Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund [Review & Giveaway]

About the book: 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. - See more - CLICK HERE

My thoughts: Anyone who has read about or studied church history and the conflict between the established Catholic church and the emerging reformation movement realizes that this was a period of time fraught with peril to individuals on both sides. In Germany when Martin Luther nailed his 95 thesis to the door (1521 AD) the fires of revolution and uprising were lit. Luther's writings of pamphlets were secretly spread against edits of the Pope, the Emperor, and the ruling Princes.

Inside the monasteries and nunneries these writings were secretly read and kept hidden. To read or to possess such was cause for terrifyingly cruel punishments.

It is upon this scene that the story of Luther and Katharina opens. Katharina has led a cloistered life since being abandoned by her nobility family and left in the nunnery at the tender age of five. She has know nothing but peace,solitude, worship, prayer. She, being from the nobility, has received kindly treatment in the nunnery. However, rumors abound that this is not the case with the other nuns. As the book opens, 24 year old Katharina is ready to leap from the second story window under cloak of darkness with seven other nuns to escape and to follow the teachings of Martin Luther.

The common populace and the ruling class has little respect for nuns seeing them as loose women kept cloistered for the pleasure of the priests and monks. So this "reputation" follows these virtuous women as they escaped.

From the moment Luther and Katharina meet, they match wits and arguments. He calls her a hissing Katz, and she calls him Herr Doctor.

I found it interesting that as Katharina begins to live in the "world" she still clings to learned ways to practice her beliefs. Her prayers must still be those she learned in her cloistered life because she fears God will not want her to pray her heart's needs in her own words. Her clothes are fitted and she is accustomed to the loose nun's habit that completely covers her. She experiences emotions strange and bewildering in this new world in which she dwells.

I think that the author, Jody Hedlund, has done a beautiful work in bringing life to Luther and Katharina basing her characterization on actual information from her research. She has fleshed out the story with conversations and happenings that are fictional from her own imagination. However, Hedlund has written with great respect for the period of history, the trials and tribulations that the reformers endured, and the people themselves. She has presented history in its beauty as well as in its terrifying ugliness and brutality.

I heartily recommend this well written book to Chat With Vera readers. I hasten to caution against teen readers because of the customs of marriage during that period, the sweetly romantic scenes between Luther and Katharina, as well as the bawdy insinuations of "revered" individuals. This is Christian historical fiction with realism. It is not actually lewd or vulgar. It is simply not a book I would hand teens.

Timeline of Reformation: (I copied the following information from the Internet and I apologize because I can't find the source now. Just to let it be know, that I would give credit to compiler if I could again find it.) 

1517Pope Leo X sell indulgences to rebuild church in Rome
Martin Luther posts 95 theses on door of castle church in Wittenberg
1520
Pope Leo excommunicates Martin Luther
1521Martin Luther guilty of heresy by German Diet of Worms
1521Ignatius Loyola gives up life as a noble to serve god and Catholic Church
1524Lutheran Church formed in northern Germany
1531Ulrich Zwungli leader of Protestant movement in Switzerland
Killed in battle with Catholic forces
1534Parliament passes law King is head of Church of England
1534French King Francis I forbids Huguenots to worship freely.
1540Ignatius Loyola founds Society of Jesus; Black robes simple life
1553King Edward VI of England dies
Mary becomes Queen of England
Mary accepts Pope as head of Church of England.
1555Peace of Augsburg Catholic and Protestant Churches in Germany
GIVEAWAY
Begins September 15 & ENDS October 8 @ 12:01 a.m. ET. 
Open for addresses in USA
a Rafflecopter giveaway
More about the author - Jody Hedlund visit her website at: http://jodyhedlund.com Or see her author page at the publisher’s website: http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/author-spotlight.php?authorid=257470
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone. I receive no compensation for this review.

31 comments:

  1. I haven't studied many details of early church history, I just know the basics. On Jody's pinterest board I learned that Luther enjoyed music!

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    1. Martin Luther wrote some of the great hymns of the faith. My favorite is A Mighty Fortress Is Our God.

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  2. I haven't given too much thought to this era. But I'm excited to learn more about it!

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  3. After looking at the Pintrest page, I didn't know A Mighty Fortress had been translated into so many languages. It's such a great hymn!

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  4. I've not studied a lot about church history, I do wonder if I would have had the strength to stand up under the persecution many of our ancestors did.

