Friday, August 14, 2015

"Luther and Katharina" by Jody Hedlund - a unique perspective on the Reformer and his Wife the great heroes of Protestantism, Martin Luther is one of the most well-known. But have you ever heard of his wife?

Katharina von Bora has spent all but five years of her life in Abbey and knows nothing but being a nun, until some of Martin Luther's tracts on reformation are smuggled inside. Suddenly, her desires for life have changed, and she, along with a number of other young nuns, flee the abbey and pray to escape the harsh Abbot that rules it. Martin Luther himself takes them in, at least until they can be married or returned to their families. However, in spite of their squabbles and differences, a strange attraction forms between the aristocratic Katharina and the penniless priest Martin Luther . . .

I really enjoyed the author's return to novels based off of real love stories--in this case Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora. There's something about knowing that so much of the story--especially the odd and shocking things--really happened that particularly appeals to me, as a lover of both history and novels.  It's also encouraging to read about what real people faced in pursuit of love, and to know that God's hand was (and is) present, working things to our good.

Though the medieval period is not my favorite historical period, this book captured the culture and religious and political upheaval in such a way as to completely hold my attention and make it quite enjoyable. With this author, I trust historical details to be accurate, but there were some surprises for me. It reveals just how corrupt the church had become and why reformation was imperative. The marriage customs were shocking. Physical consummation immediately following the engagement weeks before the wedding? With a witness in the room?! Gah! It definitely goes against my conservative upbringing and prudish nature, but thankfully the author portrays such things tastefully, and they did not detract from the story.

I don't think that Martin Luther would ever be the man for me, but he and Katharina certainly make fireworks together with their strong personalities. Both are portrayed well. Even though Katharina grew up a nun, she still maintained her class and status within the Abbey walls, so her pride and sense of class superiority fit her character. Luther, though a hero of Protestantism, is not glorified, but rather his imperfections are made pretty clear. For a man who lives on and fights through words, he can truly put his foot in his mouth.

I highly enjoyed this glimpse into the personal life and romance of Luther and his wife; it offers a different perspective on the man, and more importantly, introduces us to the remarkable woman he married. It is also the winner of the 2016 Christy Award for best Historical Romance.

Thank you Blogging for Books for providing a free book in exchange for a review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

More Info from the publisher on the book.

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