Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund {book review}

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

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund {book review}



In the sixteenth 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.  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 the threat on Luther’s life a constant strain, these unlikely allies forge an unexpected bond of understanding, support, and love.

Together they will alter the religious landscape forever.


This is my first read of this author, therefore I am unable to compare this book to others which she has written.

Joy Hedlund is a first-rate author, if this book is any indication of her writing skills.  In Luther and Katharina the author superbly pulls a multiple of seemingly detached elements together by the closing chapter.  If you love a story filled with action, suspense, romance, and faith, you will love Luther and Katharina, the book and the characters.

I give this book four stars, and here’s why…

The first chapter hooked me into the story right away.  No dry historical facts to get the reader oriented.  Plenty of action and character.  That being said, I didn’t care for the first 200 pages of the book, which I will explain later.

Don’t let the list of characters at the front of the book scare you.  The author develops each of the numerous characters to stand out from the others.  This is not one of those books where the characters run together.

I’m not sure how many actual quotes the author worked into the story, but this one on page 125 stood out to me as being quotable:

Now that the light of truth, so long suppressed by the pope and his followers, has begun to shine brightly again, the tyranny of Rome and her followers has become visible.  Unless they reform, I too fear revolt is imminent.   —Luther to his friend Melanchthon

Here are my thoughts on the book prior to page 200:

I don’t like the book.  Where’s the hope and joy of Christ?  Where’s the Scripture?  Where is the prayer between the redeemed one and his God?  Where’s the faith?

Answer:  The author showed us Martin’s and Katharina’s faith through the unfolding story.

I also wrote:

The book is all circumstance, mostly dark, evil.  Maybe it reflects reality, but to me it’s not good fiction.  It is, after all, a work of fiction, not a biographical work.

A hundred pages later I wrote:

Book is getting good, after 200 pages, after a certain (no spoilers) event in Katharina’s life.

All the questions I asked earlier about Luther were answered in the second half of the book.

What a story, right to the last few pages.  A little dramatic (not historic).

She’s a good author though the book is more heavy on romance than I like, though tastefully done, I prefer not reading the romance.  Conversely those not so keen on historicals will enjoy reading the romance.

As a whole, and this book must be taken as a whole, Luther and Katharina is excellent.  There’s way too much drama at the end, so that even I predicted correctly (no spoilers).

Martin Luther is such an important figure in Christian history.  This book has brought him down to human size for this reader, and given him a wife about whom I knew nothing before reading this, their story.

Thank you, Jody, for bringing these historical characters, not just Luther and Katharina, but all of them, to life for your readers.  And praise be to God Almighty for preserving His World through His servants!

JodyHedlundphotoJody Hedlund is the bestselling author of nine novels, including Captured By Love, Rebellious Heart, and A Noble Groom, winner of the 2014 Carol Award and INSPYs Award. She received a bachelor’s from Taylor University and a master’s from University of Wisconsin, both in social work. Currently she makes her home in Midland, Michigan, with her husband and five busy children.

The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

My rating:  four stars

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Vessels for the Master’s Use {314/612}


January 19

Daily Proverb

 It is nothing, it is nothing, saith the buyer;

but when he is gone his way, then he boasteth.

Proverbs 20:14


Daily Bible Reading:

1 Samuel 10

Psalm 7



Inspiring Hymns #314

We May Not Climb

We may not climb the heav’nly steeps to bring the Lord Christ down;   In vain we search the lowest deeps, for Him no depths can drown.

But warm, sweet, tender, even yet a present help is He;  And faith has still its Olivet, and love its Galilee.

The healing of HIs seamless dress is by our beds of pain;  We touch Him in life’s throng and press, and we are whole again.

Thro’ Him the first fond prayers are said our lips of childhood frame, The last low whispers of our dead are burdened with His name.

O Lord and master of us all!  Whatever our name or sign, We own Thy sway, we hear Thy call, we test our lives by Thine.  Amen.

Words:  John G. Whittier

Music:  W. V. Wallace

Copyright 1951

Singspiration, Inc.