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Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies. That’s what Hope was taught to believe, anyway. But when her mother dies in childbirth, fifteen-year-old Hope must take over raising and homeschooling her ten younger siblings while keeping her father’s house. Her family’s religion teaches that women are happy and fulfilled as helpmeets and mothers, but all Hope feels is exhausted and frustrated. Her only chance for escape is courtship and becoming a helpmeet in her own right.

But after her father’s disastrous second marriage ends in divorce, Hope is forced to give up her dreams of having her own family and instead must remain under her father’s authority. As she and her siblings grow into adulthood, Hope watches her family disintegrate on the altar of faith. By the time she’s ready to abandon her father’s religion, however, she discovers that a lifetime of submission has crippled her ability to claim independence, and it may be too late to determine her own fate.

Told from the perspective of Hope, her father, and the woman who becomes her stepmother for a short time, Virtuous Women explores the high price paid by women who have no choice but to be virtuous.

Luther’s Small Catechism has been memorized by generations of Lutheran confirmation students. But while some manage to remember the Ten Commandments, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Lord’s Prayer, fewer remember Luther’s explanations. Fewer still read Luther’s Large Catechism for a more thorough treatment. The density of his language renders his insightful explanations inaccessible to many Lutherans today.

Martin Luther explained the essentials of the faith to his European contemporaries almost five hundred years ago. Karen Goltz has brought those explanations into the twenty-first century, with language and examples that illuminate the importance of the Catechism to everyday life.

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