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Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and…
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Luther and Katharina: A Novel of Love and Rebellion

by Jody Hedlund

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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
I think to truly enjoy this book you either have to have not much knowledge of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora's life or you have to try to block out everything you know and try to enjoy the story. And, I couldn't do that. The reformation and Martin Luther were among my favorite subjects when I was studying theology and to read about Martin Katharina marriage like a love story just didn't work for me because their marriage were a marriage of convenience, not love. Martin Luther himself wrote that they didn't marry for love and that she wasn't even his first choice.

I liked the beginning of the book. Katharina and the other nuns escape from the cloister and everything about settling into a life outside the cloister. But my problem with the story grew as the story became more and more romantic. I can understand the need to invent happenings and new characters, but personally I just couldn't accept changing the very nature of Martin and Katharina's relationship. if this had been two other persons and not based on two real persons would this book been much better.

So, I would say that this book will enjoy those that can see past the truth, that can take the authors romanticisation of a marriage that without any doubt was more a marriage of convenience than a marriage of love. It was in no way badly written, I just couldn't enjoy reading something that for me feels wrong. I wish had liked it better because this was a book that I have wanted to read for a long time.

I received the book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Nov 2, 2017 |
I think to truly enjoy this book you either have to have not much knowledge of Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora's life or you have to try to block out everything you know and try to enjoy the story. And, I couldn't do that. The reformation and Martin Luther were among my favorite subjects when I was studying theology and to read about Martin Katharina marriage like a love story just didn't work for me because their marriage were a marriage of convenience, not love. Martin Luther himself wrote that they didn't marry for love and that she wasn't even his first choice.

I liked the beginning of the book. Katharina and the other nuns escape from the cloister and everything about settling into a life outside the cloister. But my problem with the story grew as the story became more and more romantic. I can understand the need to invent happenings and new characters, but personally I just couldn't accept changing the very nature of Martin and Katharina's relationship. if this had been two other persons and not based on two real persons would this book been much better.

So, I would say that this book will enjoy those that can see past the truth, that can take the authors romanticisation of a marriage that without any doubt was more a marriage of convenience than a marriage of love. It was in no way badly written, I just couldn't enjoy reading something that for me feels wrong. I wish had liked it better because this was a book that I have wanted to read for a long time.

I received the book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
I highly enjoyed this story of how Martin Luther and his wife, Katharina von Bora, met and became married. I found myself wanting to know more of the two of them, even when my least favorite trope (miscommunication) was used to further the story. I also enjoyed the fact that it wove romance, history, and religion together in a story that was both authentic and readable. I've studied several of Martin Luther's writings and I felt little jolts of excitement when I knew exactly what "An Admonition to Peace: A Reply to the Twelve Articles of the Peasants in Swabia" was. A great read about an important historical figure. ( )
  cbrwn92 | Nov 7, 2016 |
This was my fourth book by the popular author Jody Hedlund. I don’t know very much at all about Martin Luther, so last year I decided to request this book about him. It looked good, even if I would not be easily able to distinguish fact from fiction. This was plugged as being the first outright Historical Fiction work by this author (as opposed to her previous Historical Romances), but personally I did not notice a whole lot of difference.
There was still a very strong element of Romance and a lot of romancey scenes. I suppose the subtitle ‘A Novel of Love and Rebellion’ should have been a clue. For those who enjoy historical romance this would not be a problem, but those who expected something different might be disappointed.

I do believe that whilst Mrs Hedlund is a good storyteller, her stories are not always well executed. They tend to be very dependent on ‘dramatic devices’ such as violence, both physical and sexual and throwing every adverse circumstance possible at the characters. The Middle section of the book is like a constant round of killing or the mention of killing, kidnapping, rape or attempted rape. For example, the word ‘torture’ is used 9 times, ‘abuse’ 10 times. For a book of just under 400 pages, if you average it out, it’s like a mention of torture or abuse every 20 pages.
I understand there was a Peasant’s Revolt and a virtual war between the Princes and Peasants, but the book just seemed to get really, really repetitive at this point, with Luther agonizing about the actions of the peasants, but wanting to support them, and flitting back and forth in his sympathies and affliations.

