Thursday, September 17, 2015

Luther and Katharina

Title:  Luther and Katharina
Author:  Jody Hedlund
Pages:  387 (ARC)
Year:  2015
Publisher:  WaterBrook Press
This is a fictionalized account of the love story between Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora.  It begins in the years 1523 and takes place in Germany.  There is much political unrest due to the spread of Martin Luther’s beliefs that go against a lot of the prominent Catholic teachings of the time.  He has been excommunicated as he is a former monk, been branded a heretic and has been threatened with assassination.  He is a wanted criminal, but in his home town he is safe.  The peasants revere him as he has given them hope in a new way of seeing God.  He encourages people to read the Bible and pray for themselves and not to depend on a priest to do that.  He has encouraged monks and nuns to marry.  He has said he will never marry as his work for God would suffer.  In the story, the Catholic Church uses corporal punishment on those monks and nuns who leave for the “world”, but are subsequently hunted and caught by men employed by the Catholic Church.
Katharina von Bora is one of those nuns.  She was given to the Catholic Church as a young 5-year-old girl and has been living as a nun for nineteen years.  She is from a noble family and very set in her views as far as class separation is concerned.  She and other nuns have secretly been given Martin Luther’s writings and believe them, so they make a daring attempt to escape the convent.  She meets Martin Luther and they are like oil and water, arguing a lot.  Over time, they develop a grudging respect for one another with perhaps something more.
This is a wonderful love story full of passion, disappointment, heartache, love, newly discovered faith and much more.  I have always liked this author’s writing and really enjoyed taking a look at someone in history that I know very little about.  Both main characters are engaging and lifelike.  The dedication of Martin Luther is astounding!  I liked thinking of him though as very human too, with his anger, fear, insecurities and the easy teasing between Katharina and him.  This author really makes history come alive via fiction.
My rating is 5 stars.

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