unlike Cora, this man of faith is convinced the rumors are caused by moral panic, a flight from true belief.

These seeming opposites who agree on nothing soon find themselves inexorably drawn together and torn apart—an intense relationship that will change both of their lives in ways entirely unexpected. As Cora and Will navigate their clashing beliefs, their journey becomes a poignant exploration of the boundaries between science and religion, reason and faith, and the complexities of love and independence.

Enlightenment by Sarah Perry is a standalone title. Thomas Hart and Grace Macaulay have lived all their lives in the small Essex town of Aldleigh. Though separated in age by three decades, the pair are kindred spirits—torn between their commitment to religion and their desire to explore the world beyond their small Baptist community.

It is two romantic relationships that will rend their friendship. Thomas, a steadfast and devout man, falls deeply in love with a woman who challenges his faith and pushes the boundaries of his beliefs. Meanwhile, Grace, a passionate and curious young woman, becomes entangled in a relationship that offers her a glimpse of the wider world she has always longed for. This divergence in their paths creates a rift between them, and in the wake of this rupture, Thomas develops an obsession with a vanished nineteenth-century astronomer said to haunt a nearby manor. This mystery becomes his solace, and he dedicates himself to uncovering the secrets of the past.

Grace, feeling stifled by the constraints of Aldleigh and her religious upbringing, flees entirely for London. In the bustling city, she seeks to carve out a new life for herself, embracing the freedom and opportunities that come her way. Over the course of twenty years, by coincidence and design, Thomas and Grace will find their lives brought back into orbit as the mystery of the vanished astronomer unfolds into a devastating tale of love and scientific pursuit.

As they navigate their separate yet intertwined journeys, Thomas and Grace will ask themselves what it means to love and be loved, what is fixed and what is mutable. They grapple with the notion of fate and whether it is predestined or written in the stars. In the end, their paths lead them to confront their pasts, their beliefs, and the deep bond they share. Ultimately, they must decide whether they can find their way back to each other, mending the friendship that once meant everything to them and forging a new understanding of love and destiny.

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