AN author from Malvern is celebrating after her first novel was published.

Eleanor Porter, has had her first book, The Wheelwright’s Daughter, published earlier this month. The book tells the story of Martha, a headstrong and articulate young woman, living in Marcle Ridge in the 16th Century.

With no mother, Martha’s days are spent running the household, minding her father, the local wheelwright, and helping out at the local school.

As an educated woman well versed in herbal remedies, she is regularly suspected of being a witch, and longs to escape the confines of a community driven by religious bigotry and poverty.

One day, a landslip occurs, opening a huge chasm in the centre of the village, destroying the chapel and leaving devastating injuries in its wake.

Martha is blamed for it and pursued by the villagers, forced to flee to escape the fate of a witch.

Speaking about the book, she said: “It is really exciting. I have been writing it for a long time and thinking about it for even longer.

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"It is a shame we couldn’t do more launch events but I have had some really lovely reviews so far.”

Mrs Porter said she was inspired to come up with Martha’s story having been shown the site of a landslip known as The Wonder, which occurred near Ledbury in 1571.

The sight of a yew tree still standing inspired the theme of the book.

She added: “I am very lucky to teach that era of literature and I also read a brilliant book about Herefordshire folklore during that time, which was fascinating and dangerous.

"At that time, the Reformation was still in living memory so there was a very real sense of changing beliefs and customs.

"I have got plans for more books. There will hopefully be another coming out around this time next year and will follow on very much from Martha’s story.”

For more information about the book, go to: