An author from the Midlands has joined some of the literary greats by scooping a top award for her first novel.

Katherine Davies joined previous winners such as Joanna Trollope and Rosamunde Pilcher in winning the Romantic Novel of the Year Award with her debut book A Good Voyage.

The 36-year old former teacher, from Oswestry in Shropshire, said: "I am absolutely thrilled to have won. I really wasn't expecting it at all. Just to be shortlisted was fantastic, but to win is a real shock."

Published by Chatto & Windus, the " tragiccomedy of requited love and misunderstanding" was selected from a list of six, which included Whitbread and Orange Prize winner Andrea Levy.

Loosely based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, Mrs Davies wrote the book as part of a creative writing MA at Middlesex University.

"Shakespeare is the best romantic writer in history and so I suppose that is what infused my book with romantic qualities," she said. "I didn't set out to write a romantic novel but that is the way it turned out."