Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund is a historical fiction novel like no other I've ever read. The book is based on the lives of Martin Luther and the former nun Katharina von Bora. Set in the 16th century, the novel is compelling and intense. It places the reader at the heart of the Reformation, a time period full of danger and persecution. The book does an amazing job of humanizing Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora. The characters are developed and realistic and the book has been well-researched and the events throughout the novel are based in historical fact.
I've read a number of Jody Hedlund's novels in the past. The time period and historic figures in this book set it apart from many others in the genre. I spent some time reading about Martin Luther and Katharina von Bora while reading this novel and felt that I learned a great deal from the book.
I feel that this book is very well-written, but I personally had a few issues with it that I want to share here in case any of my other fellow readers are sensitive like me. :) I usually read at night before bed and find it relaxing. This book is not one that is a good relaxing bedtime read. Because of the intense level of realism in the novel and the events that were a part of the time period, it is full of a great deal of violence and mayhem. In addition, I do not feel this book would be as good for a younger reader (or a more sensitive one) because there are several scenes where there is implied sexual violence against some of the characters as well sexual innuendo that is a part of the conversation among some of the characters. Again, this is a part of what makes the book so authentic to the time period, but it was difficult to read at times.
The book is definitely a page turner and absolutely fascinating in terms of the life of Martin Luther himself. I would give the book 4 stars for its historical content, but would need to rate it 3 stars for the issues mentioned above. I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for this review; all opinions are my own.