Also, I found Luther to be an incredibly frustrating character. We are told numerous times that he was totally against violence, and would condemn the use of violence by either side. Yet he seemed to be constantly prepared to make excuses for the peasants saying ‘their demands have merit’, and harping on about ‘freedom’- even when they were going about raping nuns and disembowelling priests in the name of his reforms. Then, when the nobles supress the revolt, which he advised them to do, he condemned them for it, because they used violent means and he was meant to be the protector of the peasants. Protector of what? Murderers and rapists from the consequences of their actions?
Although my knowledge of this period is limited, a number of details struck me as rather modern. One was Luther’s outlook, particularly when it came to politics and the ‘freedom’. I almost wonder whether American authors seem to have some odd need to interpret everything in European history as some sort of ‘class war’ or in light of their revolution. There were a number of modern terms and phrases (I’m sure one of the characters said ‘gal’ at one point), and the way in which Katherina would occasionally whine about nobody having the right to ‘control her life’.

I also did not feel the treatment of the church was always entirely fair and accurate. I know the 16th century Catholic church was corrupt, I know the Reformation was needed, but the depiction just seemed to be taken to extremes. Thus the Abbott of the Abbey from which Katherina escapes was a sadist and a rapist. I mean how stereotypical can you get- the evil and immoral cleric? It’s also said that she and many of her fellows ‘had no choice’ or were forced by their families into the celibate vocation of being nuns. This detail in particular did not ring true, because whilst there were some people who were put into monasteries and nunneries as children, many people still chose to enter them or go into the church willingly.
Finally, there was absolutely no mention of the way that Luther went off the rails in his later years, and became not only an anti-Semite, but as oppressive as the system that had been thrown off.

Perhaps the author was simply unaware of this, but Luther seemed altogether rather too heroic and perfect, as well as the ideas he represented. It’s like as long as the lead character represents the ‘true gospel’ social equality and ‘freedom’ or Protestantism against the supposedly evil ‘system’ or ‘institutional religion’, then they and everything they stand for is all sweetness and light. Sadly, that’s not always the case in real life.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Blogging for Books for the purposes of leaving a review. I was not required to write a positive one and all opinions expressed are my own.
( )
  Medievalgirl | Oct 4, 2016 |
4.5 Stars

Jody Hedlund, where have you been all my life?! LOL I never thought I’d find a Christian author that I love as well as Elizabeth Camden, but find her I did. Jody has a way of blending realistic characters, dramatic historical storylines, and riveting romance with a Christian message that doesn’t overpower her non-Christian readers (me included). She does fall into a relationship trope but balanced against everything else and given the personalities of the leads, I can see where the trope might be justified.

Book’s best feature hands down: its leads and their relationship. I loved how the author made such an iconic figure as Martin Luther human and relatable to a modern audience. She still gives him his religious devotion to change and reform, his compassion and drive. Yet, she also makes him stubborn as a mule and sometimes to idealistic to see the world the way it truly was, a dreamer.

For as well-known as Martin Luther is, the fact that he was married probably isn’t known by your average person nowadays. Hedlund makes her as real as he; she has the same compassion and drive to help others escape untenable situations. However, she’s also VERY proud of her aristocratic background to the detriment of her relationships with both Luther and others in her life. To accompany that pride is a deep well of stubbornness to rival Luther’s.

Jody portrays their relationship realistically as well. It’s not a sterile one without chemistry between Martin and Katharina (think goodness ‘cause nothing kills a romance quicker!). There’s definite sexual tension and appreciation for the emotional and physical aspects of such a relationship. Yet, the Christian sensibilities of most of Jody’s reading public are respected as well. Actual sex encounters are not present, only implied. The author has struck a great balance between the two sides of this aspect.

The only hitch in the book occurs here, though. There were times when the stubbornness of both parties made them assume and miscommunicate. This was an ever occurring theme that got overplayed. Given their personalities, I can see this being a realistic relationship problem. Yet, for this tale and how the trope was used, it dragged down the narrative in places and just got tiresome rather than realistic.

As well as the main romantic tale, the author explores a rarely done part of history, that of the early years of the Protestant Reformation and the pangs of a new religious identity being born. Emotions are high, actions are volatile, and people are dying. The author explores the high tension of these years on both sides, Catholic and Protestant, as well as the class distinction of the era/location. I liked how she portrayed both sides of Christianity as very human, both had their zealots and their saints.

