Author: Jody Hedlund
Source: Author (Publisher) Provided
Publication Date: 2015
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Genre: Fiction; Historical (Biography), Romance
Review: I’ve never been what someone would call an avid reader of historical events or figures. Any kind of historical “biography” type story kind of scares me off. Those I do experience are exclusive to the silver screen, which we all know is often skewed to suit entertainment purposes. That is also where anything I know about Martin Luther really came from as I vaguely remember watching the film starring Joseph Fiennes in the role of Luther. When I learned Jody Hedlund was tackling the iconic figure, I confess my reaction was one of neutrality. However, it’s safe to posit I have a different opinion now I’ve actually read this nearly 400-page tome…
As I’ve already suggested, the story is about reformer Martin Luther. But Katharina, the women who would later become his wife, also enjoys a primary role in the story as it switches off perspectives between the two. The book covers Katharina’s escape from the convent (inspired by Luther’s writings to do so – God doesn’t require such a sacrifice and instead advocates marriage); Luther’s fits with illness and battles he fought for the right to freely worship God; their relationship as well as intertwining fictional story threads, to add more layers to an already complex novel.
What a life Martin Luther lived. In coming to the end of this book, I don’t think a person can have any other reaction save that. His crusade to do right by God his conscious and what he believed was incredible. Nearly every move he made was met with opposition, sometimes even within his counsel. It’s his persistence and belief in what he cannot see that sets him up as being a person to admire. We should all strive to be as bold as he was. He never wavered no matter how bleak, and was as trustworthy as is the gospel he tried to ensure people came to know. Whatever you feel about this historical figure, I admire how noble he was in pursuing faith.
The surprising thing about this novel was how romantic it is. True it’s not ideally romantic in the same way as Jody’s historical romance novels (Bethany House) are, but it’s definitely more so than I anticipated. The story is as much Katharina’s as it is Martin’s. They each have separate things to work through emotionally and survive (including illness, kidnappings and general persecution), but the sparks they send off as a romantic duo is really, quite intriguing. Their marriage begins amid one too many misunderstandings and yet, beautifully, they still find a way to each other. In any fictional rendering, there is of course bound to be some creative license taken, but I feel confident Jody did her research on this one and did her utmost to ensure accuracy of historical timelines while still crafting an interesting novel that would appeal to fiction aficionados. With that in mind, Luther and Katharina is a delightful story of romance, tragedy and perseverance we can all learn something from.
Synopsis: Katharina von Bora has seen nothing but the inside of cloister walls since she was five. In a daring escape, Katharina finds refuge with Martin Luther and seeks his help to pair her with the noble, wealthy husband she desires.
As class tensions and religious conflicts escalate toward the brink of war, Martin Luther believes that each day could be his last and determines he will never take a wife.
As the horrors of the bloody Peasant War break out around them, the proud Katharina and headstrong Martin Luther fight their own battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history. – Goodreads
Coming Next from Jody Hedlund, Undaunted Hope: Tessa Taylor arrives in 1870s Upper Peninsula, Michigan, planning to serve as a new teacher to the town. Much to her dismay, however, she immediately learns that there was a mistake, that the town had requested a male teacher. Percival Updegraff, superintendent and chief mine clerk, says she can stay through winter since they won’t be able to locate a new teacher before then, and Tessa can’t help but say she is in his debt. Little does she know that Percival will indeed keep track of all that she owes him.
Determined to become indispensable, Tessa throws herself into teaching, and soon the children of the widowed lighthouse keeper have decided she’s the right match for their grieving father. Their uncle and assistant light keeper, Alex Bjorklund, has his own feelings for Tessa. As the two brothers begin competing for her hand, Tessa increasingly feels that someone is tracking her every move, and she may not be able to escape the trap that has been laid for her.- Goodreads, add it January 2016
Sincere thanks to the author, Jody and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes.