Monday, August 28, 2017

Allison Pittman: Loving Luther

By Kelly Bridgewater

Germany, 1505
In the dark of night, Katharina von Bora says the bravest good-bye a six-year-old can muster and walks away as the heavy convent gate closes behind her.

Though the cold walls offer no comfort, Katharina soon finds herself calling the convent her home. God, her father. This, her life. She takes her vows―a choice more practical than pious―but in time, a seed of discontent is planted by the smuggled writings of a rebellious excommunicated priest named Martin Luther. Their message? That Katharina is subject to God, and no one else. Could the Lord truly desire more for her than this life of servitude?

In her first true step of faith, Katharina leaves the only life she has ever known. But the freedom she has craved comes with a price, and she finds she has traded one life of isolation for another. Without the security of the convent walls or a family of her own, Katharina must trust in both the God who saved her and the man who paved a way for rescue. Luther’s friends are quick to offer shelter, but Katharina longs for all Luther has promised: a home, a husband, perhaps even the chance to fall in love.

From Amazon

My Thoughts:

Loving Luther by Allison Pittman was a joy to read. Historical fiction might not be my go-to genre, but once in a while, a topic captures my attention and makes me want to read the novel. With Pittman's book, I never knew that Luther was ever in love with someone. Being a monk, I didn't think they could marry, but as the story shows, he left the monk life when he decided to read the Bible for himself. When I read a historical novel, I want the characters to be real and intertwine with the research so well that I don't know I'm actually reading a fictionalized story of a real person's life.

The writing is clear and concise. We stayed in Katharina's perspective the entire time. Since the story is told from her point of view, I watched as she interacted with the world and saw her feelings and words about certain topics. As for the research, it flowed nicely. I never once thought that Pittman was giving me a history lesson on Luther and what he accomplished. It was hinted at, but most readers should be familiar with what he accomplished with his theses. The setting came to life. I could feel the cold and taste the thin broth the poor ladies had to endure.

The romance really wasn't the focus of the story like I thought it was going to be. With a title like Loving Luther, I thought the story would be more about Katharina and Luther's love story. Yes, it is there toward the end of the novel, but the story focused more on Katharina's upbringing and her failed love to another man. Plus, this love to another man, I still don't understand what happened. Katharina was in love with him, and he appeared to be in love with her. Then he went away, never to talk to her again. It wasn't said what happened or why. I kept waiting for Pittman to tell me what happened, but she never does.

The spiritual element is important in this novel, as it should be because Pittman is discussing Luther and the whole Catholic church. I enjoyed how she allowed Katharina to make the discussion that she doesn't have to live in solitude to talk with God. She can still be a wife and a mother and talk with God. This is important, and the Catholic church still needs to hear this today.

Overall, the research and the setting stand out in my mind. While the title suggests a love story, it is more about Katharina's journey to discovering her love in Luther while maintaining her love for God. Loving Luther is a good book and taught me a lot, so I recommend this book to fellow readers who enjoy being taught things while they read. It was nice to uncover a part of Luther's life that I didn't know existed.

I received a complimentary copy of Loving Luther by Allison Pittman from Tyndale Publishing, and the opinions stated are all my  own.

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

What draws you to historical story that is based on a true person? Or do you stay away from this type of story all together?

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