Katherina: Fortitude by Margaret Skea
It is a great pleasure to be involved in the tour for Katherina: Fortitude by Margaret Skea @margaretskea1 and run by @LoveBooksGroup. You can follow the tour here.
‘We are none of us perfect, and a streak of stubbornness is what is needed in dealing with a household such as yours, Kat… and with Martin.’
Wittenberg 1525. The unexpected marriage of Martin Luther to Katharina von Bora has no fairytale ending.
A sign of apostasy to their enemies, and a source of consternation to their friends, it sends shock waves throughout Europe.
Yet as they face persecution, poverty, war, plague and family tragedy, Katharina’s resilience and strength of character shines through.
While this book can be read as a standalone, it is also the powerful conclusion to her story, begun in Katharina: Deliverance.
Wittenberg, June–July 1525
The music stops, the sound of the fiddle dying away, the piper trailing a fraction behind, as he has done all evening. I cannot help but smile as I curtsy to Justus Jonas, his answering twinkle suggesting he shares my amusement.
‘Thank you, Frau Luther.’ And then, his smile wider, so that even before he continues I suspicion it isn’t the piping amuses him, ‘For a renegade nun, you dance well.’
It is on the tip of my tongue to respond with ‘For a cleric, so do you’, but I stop myself, aware that should I be overheard it would likely be considered inappropriate for any woman, far less a newly married one, to speak so to an older man, however good a friend he has been. And on this day of all days, I do not wish to invite censure. Instead I say, ‘I have been well taught. Barbara saw to that. She did not wish me to disgrace myself or her, and there is a pair of slippers with the soles worn through to testify to the hours of practice she insisted upon.’
‘She succeeded admirably then.’
All around us there is the buzz of laughter and chatter, an air of goodwill evident in every flushed face. Martin is waiting at the foot of the dais, and as we turn towards him, his smile of thanks to Justus is evidence he too is grateful for the seal of approval, of me and of the marriage, our shared dance a tangible sign to the whole town that Justus Jonas at least has no reservations regarding our union. Over his shoulder I catch Barbara’s eye and she nods also. I nod back but am unable to suppress altogether the inner voice, Tonight there is drink taken, tomorrow some may feel differently.
As if he can read my mind, Justus says, a new seriousness in his tone, ‘You have not made a mistake, either of you.’ He waves his hand at the folk clustered in groups along the length of the room. ‘Look around. When the difficult times come, as no doubt they will, remember tonight and the number of those who came to wish you well.’
Margaret Skea grew up in Ulster at the height of the ‘Troubles’, but now lives with her husband in the Scottish Borders.
You can find more details, including why chocolate is vital to her creative process, on her website http://www.margaretskea.com
STOP PRESS: Katharina: Fortitude was shortlisted for The 2020 BookBrunch Award
Katharina :Deliverance was placed 2nd in the (international) Historical Novel Society New Novel Award 2018.
Judged ‘Assured, evocative, compelling, a fascinating read.’ by Lead judge Catharina Cho.
Together they chronicle the life of Katharina von Bora, the escaped nun who married Martin Luther.
“Behind even a great (sometimes, noisy, fractious) man, there is often a quietly strong woman.
Margaret Skea’s deep research and empathy brings alive one such. If you like your historical fiction truthful and complex, then this novel about Katharina Luther is for you.” Sarah Dunant
“Beautifully written and meticulously researched.’