Title: Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife
Author: Anne Boileau
Publication: October 4th 2016 by Clink Street Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction
Purchase: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Barnes & Noble | Kobo
On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticizing the Church of Rome; they were printed and published by Lucas Cranach and caused a storm. Nine young nuns, intoxicated by Luther’s subversive writings, became restless and longed to leave their convent. On Good Friday 1523 a haulier smuggled them out hidden in empty herring barrels. Five of them settled in Wittenberg, the very eye of the storm, and one of them – Katharina von Bora – scandalised the world by marrying the revolutionary former monk. Following a near miscarriage, she is confined to her bed to await the birth of their first child; during this time, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this vivid account of Katharina von Bora’s early life brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.
This book is about Katharina Luther, the wife of Martin Luther. I’ve always been quite intrigued with the Protestant Reformation that Luther initiated. But this book is about his wife who had quite a journey of her own even before she married him. The book started with Katharina being bedridden and heavily pregnant with her husband’s child and starting to write about her tumultous life.
Katharina became a nun when she was only fifteen, but years later, learning about and reading Luther’s writings gets disillusioned by her life in the convent and together with nine other nuns were smuggled out in empty herring barrels. Katharina, together with a couple of the other young nuns, settle in Wittenberg and she eventually marries Luther, which was quite the scandal at the time.
My favorite thing about this book, except that it was about Katharina Luther, was the prose. Even though this book was very easy to read, the writing was actually really beautiful. It was also researched very well, which I think is the most important thing with a historical novel.
Books that fictionalize historical figures are my favorite kind of historical novels. I really can’t get enough of them and I thought that Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife was exceptionally well-written.
Anne Boileau (also known as Polly Clarke) lives in Essex. She studied German in Munich and worked as interpreter and translator before turning to language-teaching in England. She also holds a degree in Conservation and Land Management from Anglia University and has written and given talks on various aspects of conservation. Now she shares, writes and enjoys poetry; her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines; she has also won some awards, including First Prize with Grey Hen Press, 2016. She translates modern German poetry into English with Camden Mews Translators and was Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011 to 2014.