• Publication date: 8 Feb 2018
• Publisher: Review
An eerie and compelling ghost story set on the dark wilds of the Yorkshire moors. For fans of The Witchfinder’s Sister or The Silent Companions, this gothic tale will weave its way into your imagination and chill you to the bone.
‘Spine-tingling… the scariest ghost story I have read in a long time’ Barbara Erskine
‘Brooding and full of creeping menace’ Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions
‘Like something from Emily Bronte’s nightmares’ Andrew Taylor, author of The Ashes of London
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.
Many thanks to Headline books for my ARC copy
My Thoughts & Review
As ghost stories go, this one was certainly as creepy as described. Very creepy in fact. I read this leading up to the Christmas period which was an ideal time to read this suitably chilling Gothic tale.
The novel is set post English Civil War, up in the Yorkshire Moors, at Shawcross Hall an old house with a sheep farming estate spread out across the Moors. Wuthering Heights came to mind more than once.
The occupants of the house live a hard scrap harsh existence. The house itself is full of dark nooks and crannies, unexplained noises and positively eerie goings-on that made my hair stand on end at times.
Mercy Booth the daughter of the house, is a strong female character. Her father is incapacitated with worsening dementia. Trying to run the household and manage the livestock on her own she takes on the mysterious Ellis Ferreby, a travelling journeyman with secrets of his own.
The historical elements of witch hunting, folk-lore and the poverty of the locals from that time period were explored in an interesting and educational way.
I would like to have seen a few loose ends tied up if I’m honest. I felt that some of them were left a bit up in the air but imagination can be a powerful thing and my mind gave me some possible solutions, which may have been the intention of the author.
All in all a powerful, well written, broody atmospheric tale that kept me hooked in and reading until the last page.
Hard to review without giving away the whole story, but it’s a book that is well worth reading.
About The Author
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.