When I picked up “Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion” by Jody Hedlund, I knew nothing about the life of Martin Luther. Oh yeah, I knew he nailed his thesis to the door and left the Catholic Church to preach “the just shall live by faith,” but any other details about his life and ministry were alien to me. In fact, before this book, I never even knew he had a wife. (Maybe I shouldn’t admit that! LOL!) So, knowing the author had a talent for taking real stories and retelling them through fiction, I dove in. (I’ve also read “The Preacher’s Bride,” which is loosely based off of the story of John Bunyan and his wife. Great book, btw!)
I was surprised to learn that Martin Luther had some very eccentric ways and was sickly a lot of times. I also didn’t know that the church had tried to assassinate him several times! Yet, for all the heroic deeds we applaud Luther of, there were many times I thought, wow, he’s a real jerk, and had to remind myself that no one is perfect. Then there was Katharina – both brave and gullible, I grew to love the role she played in rescuing fellow nuns and supporting Luther through very rough times. But the thing that amazed me the most was when I reached the “Author’s Note” in the back and found out that most of the novel had been built around facts that were true about the couple and what they did. It was almost like reading a biographical novel!
Conclusion: I really enjoyed this book! It taught me a lot about church history and the people who supported Luther and of course, those who were against him. The author did a great job with the characters and setting, something that I always pay attention to when reading. No one can accuse these characters of being less than multi-dimensional! I also appreciated that the author tried to keep their story as true to fact as she could – something I’m sure wasn’t easy, but very neat. After reading this book, I would love to learn even more about these two people who changed church history forever!