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It is not a secret that I love to read and in fact, usually have several books going at once. It is a bad habit I have tried often to break and have failed at it, so I no longer make a New Year’s resolution to read one at a time. This is futile.

Historical reading is not my reading by choice. But when an author I enjoy writes a historical book, it lands on my desk.

Katharina & Martin Luther: The Radical Marriage of a Runaway Nun and a Renegade Monk by Michelle DeRusha reads more like a novel than a history book. The author pulls you into the lives of this couple, weaving a compelling image of a couple  who blazed their way through marriage and faith.

The book takes us through their early years, the years of monastic living, their courtship and marriage sharing details making this book a treasure. I will openly admit, I hardly knew any details of their lives.

Katharina was truly a woman who lived way before her time. Her courage, in the face of living way before women’s rights, was eye opening. She was educated, a thinker, and fiercely believed in her marriage, her family, and her faith. She was a pharmacist, a financial planner, a mom to six children and 11 fosters (Mercy!), and the woman behind the scenes of all that Luther was doing.

Life was not easy for this couple living in the 1500’s when one’s ideas were radical and seen as outside the “norm”. Michelle shares their story, providing us with rich details of what it was like to live and love and raise a family during those years.

I so appreciated all I learned from Michelle’s extensive research and resources, even more grateful for her writing style which made this book not only easy to read but a delight to read.

The book is a beautiful testament to marriage. While Luther saved Katharina from convent living, she also saved Luther, gracing his life with her support. Luther himself acknowledged:

Marriage does not always run smoothly, it is a chancy thing,” he admitted. “One has to commit oneself to it.” (from page 173)

Whether you agree with Luther’s theology, or not, this is a book that will be enjoyed and should be read. For in reading it, I came to discover they were not much different than any of us today. We still have struggles and commit to things for which we take “chances”. More than a theology book, this is a book that will challenge and motivate us to live with faith, love, and persistence today.

Michelle DeRusha lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her husband and their two boys. Her other books include Spiritual Misfit: A Memoir of Uneasy Faith and 50 Women Every Christian Woman Should Know: Learning From Heroines of the Faith . You can also connect with Michelle in these places (click as links are provided):


* I received a complimentary copy of this book as a member of the launch team in exchange for my honest opinion and thoughts. This post contains affiliate links.



Today I am joining … Testimony Tuesday and Unite and #RaRaLinkup and Booknificent Thursday .