The Coffin Path
'The perfect ghost story'
by Katherine Clements
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 08 Feb 2018 | Archive Date 22 Feb 2018
Headline, Headline Review
**Longlisted for the HWA Gold Crown**
An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder's Sister and The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.
'Spine-tingling... the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time' Barbara Erskine
'A wonderful, macabre evocation of a lost way of life' The Times
'Like something from Emily Bronte's nightmares' Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London
Maybe you've heard tales about Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there's something up here, something evil.
Mercy Booth isn't afraid. The moors and Scarcross are her home and lifeblood. But, beneath her certainty, small things are beginning to trouble her. Three ancient coins missing from her father's study, the shadowy figure out by the gatepost, an unshakeable sense that someone is watching.
When a stranger appears seeking work, Mercy reluctantly takes him in. As their stories entwine, this man will change everything. She just can't see it yet.
What readers are saying about The Coffin Path:
'A fantastic eerie ghost story to settle down with on a winters night'
'Compelling and chilling, the slow build-up of tension had me completely on edge'
'I couldn't put it down. I felt I was there on the moors, being watched by the unseen'
Praise for Katherine Clements
'Impressive and inspirational' ALISON WEIR
'Convincing, tender and devastating' KAREN MAITLAND
'Exceptional' MANDA SCOTT
'The vibrant new voice of historical fiction' SUZANNAH DUNN
Eloquent storytelling and superb characterisation' THE SUN
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 56 members
Firstly I would like to thank Headline and Netgalley for allowing me to read and review this book. "One marks the first to go. A second bodes the fall. The third will seal a sinner's fate. The Devil takes them all." Set in 1674 about 30 years after Oliver Cromwell's failed attempt at taking power from King Charles 1st we find ourselves on the bleak Yorkshire moors. Tending her sheep, Mercy Booth feels like she's being watched, not being able to shake this feeling she heads back to Scarcross Hall her family home. Upon reaching the door she turns and through the fog she's adamant she sees a ghostly figure that has followed her down from the moors. As with all old manner houses there are normally various ghost stories attached to them and Scarcross Hall is no different. We hear about the mysterious deaths of the previous residents and tales of macabre events at the White Ladies; a collection of standing stones atop the moors that are all connected by the Coffin Path. Being a farming family they require help at certain times of year, at this point the mysterious Mr Ellis Ferreby finds his way to Scarcross Hall asking for work. He and the other shepherds start the year's work of Lambing, cutting of crops ect but it's at this point that things start to happen and Ellis's obsession with Mercy begins. Boy -o- boy where to start; Firstly I was really looking forward to this book, to my dismay sadly I found it slow going and monotonous so it felt twice as long as it actually was. It just didn't grab me in the way I thought it would or should have, I found myself thinking "just get on with it" which doesn't bode well for a book. I found I couldn't relate to any character, the only ones I did feel any slight empathy for were Bartram Booth suffering the way he was with old age and early signs of dementia, not to mention the stress of what's happening in and around Scarcross Hall, and the secrets he's hanging on to, but I'll get to those in a moment. The other is much later in the story and is Ellis Ferreby, where first we get a glimpse of his upbringing and later towards the end. I also thought the subject matter was dull and uninteresting as we spent more time out with the sheep and tending the lambs than actually getting to grips with what was really going on. I do get that the author wanted to relay to us what their lives were about and how hard the times were, but I felt it was at the cost of what I wanted to experience, and if I hear tell of the smell of sheep grease and peat in all its forms again I'm going to scream. Now the things they weren't telling one another something else that grated my teeth! I'm all for building suspense in a book, but it just went on and on i.e. "I won't tell her the full story because of this" or "I can't tell him the rest because of that", or even "I'm going to look foolish if I admit to have experienced this or that". I lost count of the amount of times when I got pulled in on the recounting of a tale only for the individual to stop short and say they've been sworn to secrecy "most annoying". I've never given up on a book but at 50% in I nearly took the Coffin Path myself, however I live by the philosophy that the last 20% or 50 pages could be the best you've ever read so like the stalwart I am I ploughed on. Ok there were some plusses to this book mainly the writing style, it flowed very nicely and was easy to read. Even though I didn't like the subject matter it was all very well written. There were some nice scenes; I liked it when Pastor Flynn came to Scarcross Hall and led the Booth's in prayer, only for the sounds to start upstairs, the look on their faces was priceless and the good pastor couldn't wait to get back to his flock. Another nice scene was the conversation John Bestwicke was having in an inn and was recounting his time in Cromwell's army; unfortunately it was brief but good while it lasted. So to sum up; the Coffin Path is well written with some decent scenes, sadly for me though they were few and far between and when it did get interesting the story switched to another scene more often than not. I found some aspects of the lead up to the end interesting but ultimately it left me wanting. Sadly the only thing for me that went bump in the night was when I fell asleep and dropped my Kindle. Thanks for reading.