By Jody Hedlund
Published by Waterbrook
386 Pages

Back Cover: 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.

REVIEW: Martin Luther made it possible for everyone to read the New Testament for themselves. I was raised in the Catholic Church and could relate to many of the feelings Katharina von Bora felt when she was set free from the law of the church when she and a few other nuns escaped the convent. I felt as she did when she could read scriptures for herself and let the Lord lead her heart not man.

Katharina remembers, “Her father had taken her away from her home when she’d been only five. For the first time in nineteen years, she was outside cloister walls. She took a deep breath of freedom, but along with the breath came a tremor of fear. An unknown world spread before her with its way of life so foreign to all that she knew.”

It was an eye opener to hear Martin Luther talk about Nuns and Priests.

A father told Martin, “I’ve sacrificed my daughters to God for a life of service and worship. How could that be wrong?”

“Did you ask your daughters if they wanted to worship in such a way?...God wants worship that is given freely, not forced.”

“Where else will our daughters learn to sing the psalms, read and write, and speak Latin?”

“They will mostly learn that the church will use them to fulfill the lusts of the priests who oversee their souls.”

Soon after their escape Katharina’s eyes are opened to the corrupt ways of the Church. She learns woman were being abused. It all become too read when her unmarried maid servant showed up pregnant and she wouldn’t tell who the father was.

This made her rethink her actions, “Had she been wrong to lead her sisters away from the security and ease of their lives at Marienthron? There they always had plenty to eat, clean clothes to wear, every need met. They didn’t have to worry about anyone forcing them into a marriage with a man they didn’t love, a man who might mistreat them. But now with so few choices available, what would become of them?

I liked learning more about Martin Luther and his wife and the times in which they lived. The author says in Author Notes, “I would like to be able to tell you that Martin Luther and Katharina never faced any more hardships together. But the pages of their twenty-plus years of marriage are riddled with one difficulty after another…” She goes on to describe their hardships then goes on to mention that most of what she talks about in the book is true. She touches on a few things I thought were fun to know.

There are thirteen discussion questions to help your book club discussion along. This is an interesting read and one that would work well for a book club pick.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Jody Hedlund is an award-winning and bestselling author of inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

As a busy mama-writer, she has the wonderful privilege of teaching her crew of 5 children at home. In between grading math papers and giving spelling tests, she occasionally does a load of laundry and washes dishes. When she's not busy being a mama, you can find her in front of her laptop working on another of her page-turning stories.

She loves reading almost as much as she loves writing, especially when it also involves chocolate and coffee.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins!
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