In the year 1523, Martin Luther’s writings and reform are sweeping through Germany, and even seeping into the most regulated and protected monasteries and convents. When nun Katharina von Bora reads his words, she begins to dream of a life full of love, family and freedom outside the abbey walls. She and several fellow nuns escape the Marienthron convent, and eventually find themselves under the care of Martin Luther himself. As the other nuns gradually return to their families or marry, will Katharina be able to fully embrace Luther’s messages of freedom and equality and let go of her ingrained notions of wealth and nobility? Will Martin Luther finally learn to trust God’s plan for his life and the Reformation, and allow himself to love?
In this historical novel, Jody Hedlund excellently blends romantic fiction with compelling historical drama. She shows the reader just how corrupt the church of the 16th century had become, and how necessary the Reformation was. She also highlights the unique plight of women having virtually no control over their lives whether inside or outside abbey walls.
Both Katharina and Luther are complex, believable characters who struggle to find contentment and overcome their pride. While Hedlund clearly— though understandably— glosses over some of Martin Luther’s more controversial attitudes and tendencies (anti-semitism, foul language, etc.), she shows his passion, temper, and zeal for the Church. Similarly, the reader slowly sees Katharina’s pride break down as she learns to fully embrace Luther’s teachings, and the love he offers despite his lack of money or title.
A fascinating backdrop full of actual historical events, relatable characters, and a passionate love story make for an enjoyable and thought-provoking read.
I received a free copy of Luther and Katharina from Blogging for Books in exchange form my honest review.