She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.
In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.
I’ve always enjoyed the Reformation story and was tickled to read this book so close to its historic beginning, but what I never imagined was to have my eyes peeled wide open to the realities and dangers of such a bold movement.
Rating: It’s a 5-star book only because additional stars isn’t an option. Lol
What I loved: There’s so much to talk about here. As mentioned, I’ve always enjoyed hearing and teaching my kids about the brave stand of Martin Luther against centuries of lies. I knew it was dangerous, but unless you walk on a day to day level with these real people, you’re likely to water down the idea of what dangerous really meant. Jody Hedlund has done a wonderful job taking the reader back in time to a place and era that few of us have looked into. It was amazing to see this real historic setting come to life for me for the first time. But what I was mostly struck by was gratitude to Christ for all the gifts that we take for granted today. I have a personal copy of the Bible and it’s not threatened. I can worship in truth. It was so sad to see how blinded people were by those that were meant to teach them truth but only taught lies instead. Every time I set the book down, I was left with a new appreciation for this amazing gift the Lord has granted our generation. And a new appreciation for the martyrs who died for it.
Aside from the rich history, I thoroughly enjoyed a love story that not only tugged on my heart stings but kept the pages turning.
What I didn’t like: There were a couple things that I had to adjust to in order to delve into this particular era. For starters, the beer. I can well imagine this was simply part of the culture, but as a dry Christian it was something that I had to learn to accept. Lol I’ve never read a book where the Christian characters drank beer. I know some readers will appreciate the warning, but it also needs to be said that at NO point was Martin Luther or any other Christian character seen drunk. But beer simply was the drink of the day much like tea would be at Jane Austen’s table.
Not having any real knowledge of the era or the setting, I wasn’t prepared for the dark story that sat within the pages. More sensitive readers may like to know that this isn’t your common marriage of convenience type of story. This real life setting is one of mass murder, torture, and rape, and these situations appear throughout the entire book. Having said that, Jody did an AMAZING job with these tough subjects. I’ve found very few authors that can bring the perfect balance between writing about the hard stuff without trying to shock their readers. Everything was tastefully done and in most cases, we were given an overview of the dark activity and not required to walk through it with the characters.
Who I’d recommend it to: I’d highly recommend this to anyone who loves a sweet love story wrapped in a strong, suspenseful setting. This story may be too strong for younger readers.
~I received a copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
2 thoughts on “Fiction Friday: Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund”
Thank you for breaking your review into the two parts. I have lived in Germany and Beer is still the beverage of choice. If I remember correctly from my college classes, people drank beer due to the fact it kept longer than fruit juices. Due to natural sugars in the fruit, the fruit juice would become fermented.
I have never read one of Judy Hedlund ‘ s books before. I do want to read this one.
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That’s interesting. I didn’t know that. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
This is the 2nd book I’ve read from her. She takes history really seriously and still manages to deliver a well-rounded story. She’s certainly an author to make time for.