Katie Luther: First Lady of The Reformation

Reviewed byMary Newenhisen, a professional writing major at Taylor University.



Title: Katie Luther: First Lady of The Reformation

Author: Ruth A. Tucker


Publication Date: June 27, 2017

FormatPaperback Book

Length208 pages


           Tucker employs a narrative and biographical style throughout much of the book. Weaving her extensive knowledge of 16th century culture with stories of women in other parts of history, she paints a vivid picture of Katie Luther’s experience. She acknowledges the scarcity of direct sources about her subject; so, by necessity, she often speculates about how Katie might have felt or behaved or spoken. Much of Tucker’s writing is based on the assumption that the reader has at least a basic knowledge of Martin Luther’s life and career.

            Katie Luther’s story is shown mostly chronologically. The chapters focus on different aspects of her life, such as her time as a nun, her motherhood, and her less than romantic relationship with Luther. Because she was not a political figure, this book focuses mainly on painting a picture of her daily life and personal struggles, rather than narrating her interaction with the larger world. The author also incorporates much of Luther’s writings about his wife, and portrays the contrast between the way he wrote about marriage and the way it actually was carried out. Tucker does tend toward more speculation than would generally be acceptable for a strictly biographical work.


Rating (1 to 5)

3 stars

Suggested Audience

This book could appeal to a fairly broad range of people, but perhaps those who would benefit from it most would be people studying the Protestant Reformation or the role of women within cultural and political change.

Christian Impact

This book draws a new perspective on how women can be powerful and confident even when they are not directly involved with the political and theological turmoil of the era. It also offers a new and unexpected perspective on Luther, a figure who is often idealized in the Protestant church.

Other notes

There is an index in the back of the book, along with all the chapter notes and citations.



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Katie Luther, First Lady of the Reformation: The Unconventional Life of Katharina von Bora

About Ceil Carey

The Evangelical Church Library Association, founded in 1970, is a fellowship of Christian churches, schools, and individuals.

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