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The Coffin Path

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,742 ratings  ·  304 reviews
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
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by Headline Review
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Rebecca *(book keeper )* I would hazard a guess the author has some farming experience, or at least researched the topic well, as right from the off the delivery of a newborn …moreI would hazard a guess the author has some farming experience, or at least researched the topic well, as right from the off the delivery of a newborn lamb is given in gory detail... (less)

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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 ...more
Bex (Beckie Bookworm)
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So the Coffin Path 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.
This book tells the story of Mercy Booth who lives at Scarcross Hall with her father and an old servant named 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.

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Stories Abound about the evil that resides up here but Mercy isn't afraid sh
Nov 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy-horror
‘The fells are scattered with decaying remains of the past’

This is my second attempt at finding a spooky read this autumn and it is much better than my first!
Set in 1674 this is a well written book set in the aftermath of the English Civil War. It is based around a true event of a massacre in the town of Bolton.
It is deeply atmospheric, with wonderful descriptions of the desolate Yorkshire moorland and the hard way of life for the people who live there. On the horizon are the stark upright fig
Set in a 17th-century sheep-farming community against the harsh backdrop of the Yorkshire moors, The Coffin Path felt like a book I could sink into and just savour 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
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ghost-stories
Billed as an atmospheric and chilling ghost story. This is set in the Yorkshire Moors, very much Bronte country. The descriptions of the terrain and weather are well written and capture the barren bleakness and danger of the moors. Clements employs some of the standard tropes of the genre: locked rooms with noises coming from within, family secrets, a cursed location, isolation, suspicion, treacherous landscape, ancient standing stones, a previous tragedy and lots of sheep (well it is on the moo ...more
THE COFFIN PATH, by Katherine Clements is a book I honestly struggled to finish. It wasn't that the style was bad, or anything fundamental such as that. The story DID have a lot of atmosphere going for it, and it may have worked if not for a few factors.

First, the repetition on the sheep farming: scents, wool, flies, finding sheep, watching sheep, birthing sheep.... One mention would have been good to establish the scene and working environment, but hundreds (or what felt like) pages of the same
Dannii Elle
The Yorkshire moors are a brooding and forbidding place. For the seventeenth-century farmers of Scarcross Hall the whims of the weather and the lay of the land can herald either a year of wealth or one of misery, according to how it treats their sheep. It is a threat far closer to home that begs for their attention, however. It resides within the walls, stalks the upper hallways, and is half-glimpsed at in deep fog or impenetrable darkness. It has no name and cannot be pleaded with. It wants onl ...more
Lucy Banks
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received a free copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

A slow-burning, atmospheric novel, with plenty of mystery.

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
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.
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I will stay where I belong. I will never leave. Scarcross Hall is mine.

This is an evocative , atmospheric and gothic story where the Yorkshire Moors are the central character. Superstitions abound in the local community, ghosts of previous tenants, dead lambs, stolen objects, arson and accusations of witchery. A little slow in places but a good read. I liked the fact that the moors were so isolated that you start to feel the claustrophobia and pending doom mirrored through the elements and the s
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...
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was ok
Meh. Maybe I'm somewhat disappointed because it wasn't really what I was expecting. Whilst the writing flows and is often quite beautiful, I found this too hard going. There was plenty of atmosphere but no real sense of dread for me. And there are only so many descriptions of fleece-odours and tallow candles one can read. The ending is pretty gripping with it's twisty-turns but for me, it wasn't worth the effort of reading all that to get there.

I think this is something that would appear to a pa
Atmospheric and very spooky historical ghost story. A compelling read.

Joanna Smith
Oct 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘The Coffin Path’ is a genuinely eerie ghost story that cleverly combines gothic symbolism with history, the supernatural and and the mysterious. The landscape descriptions are so vividly portrayed the reader is immediately transported to another place and time. The characters are multifaceted and intriguing. The story is told from the viewpoint of the two unreliable narrators, Mercy and Ellis, whose narratives weave in perfectly with the culture of secrecy, suspicion, and superstition often fou ...more
Jackie Law
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was ok
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
Visit the locations in the novel

The Coffin Path

This made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end, my eyes pop right open, my mouth drop in 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
Abigail Bok
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am not in general a reader of horror fiction so I’m not the best person to evaluate this novel. But I think I do recognize good writing when I see it, and this book gripped me from the first page, with economical but evocative prose that dragged me right into the middle of its world.

It is the seventeenth century, some twenty years after England was riven by civil war, and although that conflict is off the page its traumas seem to echo in various of the older characters, in ways that don’t bec
Nov 12, 2018 rated it liked it
DNF:ed at 40%. It wasn't bad (and it wasn't great); the reason I chose to shelf it permanently is that it contains animal cruelty. ...more
Lyanna Faierie
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gothic
I just finished reading this, and I loved it! Spooky, historical, haunting-amazing! The characters seem to leap right off the covers.

Mercy Booth, the heroine, is clever and I admired her, but felt sorry for her, living in a world controlled by men, where your life could be destroyed.

Ellis Ferreby is mysterious, but his secrets are slowly revealed over the course of the story. The minor characters were great, and poor little Sam. Such a sad child.

The romance between Mercy and Ellis can be descri
Miriam Smith (A Mother’s Musings)
"The Coffin Path" is a seventeenth century ghost story and is written by critically acclaimed novelist Katherine Clements.
'Maybe you've heard tales of Scarcross Hall, the house on the old coffin path that winds from village to moor top. They say there's something up there, something evil.....'
Although hauntingly atmospheric and with dialogue very true to the era it's set in, I found it particularly slow going and though the writing is superb and very descriptive I just didn't find it as gripping
Aug 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
To paraphrase Michael Scott: I hate so much about the things this book chooses to be.

The Coffin Path should have fit right in nicely with my ongoing gothic novel obsession, but it really fell short of my expectations. For one, it was very slow going for about the first 85% of the novel. There were so many descriptions of the moors, and sheep farming, and the moors, and more sheep farming. Then something spooky would happen, and then back to sheep farming. Then something gross would happen with t
A solid historical ghost story that is actually a great Halloween read, should you be looking for one.

The plot of the Coffin Path is rock solid and has a few surprises up its sleeve but for me it was the writing that truly shines here. Without using overly flowery prose, Clements manages to paint a perfectly eerie and outright chilling atmosphere that will cling to my mind like a damp cloth long after the finer details of the plot will have gone from it. Sometimes it made me think of The Silent
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
I was underwhelmed with this, it didn't really live up to what I was expecting. There were a few spooky bits, lots of stuff about sheep, and a rather tedious story line. Not really what I would describe as "horror", which is how my library has it categorised. ...more
Pat Walsh
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Atmospheric, unsettling and beautifully written.
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always this review can also be found on my blog The tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and through bookbridgr in exchange for an honest review.

When it comes through your door
Unless you just want some more
I think you better call (ghostbusters)

Who ya gonna call? (ghostbusters)
Who ya gonna call? (ghostbusters)

Let’s be honest, it would have been remiss of me not to have used the Ghostbusters theme in a review f
Nov 02, 2022 rated it it was ok
Time taken to read - 5 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Headline review

Source - I think I bought it

Blurb from Goodreads

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 there's s
Mairead Hearne (
'One coin marks the first to go

A second bodes the fall

The third will seal a sinner’s fate

The Devil take them all’

The Coffin Path is the third novel from critically acclaimed novelist Katherine Clements. Just published by Headline, The Coffin Path is described as ‘an eerie and compelling seventeenth-century ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire Moors’

You’ll feel the shivers up your spine with this one!!

Read on for my thoughts…

The Coffin Path….even the name alone brings out the go
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 a
Blodeuedd Finland
17th century. The Moors. A house that is said to be haunted and a stone circle where witches and the devil play. I had no idea what to believe, but something was sure going on.

Mercy loves the land, her sheep, her life. She is content as it is. But her dad is loosing it and then things start to happen. Just as they have happened not everyone living there before them. All who have met violent ends.

She goes on with her life. It is lambing season, then it's shearing season, then the grass needs to b
Such an atmospheric book!
I really enjoyed the hauntingly beautiful descriptions of the moor and the building sense of dread as it becomes clear that everything is not well at Scarcross Hall.
It was creepy read and perfect for the spooky season, albeit a bit slow at times and it took me much longer than expected to finish it.
The ending though... It was strange and quite disturbing and a little unsatisfying, hence only four stars.

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Horror Aficionados : The Coffin Path - the ending (spoilers) 1 41 Jun 06, 2018 01:50AM  

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Katherine has a passion for history and a degree in the subject. Until recently she worked for a national examination board, where she led the development and launch of the UK's first A level in Creative Writing. She has enjoyed success with her short stories and won a Historical Short Story Competition sponsored by Jerwood in 2012. The Crimson Ribbon is her debut novel. ...more

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