Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me. Tyndale House provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)
As a young woman who’s been raised in a convent, Katharina von Bora takes her vows to become a nun for practical reasons. But she desires something more for her future as she begins reading the words of an excommunicated priest: one Martin Luther. Pondering Luther’s teachings about freedom in Christ, Katharina plans a risky escape from her cloistered life in Loving Luther, a novel by author Allison Pittman.
Now, this love story isn’t a romance, as much of the novel is (wisely) given to painting a picture of Katharina’s years in the convent and her thoughts and questions about Christian life, with no love interest around. Neither is this a novel about the Protestant Reformation, as although it’s the obvious backdrop for Luther’s character, the ins and outs of the reformation aren’t the novel’s focus.
Rather, this is the compelling story of a woman who loves God, longs for liberty, and faces a challenging life outside the convent walls. There’s a richness to Katharina’s character and experience. She’s flawed, unpredictable, and doesn’t always know how to feel in new situations.
It would’ve been easy to spring for too much drama and overdone characters during such a tumultuous period in history. But instead, this novel’s style is nuanced, with emotion that isn’t flashy but runs deep. Now, I agonized through some of the waiting I had to endure during the reading. And after all of that agony, I was somewhat dissatisfied with where and how the story ends.
Nevertheless, this is a substantive, poignant, beautiful read. I’d highly recommend it to fans of historical ChristFic—especially those who are already familiar with Katharina and Luther and who’d be interested in a different approach to their love story.