Can she save herself from a witch’s fate?
Martha is a feisty and articulate young woman, the daughter of a wheelwright, living in a Herefordshire village in Elizabethan England. With no mother Martha’s life is spent running her father’s meagre household and helping out at the local school whilst longing to escape the confines and small-mindedness of a community driven by religious bigotry and poverty.
As she is able to read and is well-versed in herbal remedies she is suspected of being a witch. When a landslip occurs – opening up a huge chasm in the centre of the village – she is blamed for it and pursued remorselessly by the villagers.
But can her own wits and the love of local stablehand Jacob save her from a witch’s persecution and death…
A brilliant and accomplished novel that perfectly captures the febrile atmosphere of Elizabethan village life in an age when suspicion and superstition were rife. Perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.
The Wheelwright’s Daughter is available in ebook and paperback now. You can purchase your copy using the link below.
I’m a huge fan of books about witchcraft so you can imagine how much this book appealed to me. I especially liked that this book was set in a village near to where I live as I felt I could picture the setting of this story.
The historical details in this book was superb and I felt fully transported back to the 16th Century with all the little details about village life. I particularly liked the descriptions of the seasonal celebrations as I hadn’t heard of them before.
Martha was a fantastic main character who I warmed to instantly. She’s definitely ahead of her time being headstrong and independent in a time when women weren’t expected to be. It must have been very difficult to be a single women at the time, particularly if you happened to be good at herbal medicine. The amount of superstition over magic and witchcraft was amazing and made me wonder how on earth people could believe in that stuff. The church helped fuel these superstitions to gain power and help keep people fearful, which makes the priest in this book not a very likeable character. There’s something evil about him and I found myself hoping he would meet a sticky end somehow.
Overall I thought this was a very interesting read which was an impressive debut novel. The ending was interesting as the author leaves it open for the reader to draw their own conclusions. I’m hopeful that this means there is a sequel planned.
Huge thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me onto the blog tour and for my copy of this book.
About The Author:
Ellie grew up in Herefordshire and now lives near the Malvern Hills. She’s taught in Hong Kong, London and Birmingham and published poetry and short fiction. Her forthcoming novel THE WHEELWRIGHT’S DAUGHTER grew out of walks on Marcle Ridge where a 1571 landslip is still visible and marked on the map as The Wonder. The book tells the story of a world torn by division, where new beliefs jostle with tradition, where to be different can cost you your life. It introduces Martha Dynely, who refuses to be crushed, even when the horizon crumbles and buries her.
Photo: Mike Woods