Luther and Katharina

Luther and KatharinaLuther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund
Genres: Historical Romance
Published by Waterbrook Press on October 6, 2015
Pages: 386
Also by this author: Love Unexpected, An Uncertain Choice, Hearts Made Whole, Undaunted Hope, A Daring Sacrifice, Newton and Polly

 

Since the age of five, Katharina von Bora has spent her life within the walls of a convent. In an act of daring, she, along with several other nuns, seek refuge with Martin Luther for both protection and his help in finding a husband of noble birth. As tensions among the classes and religious faction escalate to a dangerous degree, Martin Luther knows that each day could be his last, and he vows he will never marry. With the bloody peasant war looming, will proud Katharina and stubborn Martin unite as one, not just in the name of religious persecution, but in the name of love as well?

It goes without saying that I am always excited to read a Jody Hedlund novel. She is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, and a go-to for me when I want to read a story full of history and romance.

It goes without saying that I am always excited to read a Jody Hedlund novel. She is one of my favorite Christian fiction authors, and a go-to for me when I want to read a story full of history and romance. Her same trademark detail and romantic moments are here, yet there is something about this story that captivated me in a way that some of Jody’s previous novels did not. The plot is engrossing; once I started this story, it wasn’t one I could easily sit down for a long period of time. The heightened tension of that time in history is very evident throughout the story’s entirety.

The historical detail is exquisite. I loved the details about customs at the time, especially regarding betrothal and marriage. What seems strange now was quite commonplace then, and while it sort of jarred my modern sensibilities, I found it all fascinating. The ruthlessness of the times is very evident within this story as well; perhaps this, more than anything, sets this novel apart from her previous ones. There is a gritty nature to this story that drew me in from the start. It completely fits within the story’s context; the Reformation was a dangerous time, especially for Martin Luther and anyone who supported him. Jody doesn’t hesitate to portray these dangers accurately, and while some of the events that take place are heart-wrenching, they always feel realistic and true to the story. The world in general was a rougher, more precarious place, and it is especially so for these characters, who fly in the face of persecution for the Reformation.

Though Jody focused more heavily on the historical aspect of the story, fans of her romance, don’t fear.

Though Jody focused more heavily on the historical aspect of the story, fans of her romance, don’t fear. The romance between Luther and Katharina is passionate, based on both physical and emotional attraction, but they also challenged each other mentally and intellectually. I was actually surprised at the amount of romance in the story because for some reason, I had it in my mind that there would be less when compared to Jody’s previous books, but truly there wasn’t. While sometimes Martin and Katharina’s misunderstandings had me smacking my forehead in frustration, overall, I loved their bantering just as much as their stumbling, bumbling journey to love.

As individuals, both characters have nuances and complexity that make them fascinating to get to know. Katharina is a strange mix of humility and pride; humility because of the way she grew up in a convent as a nun, but pride because she remembers her noble birthright. Letting go of her nobility is one of Katharina’s biggest downfalls, and sometimes cause her to make choices that she thinks are the better thing to do. Martin Luther has both internal and external conflict against him; physical ailments hold him back from completing the work that he knows he is called to do, while his many enemies seek his demise. He is often torn between preserving his life in order to continue on with the work of the Reformation and doing the often dangerous, life-threatening tasks that propel it forward. Once these two characters meet, sparks fly, and I was fully engrossed in their interactions both as individuals and as a couple.

Since the story itself revolves around the Reformation, I wasn’t sure how the faith aspect would come across on the individual character level. There was no need to be worried though, because, as I mentioned above, while the Reformation provided the external conflict, their inner conflicts were rich and genuine as well. Martin doubted many times whether making this stand was the right thing to do and despaired when his actions caused harm to others. Katharina’s struggle with allowing God to transform how she saw herself and who she thought she could be is unique to her but also a universal struggle.

Luther and Katharina is definitely one of my favorites of Jody’s novels.

Jody presents details about the religious conflict in ways that appear organically throughout the story, whether through conversation or through the character’s own thoughts. Though I can’t say I know much about Martin Luther besides what I learned in school or watched on TV (thank you, History Channel!), I never felt lost in the details, nor overwhelmed with too much information. I felt informed while reading, which is always a bonus for me.

Luther and Katharina is definitely one of my favorites of Jody’s novels. While I suppose in some ways this was a departure from her previous novels, in that it is a bit heavier in historical detail, the decision to do so was a winning one indeed for this reader. Highly recommended for readers of her previous books and fans of historical fiction, especially stories based on real-life historical figures.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *