The Coffin Path

The Coffin Path

The Coffin Path is an eerie and compelling seventeenth-century ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of Michelle Paver and Sarah Waters, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.Maybe you've heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say...

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Title:The Coffin Path
Author:Katherine Clements
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The Coffin Path Reviews

  • Thebooktrail

    This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, my eyes pop right open, my mouth drop in shock....you get the idea. If I owned a room divider/screen it would now be so far away from my house as I could get it. Next time I hear a sheep, I'm probably going to have a heart attack, and what is that amongst the trees at night?

    The Yorkshire moors are as bleak here as they've ever been but mix in a ghostly tale, the ghosts of men returning from war and secrets h

    This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, my eyes pop right open, my mouth drop in shock....you get the idea. If I owned a room divider/screen it would now be so far away from my house as I could get it. Next time I hear a sheep, I'm probably going to have a heart attack, and what is that amongst the trees at night?

    The Yorkshire moors are as bleak here as they've ever been but mix in a ghostly tale, the ghosts of men returning from war and secrets hidden under lock and key and you're in for a real treat. Katherine writes with flair and a flicker of fear in the pen. The scratches of each and every word will pierce your heart and make it go faster...

    Chillingly brilliant. Read with the lights on - better still read in the daylight as if the lights go out....

  • Kate

    Atmospheric and very spooky historical ghost story. A compelling read.

  • Paromjit

    Katherine Clements serves up a scarily creepy atmospheric gothic tale of ghosts and horror set in the Yorkshire Moors of the seventeenth century. It is a location that has been hit hard and poverty runs rampant, a place that has been deeply affected by the English Civil War, Cromwell's rule and the return of the monarchy to the country. It is steeped in rampant superstitions, rumours, fears and religious divisions. The dilapidated Scarcross Hall is the family home of the Booth family, on the old

    Katherine Clements serves up a scarily creepy atmospheric gothic tale of ghosts and horror set in the Yorkshire Moors of the seventeenth century. It is a location that has been hit hard and poverty runs rampant, a place that has been deeply affected by the English Civil War, Cromwell's rule and the return of the monarchy to the country. It is steeped in rampant superstitions, rumours, fears and religious divisions. The dilapidated Scarcross Hall is the family home of the Booth family, on the old coffin path that runs from the village and to the top, where there is a stone circle, known as the White Ladies, a site where horrifying macabre happenings occur. It is an area associated with an old evil, a house well acquainted with death, but Mercy Booth pays the local tales no heed, she is a strong, independent woman continuing the family tradition of sheep farming and she expects to inherit. It is a hard and demanding life, all the while under the threat of going under.

    Mercy's father, Bartram is a man in the throes of dementia, no longer able to work, a man who hides much. There are weird and odd sounds that emanate from a unused bedroom and old coins Bartram collected from the site of the White Ladies have vanished. A new work hand has been taken on by Mercy despite her misgivings, Ellis Ferreby, someone she eventually turns outs to be grateful for, as the local hands leave. Ellis, who has his own secrets becomes transfixed and obsessed with Mercy. Sheep are gruesomely mutilated, and amidst hostility from the local community, it is alleged that Mercy is a witch. Mercy finds strength and faith in her connection with the landscape, as she finds she is no longer able to ignore the danger, nor deny what is happening around her and the weather becomes increasingly inclement.

    The narrative is related from the perspective of Mercy and Ellis. Clements writing evokes the menace and tension beautifully, her descriptions give a strong sense of place and the nature of sheep farming. She has a real skill in the way she builds up the tension and suspense, creating real fear in me as the reader. This is a story of ghosts and secrets that will chill. I highly recommend this novel for those in search of a spooky atmospheric read. Many thanks to Headline for an ARC.

  • Blair

    Set in a 17th-century sheep-farming community against the harsh backdrop of the Yorkshire moors,

    felt like a book I could sink into and just

    right from the beginning. This historical ghost story is a fabulous example of great storytelling, rich with detail and drama.

