The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements – Review.

About The Book

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.

My Review

The Coffin Path is an eerie tale that takes place on the Yorkshire Moors in the 17th century. It’s a hard place to live, the bleakness, the years after the war and its in a remote area that is reliant on good weather to make a decent living. And there is a rumour that has never gone away of an evil presence on the moors and especially at Scarcross Hall, the home of Mercy and her father.
The novel has two narrators. Ellis, who has recently arrived in the area and Mercy. Ellis has a barely hinted at past and at first Mercy doesn’t trust him. But, when all her regular workers abandon her he is one of her only allies. There isn’t much of his narration that covers the sinister events, apart from what happens with the livestock.
Mercy is the character who is affected most by what is happening. She can see her father’s health deteriorate with what is occurring as well as changing behavior of Sam, a young boy who lives nearby. Most of her narration had me warily looking over my shoulder and tensing at every noise I heard. If I had a fire screen it would have been removed from the house, it was one of the creepiest parts of the novel, and it brought me out in goosebumps more than once.
As well as being a ghost story it was also a historical one. The English Civil War had an impact on the area and many of the characters in the novel were affected by it. Some of them were living in poverty and suspicious of those who had a different religion. Many of the locals weren’t likeable, but living in fear of losing everything and listening to tales of witchcraft and unexplained occurences must have made a difficult situation to live in. I imagine that this was an accurate description for the time.
I enjoy a ghost story, but I have found it difficult lately to find one that kept me on edge. The Coffin Path has made up for recent disappointments, it is one of the eeriest books that I have read for a few years. And with the addition of historical fiction in a period of time that had an impact locally.

The Coffin Path can be pre ordered here

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.