Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion
Germany, 16th century. Set against the backdrop of Martin Luther’s Protestant reformation of the Catholic Church, popular Christian/romance author Jody Hedlund’s story focuses on the stormy and passionate love shared by former Augustinian monk Martinus Luther and a young woman of noble birth, Katharina von Bora. Entered into the convent by her father when she is just five, Katharina is deeply moved by Luther’s teachings regarding the importance of marriage and raising a family rather than living a cloistered life. Thus, one spring day in 1523, she escapes the convent walls, taking several other nuns with her.
While strongly attracted to Luther, Katharina is determined to make a wealthy, noble marriage—her birthright, she believes. Soon, however, reality sets in: Katharina is 26 and perhaps not as fine a catch as she once was. Also, many ex-monks already have found wives. Meanwhile, Luther, who is wildly attracted to her, clings to his decision never to marry: he has been excommunicated, and his teachings have made him a target for assassination. He does not want to put Katharina or anyone else in mortal danger due to their association with him.
This is a romance novel with much of the historical detail off-stage. We learn of the dangerous political machinations swirling around Martin Luther and his supporters (including Katharina) primarily in conversations between the preacher, his cohorts, and Katharina herself. The cat-and-mouse (with the immensely likable Katharina as the cat) romance is lively and engaging. Readers interested in the Reformation and Martin Luther’s teachings in depth likely will be inspired to seek additional information about him and Katharina both. Recommended.