Book Beginnings and Friday 56: The Coffin Path

friday bb

I am excited to join in with two book blog memes today. The first is Book Beginnings on Fridays, hosted by Rose City Reader, who asks bloggers to: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.’

The novel I am reading is The Coffin Path by Katherine Clements, an ebook from NetGalley that is not due to be published until February 2018. I suppose this means that the text I am quoting may be subject to revision in the run-up to publication. This is how my proof copy begins:

I was born with blood on my hands. I killed my mother on the 22nd of August, in the year 1642, the day the first King Charles turned traitor and chose a battlefield over a throne. She was not murdered by musket shot or slaughtered by steel blade, as were so many during those years of war. Hers was a woman’s fate. She died in blood – the blood that bore me in on its tide.

This is a very strong, melodramatic start. Our narrator in very few words has let the reader know that we are in seventeenth century England, and that she (or he, for all we know at this stage) is a ‘Roundhead’ or Parliamentarian opposed to the king. The word blood has been used three times, alongside the verbs killed, murdered, slaughtered and died – it looks as though this is no book for the faint-hearted!

Friday 56

Turning to the second meme, Friday 56 hosted by Freda’s Voice, the rules are: ‘Grab a book, any book. Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader. (If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)  Find any sentence (or few, just don’t spoil it). Post it.’

Going to 56%, which is further than I have read so far, the book has taken a scary, sinister turn:

My lungs begin to ache and a breath shudders out of me. There’s a sudden bluster at the window as the wind drives rain against the panes. In my fear, it seems again that someone whispers my name. The footsteps move closer, along the side of the bed, so that the thing, whatever spirit this is, comes level with my face. It stops. I squeeze my eyes tight shut. I hear the rasp of ragged breath – perhaps my own, I cannot tell.

Oh. This sounds terrifying – and both excerpts seem to match the book title and book cover shown above only too well: spooky, bleak, echoes of Wuthering Heights… I don’t think I’ll be reading The Coffin Path: A Ghost Story after dark!

What do you think of these quotes? Would you be interested in reading The Coffin Path or are these excerpts alone enough to have you running away screaming? I am looking forward to reading the rest of this ghost story, and I will post a review close to the publication date.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this – have a good weekend!



  1. This definitely seems like it could be quite an intense and scary read! I like your close analysis of the beginning, it really does reveal a lot about the book. And I like how neither of the quotes tell us whether the protagonist is male or female, I’m so intrigued now! Thanks for sharing and I hope you have an amazing weekend!
    My Friday post
    Juli @  A Universe in Words

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thanks for getting in touch! I feel I’m in the hands of a great storyteller if they are able to give so much information clearly and arrestingly in a short opening paragraph – but I suspect it’s going to be far too terrifying to be a bedtime read! I’m now going to hop over to your blog to have a look at your Friday post.


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