The Christian elements were handled fantastically. This work was definitely portrayed as a Christian work, no bones about that. Yet, the author doesn’t preach nor moralize at her audience. The lessons of too much price/stubbornness, taking life as it comes at you, and loving your partner as they are rather than how you wish them to be came through clearly but without hitting me over the head like a 2x4. Not too many Christian authors handle this part of writing as well as Hedlund and Camden do.

This work was a very pleasant introduction to this author and a great discovery. I got to explore some little known history, meet well-known (and lesser known) historical figures, and see a romance develop as it might have historically. Despite that one trope, this book ranks as a fantastic example of Christian historical fiction done right, where it appeals to a wider audience than just the Christian market. I’ll be reading Jody Hedlund again! ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Aug 31, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Hedlund crafts this story so masterfully; the reader loses all sense of the 21st century.

Behind every great man is an even greater woman or something like that as the cliché goes. In this case perhaps they were equally great as author Jody Hedlund brings these historical figures to the 21st century. Take a leap back in time to the 16th century as Martin Luther starts a rebellion against the corruption of the Church and falls in love as he said he would never do. Sometimes the heart will over-rule making an influential person even greater.

We are introduced to Katharina von Bora when she is 24 yeas old living in the Marienthron convent where her father traded her when she was only 5. Knowing no other way of life she awakens after hearing Luther’s rebellious words against the religious order she’s been oppressed in.

Katharina dreamt of a normal life with a marriage and children which is in direct opposition of the vows she took under duress to become a nun. The reader learns this was a common occurrence as fathers were indebted to the Roman church and would give over their daughters to release them from that debt or more horrifically as a way to buy their own entrance into heaven.

Katharina’s father is a knight down on his luck and low in funds, however he does have a title of nobility. Katharina clings to her noble status even in the convent and has to learn an important lesson of humility that she is not above others because of her name.

After an adventure of escaping the corrupt Abbot Baltazar, who runs the convent, Katharina’s dream just might come true. She finally meets the excommunicated Augustinian monk, Martin Luther who takes in the group of nuns Katharina has helped escape the servitude of the convent. Abbot Baltazar will stop at nothing to have his nuns returned and becomes a formidable adversary throughout the novel.

More to the story than just church corruption is the persecution Luther and his followers must endure as politics join the church in trying to suppress Luther and his rebellion. The Princes of Germany are entreated to extradite Luther into the hands of Roman authorities. Luther walks a fine line between keeping in the good graces of the Princes and teaching the peasants his rebellious message.

Author Jody Hedlund has taken the reader by the hand into a world so different than our modern day. This is more than a historical novel; it is a brilliant time travel machine to live beside Katharina and Luther; to feel the ebb and flow of their emotions; to feel their fears and triumphs. It is so much more than a historical romance; it is a piece in time brought to life today.

This truly is a wonderful work of fiction based upon historical figures with as much accuracy that the story would allow. Hedlund has worked her writing magic in bringing the lives of Luther and Katharina to readers today and we are so much the better for it. To learn what they went through began the steps to freedoms we have today and we should all be ever so grateful. A truly wonderful, uplifting story of passion and inspiration!

To learn more about author Jody Hedlund visit her website at: http://jodyhedlund.com

Or see her author page at the publisher’s website:
http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author...

FTC Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this title by Water brook publishing for review purposes only. No other compensation was awarded.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 160142762X, Paperback)

She was a nun of noble birth. He, a heretic, a reformer…an outlaw of the Holy Roman Empire.  

In the 16th century, nun Katharina von Bora’s fate fell no further than the Abbey. Until she read the writings of Martin Luther.
 
His sweeping Catholic church reformation—condemning a cloistered life and promoting the goodness of marriage—awakened her desire for everything she’d been forbidden. Including Martin Luther himself.
 
Despite the fact that the attraction and tension between them is undeniable, Luther holds fast to his convictions and remains isolated, refusing to risk anyone’s life but his own. And Katharina longs for love, but is strong-willed. She clings proudly to her class distinction, pining for nobility over the heart of a reformer. They couldn’t be more different.
 
But as the world comes tumbling down around them, and with Luther’s threatened life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support and love.
 
Together, they will alter the religious landscape forever.

(retrieved from Amazon Wed, 05 Aug 2015 20:30:17 -0400)

After reading the writings of Martin Luther, sixteenth-century nun Katharina von Bora is awakened to her attraction for the religious reformer, and in spite of their differences and convictions, she and Luther begin to form a profound bond.

» see all 2 descriptions

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