8 February 2018
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
There is nothing I like better than an atmospheric ghost story which is set high above the hills of Northern England.
Mercy Booth, her father, Bartram and servant, Agnes eke out a bleak existence amongst the lost and lonely crags of the Yorkshire Dales. The old coffin path that links Mercy's home at Scarcross Hall to the village below is a path not often travelled as folk say that evil lingers on its dark and lonely trail.
Mercy isn't frightened, after all, this is the only life she has ever known, and she is content to tend to her flock of sheep in isolated loneliness. But so attuned is she to her solitary environment that when strange things start to happen, and when a shadowy figure is seen near the Hall, Mercy’s peace of mind is greatly disturbed.
With a strong sense of time and place, The Coffin Path is a deliciously creepy story and so icily chilling in places that it makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. And whilst, it’s about the realities of living in a harsh and unforgiving time when ignorant superstition could ruin innocent lives, it’s also about gossip and sly innuendo; it’s about blood and fear and of the daily struggle of survival.
Set in the latter half of the seventeenth century, The Coffin Path is that wonderful mixture of Gothic gloom and ancient superstition which is so reminiscent of Northern England. Beautifully written, and filled with a sense of evil and a brooding loneliness, it’s one of those stories which is just perfect for a cold, wintery evening, and when the light dims and the evening gloom settles you will find yourself peering into dark shadows.....as, like Mercy, you never know what waits for you there.
Katherine Clements is a critically acclaimed novelist, self-confessed costume drama addict and current Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Manchester.
She is editor of Historia, the online magazine of the Historical Writers' Association, and is a member of the HWA committee and The Prime Writers. The Coffin Path is her third novel.