    Mercy Booth is the only daughter of a widowed landowner. Her father's health is declining, and Mercy has not married or had children. In an age when women do not tend to inherit, Mercy nevertheless believes she

    Set in a 17th-century sheep-farming community against the harsh backdrop of the Yorkshire moors,

    felt like a book I could sink into and just

    right from the beginning. This historical ghost story is a fabulous example of great storytelling, rich with detail and drama.

    Mercy Booth is the only daughter of a widowed landowner. Her father's health is declining, and Mercy has not married or had children. In an age when women do not tend to inherit, Mercy nevertheless believes she will ultimately take ownership of Scarcross Hall. But this year, there are bad omens: the first lamb of spring has a difficult birth, and the ewe that bore it dies immediately afterwards. The locals are beginning to turn against the Booths – in part because they are suspicious of Mercy's status – and the arrival of a mysterious stranger named Ellis Ferreby seems to stir up even more discontent. Most disturbing of all are the unaccountable noises, footsteps and other signs of movement emanating from an abandoned bedroom at the Hall.

    There's a nice feminist slant to Mercy's character, and her independence is well-realised without making her seem anachronistic. Clements does a great job of depicting her faith, too. Mercy is a woman who feels closest to God when she is communing with nature: 'I'm with Him when I'm out on the moor, when I see His hand at work in life, death and the turning of the world.'

    contains some creepy details, but much of the narrative is devoted to establishing the character of Mercy, her past, and the relationships the Booths have with the local community, as well as the expert scene-setting required to turn the success or failure of a farm into a nail-biting plight.

    The plot steps up its pace in the final chapters; I found myself turning the pages pretty feverishly, desperate to find out how it would all end... and I wasn't disappointed. The ending is a virtuoso flourish that ties a neat (albeit pitch-black) bow around the story's various strands and twists.

    (Also: it's always nice when books you read close together have a kind of serendipitous symmetry.

    has enough in common with Andrew Michael Hurley's superb

    that it could almost be a prequel. The setting is never specifically named, allowing me to imagine it as the Endlands hundreds of years before the events of Hurley's novel. The rural northern setting, the sheep-farming family, the locals' fear of the Devil lurking on the moors... it's all there. And the coffin path of the Booths' era might have become Reapers' Walk by the time the Pentecosts arrived.

    also reminded me of another excellent historical horror novel,

    by Catriona Ward, and there's one detail in particular that makes it uncannily similar to Laura Purcell's

    The Coffin Path

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  • Cathy

    Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog:

    The Coffin Path’s striking opening line - “I was born with blood on my hands” - sets the scene for a story full of atmosphere and chilling moments. Ancient curses, family secrets, a remote moorland setting and a crumbling old house reached only by an ancient track called the coffin path – what more do you want?

    Very much in the tradition of M.

    Find all my book reviews, plus fascinating author interviews, exclusive guest posts and book extracts, on my blog:

    The Coffin Path’s striking opening line - “I was born with blood on my hands” - sets the scene for a story full of atmosphere and chilling moments. Ancient curses, family secrets, a remote moorland setting and a crumbling old house reached only by an ancient track called the coffin path – what more do you want?

    Very much in the tradition of M. R. James, the sinister atmosphere the author creates comes more from suggestion than full-blown in your face horror. Noises from empty rooms, objects moving or disappearing without seeming human intervention, sudden chills or unusual scents are far scarier and unsettling to my mind than coming face-to-face with a monster. There is one particular scene that definitely made me want to draw the bedcovers up over my head! All the time the reader is made to wonder whether there is malicious human agency behind the goings-on, whether they are the product of a feverish or disturbed imagination – mass hysteria even - or there is an actual supernatural presence.

    As word of the strange occurrences at Scarcross Hall reach the wider community it’s not long before superstitious minds see the work of the Devil behind them and seek to assign blame. Like other women down the ages, Mercy, as an independent-minded, unconventional and most importantly unmarried woman, is an easy target for their suspicions, especially when fuelled by grudges of a more personal nature.

