I am so delighted to share my review for The Wheelwrights Daughter by Eleanor Porter. My huge thanks to Rachel for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.
Let me show you what it’s about…
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.
This is a wonderful historical fiction story that is set in latter half of the 1500’s during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This is an era of history that is rife with witchcraft accusations and the deaths of people who are seen to be practising the devil’s work.
The author has created a tale around Martha, the daughter of a village wheelwright in Herefordshire. Her mother is dead and there are rumours around surrounding her and also of her death. Martha is a young woman who is a Christian and she also makes up poultices and uses plants for their natural healing properties. While things are good then she is of use, but when things start happening suddenly the tables turn and fingers point leaving Martha to become the villagers scapegoat.
The finger of blame is supported by a hellfire and brimstone vicar, he is supposedly a man of faith but he really is an odious character. While he preaches the word of God he is also using faith as a game of politics to curry favour with those higher up the ladder than himself.
This is a wonderfully written story and I loved the way the author worked it. The contrasts of opinions and how they are formed without being based on facts are good, essentially if a person takes offence at a comment or a look then accusations can be made.
This has some good research behind it and it has all the right feels to it. The only problem… there is a bit of a cliffhanger…arrgghhhh I
want need to know what happens next, so I will be keeping my beady eye out for the next book.
This is a good read and it has a slower pace that fits the time, there is a good amount of drama and I love the dynamics between the characters and the over-riding fear that comes out in their blaming and suspicions. A book I would recommend to readers who like historical fiction novels.
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.
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