Review published on October 17, 2017.
The Coffin Path is set in 1674 on the windswept hills of a sheep farm. Mercy Booth and her father live at Scarcross Hall, which was built on the Coffin Path leading from the moor to the village, and which is said to be cursed. A stranger arrives in the village seeking work and is taken on at Scarcross. At the same time, three ancient coins go missing from Farmer Booth’s collection, which is thought to denote the beginning of an unfolding of evil foretold in folklore.
The novel is so well written and so bleak that the reader can feel the cold and deprivation of this way of life. There are incidents of casual cruelty to both humans and animals, which are all too upsetting. The story descends into a tale of twisted and possessive passion with a shocking truth disclosed towards the end of the book. It is not an easy read and could in fact be described as disturbing, which is due entirely to the quality of storytelling by the author. This is a first rate read and one for reading groups as well – just don’t expect to enjoy it!
Ruth Ginarlis 5/5
The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements
Headline Review 9781472204271 hbk Feb 2018
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