Sent by her impecunious father and hostile stepmother to a convent at age six, Katharina von Bora, whose noble family has seen better days, overcomes her considerable doubts and takes her vows when she reaches the appropriate age. But Katharina’s fellow nun, Girt, has a secret suitor, Hans, who begins to slip the writings of the religious reformer Martin Luther into the convent. Slowly, Katharina is drawn to the message they represent—and, once she and eleven of her fellow nuns escape the cloister, to the reformer himself. It is the young student Jerome Baumgartner, however, who becomes Katharina’s first suitor.
Although Pittman’s previous novels have been set in the United States, she feels quite at home in 16th-century Wittenberg. Her prose is engaging and her characters are well-drawn, reminding us that these towering religious figures were also human beings, with human foibles and human loves and losses. This novel should be of interest not only to readers of Christian fiction, but to readers of general historical fiction as well.