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  5. Years ago I took a college class on the history of Christianity. I thought it was somewhat interesting but had difficulty remembering all the dates. I do like to learn about history through a well-researched historical novel, so that is one reason I want to read Luther and Katharina. The other reason is I know Jody Hedlund writes excellent books.

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  6. I looked at Jody's Pinterest page. I'd forgotten that Martin Luther wrote many hymns.

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  7. Yes, I find early Church History fascinating and I will bore you with the details of why I do. First, I am a professional genealogist for German, Swiss and Polish research. I have found ancestors that were friends of Martin Luther's and were Lutheran Pastors and high church officials. One ancestor was a former monk turned Lutheran pastor and was poisoned as a result of his reformer ways. It was a fascinating time!

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  8. Our last year of home-schooling was spent studying the beginning of Christianity to the reformation. I enjoy everything when it comes to the early church, but the early 1200's stays with me, as well as the mid 1400's. Saint Francis is one of my people in history followed by Martin Luther I have devoured everything I can about Martin Luther since watching Luther, the movie, over 10 years ago. This is why I am so excited about Jody Hedlund's release of Luther and Katharina.

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  9. I haven't studied a lot of church history but am drawn more to the 1800-1960 period.

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  10. I don't know much about early church history but what's in scripture :-) Guess I've never really thought about it! Would be fascinating to learn, though. Thanks for the post today, I didn't realize how important Martian Luther really was!

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    1. I'm suppose to tell you what I learned from the Pinterest board. I learned about Katharina von Bora, Martin's wife " She played a significant part in the Lutheran reformation because of her role in helping to define Lutheran way of family life and setting the tone for clergy marriages too". Very fascinating!!

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  11. I visited Jodi's pinterest page and learned that Martin Luther He was not the fat monk so often portrayed.

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  12. I haven't studied church history in depth. I am familiar with the Reformation period and I am especially interested in the great Cane Creek Revival that took place in Kentucky around 1801.

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  13. I learned that your Pinterest boards include a lot of religious pictures that are both ancient and modern.

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  14. I love to read about anything ancient so.. Yes, I like to read about early church histories, religions and also other religious teachings.

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  15. I love history, and I find this all such fun to learn. I never really gave to much thought to this subject. I found it interesting that he was portrayed as a fat person, but wasn't.

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  16. This looks like an interesting book about a period I know very little about. Appreciate your warning about its possible inappropriateness for teens. Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
    Tina

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  17. Early church history is fascinating. Jody's Pinterest board is so informative. I am looking forward to reading this novel.

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  18. There is little that I know about church history - or at least little read in recent years. I did see the movie about Luther produced several years ago, and as a former Lutheran elementary school student, studied about the Reformation and Martin Luther every year. I am interested in learning again, and learning more, especially about his wife and what they faced as a couple throughout the years - part of my 'heritage' of faith. jeaniedannheim *at* ymail *dot* com

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  19. I love early church history! Having said that, the Reformation is also fascinating -- It's so neat to me to see how God's hand has worked throughout all time, preserving His Bride. :-)

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  20. I'm currently taking a class on church history, and find it fascinating that the already established network of Jews were a driving force in the early church movement. The diaspora was a tragic event that God used--and continues to use--for the furthering of His kingdom and the redemption of His people.

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    1. I visited Jody's pinterest page and saw a quote I liked. "Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that really matter" - Martin Luther. This stood out to me because this week I read a quote by Howard Hendricks from "Teaching to Change Lives" that said something to the effect of: if you're not growing, you're in the process of dying. Both quotes are very true and poignant. Are we constantly speaking on the things of God or are we remaining stagnant in our faith? That's a good question to ask ourselves every day. Am I choosing to grow or am I choosing to die?

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    2. I hadn't realized she had pretty much been locked inside her whole childhood but I guess that's probably true for all girls back then. My favorite part of all history is1500s to the early 1800s.

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  21. I do enjoy early church history in historical fiction. I've read some good books from many different eras. Recently I read a book based on the differences between the Catholics and the Huguenots in France in the mid-18th century. One of my favorite series is Mark of the Lion by Francine Rivers. It takes place in the first century.

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  22. From Jody's Pinterest board: If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write--quote by Martin Luther.

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  23. I learned that this is a battle for true love, in one of the greatest love stories of history.

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  24. I love church history and the Protestant Reformation is my favorite era to study! I studied it in college!

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  25. I learned that Martin Luther was a big fan of a "good marriage"-- didn't know that!

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  26. I learned that LUTHER AND KATHARINA was released on 10/6/15.

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