The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements

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The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements

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Category: Literary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A richly dark gothic tale that transports the reader to lonely, isolated moors and thrills them with unsettling mysteries and a complex lead character.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: February 2018
Publisher: Headline Review
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1472204271

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Maybe you've heard about Scarcross Hall? Hidden on the old coffin path that winds from the village to the moor top, the villagers only speak of it in hushed tones - of how it's a foreboding place filled with evil. Mercy Booth has lived there since birth, and she's always loved the grand house and its isolation, but a recurrence of strange events begins to unsettle her. From objects disappearing through to a shadowy presence sensed in the house, mysteries come to light that can only be solved by Mercy unearthing long-buried secrets. And will a dark stranger help Mercy protect everything she has come to love or tear it from her grasp?

Katherine Clements is a historical novelist and short story writer, known for 2014's The Crimson Ribbon and 2015's The Silvered Heart. She's also the editor of Historia - the online magazine of the Historical Writer's Association. I read The Silvered Heart in 2015 and fell hard for it - a beautifully wild and stormy love story with compelling characters and a heart-stoppingly romantic climax set amongst the English Civil War. In The Coffin Path she moves forward in time by some decades, to a country still ravaged by the aftermath of the Civil War, and to a house on the wild and stormy moors.

Both The Crimson Ribbon and The Silvered Heart were had a strong sense of adventure at the heart of them - following independent women who, through misadventure, found themselves in dangerous yet thrilling situations. In The Coffin Path, Katherine Clements has created another strong, readable and immensely impressive lead character in the shape of Mercy Booth - but this is a tale that skips the adventure and instead jumps headfirst into the gothic - delving the reader deep into a dark and dangerous landscape full of beautifully written horrors.

Reading like an unlikely love-child of the Bronte sisters and Daphne Du Maurier, Clements has created a rich world in which to wreak havoc on her characters - descriptive language swiftly transporting the reader to a house that feels intensely familiar after finishing the book, so vividly does Clements bring it to life. Characterisation is a strong point of the author's too, and the small cast of The Coffin's Path are brought to life with such skill that I felt part of their world almost instantly - an engrossing and rather scary place to be given the events of the plot. There's also a marvellously feminist bent to the proceedings here - Mercy is a strong, independent and driven woman with little respect for the confines that society placed on women at the time, and her struggles to be respected as an unmarried woman and a businesswoman are both remarkably relevant and refreshing to read in a historical fiction novel.

All of the elements combine to form a read that's as skilful as it is chilling - and race towards a climax that quickens the pulse and stays with the reader long, long after they've left the stormy moors that surround Scarcross Hall. Many thanks to the publisher, and for further reading, I heartily recommend The Silvered Heart - another engrossing tale by Clements that transports the reader to a dark and dangerous place.

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Buy The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements at


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