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A story of Love and Astronomy set in Essex

  • Submitted: 13th May 2024

Enlightenment – Sarah Perry

A story of Love and Astronomy set in Essex – From the author of The Essex Serpent, you just know this is going to be good. I picked this up and DEVOURED it. The atmosphere, the characters, the feels!

See for yourself….

Map of locations in Enlightenment

A story of Love and Astronomy set in Essex

Map of locations in Enlightenment



Destination : Essex

Author guide: Sarah Perry

Genre: historical/literary fiction

Food and drink to accompany: 




A novel to transport you to Essex


Map of locations in Enlightenment

This is not just a novel – this is a jewel box of delights. We have astronomy, comets, magical happenings, mysteries and more.

It’s very cleverly done in many ways – by how the book is set out and how it weaves such intricate detail like a lace tapestry forming a wonderful piece of art at the end. The novel has three parts representing the passing of time and weaving in the wonders of astronomy at the same time.

Thomas Hart who lives alone in fictional Aldleigh is gay and falls in love with a married man. Then we have Grace. The two characters meet when Grace is just a baby and Thomas is around 20.  They belong to the same religious sect and so it dictates and guides their lives in many ways.

The astronomy part comes in as Thomas is obsessed with a female astronomer called Maria Vaduva Bell, who lived in Aldleigh in the 1880s. The mystery from this research was simply wonderful and I was transfixed.

The strength of this novel for me was its use of time and depiction of time and space. Where do we belong in the world and how can we use astronomy to make sense of our place on earth? What is our place in the stars above?

I love a novel that mixes past and present, real and imagined. Enlightening could be a one word review as well as the title!

Map of locations in Enlightenment


Postcard details:  Access The BookTrail’s Map of Locations and travel guide here


BookTrail Boarding Pass: Enlightenment


Website: www.sarahperry.net/

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