A BORDERS author has managed to shed new light on the woman behind Reformation monk Martin Luther.

Award-winning Kelso writer Margaret Skea has released a compelling biography of Katharina von Bora.

Exactly 500 years ago her soon-to-be-husband nailed 95 theses to the door of his local church in the Saxon town of Wittenberg.

His grievances with the Catholic Church were to change the course of history.

And supporting Martin Luther through those early years of upheaval in the Christian Church was the influential, yet mysterious Katharina.

Margaret's research and writing project was supported by Grant-in-Aid funding through Creative Scotland’s Open Project Fund, allowing her to visit Saxony to carry out research into the life of her elusive subject.

The two-week, solo 1000-mile drive around the German Federal State allowed her to ‘find’ Katharina.

And on October 18 her book, Katharina: Deliverance, was released to coincide with the Luther 500 anniversary.

Margaret told us: “I was intrigued by the mystery surrounding Katharina.

"Documentary evidence is scant.

"There’s dispute over her birthplace, her parentage, the reasons for her incarceration in two successive convents, and why, 18 years later, she and 11 other nuns wrote to Luther to ask for his help to escape.

“Many of the, admittedly entertaining, legends that have grown up around Katharina cannot be substantiated.

"Learning what she did not do, was as important to me as learning what she did. I was able to sift truth from fiction and dispel some myths along the way.”

A German dramatisation of Luther's revolution, Reformation, is currently being broadcast on BBC 4.

And many other events have been held to mark the 500th anniversary in Germany and around the world.

But Margaret's biography is one of the few which focusses on Katharina.

Sasha de Buyl, literature officer at Creative Scotland, was pleased to support the research.

She said: “Enabling writers to undertake vital research and undertake dedicated writing time forms a core part of the support offered through Creative Scotland funding.

"We are pleased to have been able to support Margaret’s latest work, shedding light on one of history’s often overlooked women.”

Katharina: Deliverance is Margaret’s third book, following the prize-winning Turn of the Tide and its sequel A House Divided, both set in 16th century Scotland.

And this is her first attempt at biography.

Alec Ryrie, Professor of Church History at Durham University, said: “This is a wonderfully vivid portrait of how a headstrong girl grows into a wry, steely and impassioned woman, carves a path for herself through tumultuous times, and changes the course of history in the process.

"Skea knows her history, but more importantly, she writes with imagination and humanity.”