I've been a fan of Jody Hedlund's books from the moment I read the first one. I've reviewed The Preacher's Bride and A Noble Groom here on the blog. She writes with that wonderful quality I love in historical fiction, one that combines the real history of the times with an enthralling story of the people involved.
Like the others I've reviewed previously, Luther and Katharina is a beautiful historical fiction story that accurately portrays the history during the time of the Reformation as it weaves the story of Martin Luther and Katharina, who becomes his bride. It's a story I've long been interested in. For one thing Katharina bears a name very similar to my first born- Kathryne. I also find their story fascinating because the pages of history often indicate that they had a passionate love for each other, an interesting fact when you consider they were once a monk and a nun.
From the book's description:
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.
Jody Hedlund has the ability to create well-developed, compelling characters. This is especially interesting when the story is about real historical characters. I felt as if I really came to know them throughout the book.
The story also gives a good picture of the historical times. I often have thought about the glamour of the time period- brave reformers standing against the Roman Catholic church and being willing to become martyrs. It's true that the reformers were very brave. But when I consider their lives and the danger that they lived with day in and day out, I can appreciate more their stand for their beliefs. I can also envision the violence of the times and the struggle that the true reformers had when it seemed they could find support from no quarter- not from the nobility that didn't want to anger and fall out of favor of the Church nor from the peasants who were angry and violent because of their mistreatment at the hands of the nobility and the church.
I love Luther and Katharina. It's a beautiful love story surrounding two important figures in the history of the Reformation. I give it 5 stars and a PG-13 for content (because of the violence of the times). You can find Luther and Katharina on Amazon here.
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