    Alongside the strange events in the house, the author presents a convincing and detailed picture of the everyday struggle to eke out a livelihood on a remote moorland farm. There is some wonderful descriptive writing that conjures up the wild beauty of the moor that surrounds Scarcross Hall. ‘Now, in this moment, the wind brings it to him: the rich savour of damp peat, must and decay, the metallic, coppery scent of snow and ancient, rainwashed stone, a hint of salt and sea storms.’ I also liked the use of alliteration in lines like, ‘He craves the comfort of it, longs for the liquidity of limbs, the gradual sink into silent contemplation.’

    I have to say that although the story is set in the 17th century, I didn’t get an overwhelming sense of that period for a lot of the book. It felt that it could just have easily been set in the 18th or 19th century. However, this does change towards the end of the book as the events and upheaval of the recent Civil War become more central to the story.

    The Coffin Path is a satisfyingly creepy ghost story that builds slowly to a dramatic climax as secrets are finally revealed. I received an advance reader copy courtesy of NetGalley and publishers Headline in return for an honest and unbiased review.

  • Lucy Banks

    Say the words 'gothic horror' to me and you've immediately grabbed my attention. As such, I eagerly requested a copy of this book - as anything that promises historic settings, eerie moors and unsettling manor houses I felt certain would be a winner.

    For the most part, I wasn't disappointed, though I have to admit, it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

    Mercy Booth lives

    Say the words 'gothic horror' to me and you've immediately grabbed my attention. As such, I eagerly requested a copy of this book - as anything that promises historic settings, eerie moors and unsettling manor houses I felt certain would be a winner.

    For the most part, I wasn't disappointed, though I have to admit, it wasn't quite what I was expecting.

    Mercy Booth lives in Scarcross Manor (now there's a name!) with her father, an elderly lady called Agnes, and with a variety of farm-helps / shepherds close by. Right from the start, the mood is established; Mercy senses something evil in the rolling mist and runs home, convinced that she sees a pale figure outside.

    A while later, a mysterious man called Ellis turns up, looking for work. No-one else quite trusts him, but he proves himself a good worker, and is one of the few who dares to venture out on those sinister moors at night. Meanwhile, things are getting pretty weird back at the manor. Mercy is plagued by nocturnal noises and spooky sights; hands touching her in the dead of night, a strange fire-guard, made to look like a child, seemingly moving from room to room. However, she's hell-bent on the manor being hers after her father's death, and

    is going to make her flee.

    One of the strongest aspects of

    was the creation of atmosphere. Although nothing out-and-out terrifying happens, the author still manages to create a sense of growing dread, and there were several moments where I felt genuinely chilled. Her depictions of the moors were absolutely spot-on, and she captures the haunting quality of being out in the middle of nowhere very well.

    Likewise, I found the historical setting completely convincing. I'm often a nit-picker about these types of things, but as far as I could tell, it was all thoroughly researched and as a result, felt very authentic.

    The characters were earthy, occasionally repulsive, and compelling to read. For me, the stand-out was Mercy herself; mannish, ahead of her time as far as attitudes to a woman's role in the world goes. Her unrelenting determination to own the manor drove much of the action, and I loved the fact that she didn't quit, right until the bitter end. It was also a masterful twist at the end, and one I did not see coming.

    My main niggle was with the central sections of the book, which did become ever so slightly boggy. After a truly creepy start, I was filled with anticipation, expecting the gothic horror to ramp up even further. However, it never really revved into action for me- it was always a simmering, anticipatory kind of horror, rather than anything actually really happening. I felt like I needed some sort of conclusion about what was going on in the house too - there was never really any resolution, but then, given that this wasn't actually the main thrust of the novel, I can understand the author's reasoning for writing it like this.

    Overall though, very enjoyable - and deserves to be read for the superb atmospheric descriptions if nothing else.

