Katharina: Deliverance

Written by Margaret Skea
Review by Clare Lehovsky

This is an engrossing tale about the life of Katharina von Bora, the wife of Martin Luther, the controversial priest who defied the authority of the Catholic Church and sought to reform Christian religious practice as his contemporaries knew it. We begin with five-year-old Katharina, who is thrust mercilessly into a convent because of her father’s remarriage. From the start, Skea encourages sympathy for Katharina as she quickly learns to adapt from being an energetic young girl to a woman aware of the changing religious scene of Germany and beyond, begun by Martin Luther’s act of nailing his 95 theses in Wittenberg. With an effective plot that focuses on the personal rather than hard facts, the author takes us through the religious events catalysed in Wittenberg with a quick pace, all the while keeping us grounded in Katharina’s thoughts and emotions. Her other characters, both fictional and real, are presented with sensitivity and are the results of clearly meticulous research. This novel brings the German Reformation to life in both an exciting and different way, as we experience the town of Wittenberg and its people, who are struggling to cope with these religious changes that will impact the rest of the world, for ourselves.