  • Maria Hill AKA MH Books

    “When we first came here, I told him this house had secrets. I warned him. And he flew into one of his rages and forbade me ever to speak if such things again. Promised to cast me out if I did. Seems no sense in changing that now.”

    This is a creepy gothic tale of a 17th century Hall and sheep farm on the moors of Yorkshire. The plot is worthy of a Victorian sensationalist novel with its dark secrets and melodramatic endings. All the characters are keeping dark secrets that could ruin them all...

    “When we first came here, I told him this house had secrets. I warned him. And he flew into one of his rages and forbade me ever to speak if such things again. Promised to cast me out if I did. Seems no sense in changing that now.”

    This is a creepy gothic tale of a 17th century Hall and sheep farm on the moors of Yorkshire. The plot is worthy of a Victorian sensationalist novel with its dark secrets and melodramatic endings. All the characters are keeping dark secrets that could ruin them all...

    The story is told from the alternating first-person perspective of the Mistress of Scarcross Hall and the third person perspective a shepherd that joins them one spring. As the year progresses we have ghostly presences, ancient coins, animal slaughtering, secrets aplenty and more than one accusation of witchcraft. But what will Winter bring?

    Some very atmospheric prose in this one.

    “I’ve had blood on my hands ever since. I’m elbow deep in a thigh, viscous caul of it. Though I’ve never sweated and screamed in my own childbed, I know life and death better than most women. And now, as ever, I’m mindful of my mother. It happens every time I birth a lamb - the weighted pause before the newborn’s first breath, like a clock’s final turning before the hour’s strike, and I always think the same thing: how the moment of birth, of new life, so often means the death of something else.”

    However, the plot wavered a little for me and I was not a fan of the secret that was revealed. Neverthe less a good gothic read and there is nothing wrong with that.

    More Gothic than merely ghostly this is recommended for fans of

    .

  • Bex (Beckie Bookworm)

    🌟🌟🌟STARS

    ARC-REVIEW

    Release Date-8/2/18

    So the Coffin Path By Katherine Clements was a strange one for me, I was really looking forward to this but it didn't quite deliver and left me feeling a tad confused by that unexplained ending.

    So this book tells the story of Mercy Booth who lives at Scarcross Hall with her father and an old servant called Meg.

    Scarcross Hall is at the end of the old coffin path that winds up from the village to the top of the moor, hence the stories name.

    Stories Abound abou

    🌟🌟🌟STARS

    ARC-REVIEW

    Release Date-8/2/18

    So the Coffin Path By Katherine Clements was a strange one for me, I was really looking forward to this but it didn't quite deliver and left me feeling a tad confused by that unexplained ending.

    So this book tells the story of Mercy Booth who lives at Scarcross Hall with her father and an old servant called Meg.

    Scarcross Hall is at the end of the old coffin path that winds up from the village to the top of the moor, hence the stories name.

    Stories Abound about the evil that resides up here.

    But Mercy isn't afraid she loves this land.

    And when a stranger appears seeking work Mercy reluctantly provides it.

    So the stranger, Ellis Ferreby and Mercy's tales are on a collision course and the fallout is going to be epic.

    So this is what I would class as a gothic ghost tale, set in the seventeenth century on the bleak Yorkshire Moors amid sheep country.

    The Coffin Path gives vivid descriptions throughout of the bleakness of the times.

    The first visual upon starting this is a graphic portrayal of Mercy aiding a sheeps labour and this book continues to provide vivid optical delights.

    The atmosphere created throughout hangs heavy with an extremely ominous feel.

    Despite this, I struggled at times to fully connect and though the mood was set there never seemed to be an adequate explanation for any of the events occurring.

    The Coffin Path mostly relies on its ambience, setting an aura of terror for the reader.

    I also felt there were just too many bloody sheep stories being told.

    I know where it was set, and the author did show her great knowledge of sheep farming back in the day, which is awesome, but for me, it was just a tad too much information.

    I was sick to the back bloody teeth of sheep.

    So the ending for this book took me completely by surprise, I saw some of it coming, but there was other stuff that I really wasn't expecting at all, and if I'm honest I actually feel rather sad and heartbroken for Ellis, poor bloke.

    I would have definitely prefered an alternative ending and actually felt that Mercy was a complete cow to the poor bloke.

    And also, as I said earlier, I am not quite sure what has actually happened here.

    It was all a bit weird if I'm honest.

    I was left feeling a bit deflated, this showed so much promise but for me fell totally flat in places.

    Saying that this was very well written and had such a lyrical prose you couldn't help being enthralled by the language and also the overall setting.

    So, in conclusion, this was a somewhat solid read but with some issues that I failed to overcome.

    I was provided with an ARC of "The Coffin Path" By Netgalley of which I have reviewed voluntary.

    All opinions expressed are entirely my own.

    Reviewed By Beckie Bookworm.

  • Jackie Law

    The Coffin Path, by Katherine Clements, is a ghost story set on the edge of a lonesome moor in 1674. Its protagonist is thirty-two year old Mercy Booth who lives in the gradually decaying splendour of Scarcross Hall with her ageing father, Bartram, and his faithful servant, Agnes. Mercy works alongside the shepherds and farmhands hired to till their land and care for the flock of sheep that provide the family’s main income. She has been told that one day it will all be hers.

    The story opens with

    The Coffin Path, by Katherine Clements, is a ghost story set on the edge of a lonesome moor in 1674. Its protagonist is thirty-two year old Mercy Booth who lives in the gradually decaying splendour of Scarcross Hall with her ageing father, Bartram, and his faithful servant, Agnes. Mercy works alongside the shepherds and farmhands hired to till their land and care for the flock of sheep that provide the family’s main income. She has been told that one day it will all be hers.

    The story opens with the arrival of the first of the season’s lambs. It is not an easy birth and proves a portent of happenings to come. The first of these is the arrival of a stranger, Ellis Ferreby, who is looking for employment. Although the locals are wary of outsiders he is taken on, proving himself a capable shepherd and hard worker.

    Mercy has spent her life out on the moor but notices a new, chilling presence, a feeling of being watched as she goes about familiar tasks. Within the hall she hears unexplained noises above the expected creaks and movement of the old house. There have long been rumours of a curse, and her father is suffering a decline of mind.

    In her troubles Mercy finds herself drawn to Ellis although both keep their thoughts and fears close. Their interactions are noticed by a local man, Henry Ravens, who grows jealous and threatens to denounce Mercy. Within the hall, Bartram becomes agitated when items he values go missing. These include three old coins, one of which is found under the pillow of a young lad named Sam, the son of the head shepherd and a favourite of the master.

    Sam is often around the hall, spending time with Bartram in his study. As the year progresses and strange events continue to unfold the boy becomes agitated and withdrawn. Mercy suspects he knows more than he is saying but cannot coax him to confide in her. Likewise she is unwilling to share her fears with even those she would previously have trusted.

    Mutilated lambs are discovered and bad weather threatens the harvest. Along with the ghostly noises from an unused chamber within Scarcross there is much to concern the Booths and those who rely on their employ. Mercy fears that her sinfulness has brought down punishment from God. Ellis watches and waits, keeping his true reason for being there from all.

    The plot has many elements of a good ghost story: a run down hall housing secretive sinister artefacts; rumours of an ancient curse linked to the devil; fear of the dead returning; accusations of witchcraft. The church plays a role as does the stranger with a past that is revealed gradually. It is unfortunate that I guessed the main twist early on, and that I struggled to maintain engagement as the Booth’s troubles mounted. I would have preferred a tighter plot construction and a clearer drawing together of the mysterious and the supernatural.

    Having said that the last fifty pages held the strongest part of the story. There was horror aplenty and a spine chilling final line.

    A tale that started and ended well enough but felt somewhat bloated in between. I am left feeling underwhelmed.

    My copy of this book was provided gratis by the publisher, Headline Review.

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