Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Paperback edition released 16/05/2019

by Patti Callahan

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Relationship Stories Historical fiction Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of Becoming Mrs. Lewis

A sincerely lovely novel exploring the relationship between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman - highly recommended

Oh I did enjoy this read, it was totally unexpected and sincerely lovely, as while I adored (and still adore) visiting the Narnia of C.S. Lewis, I had absolutely no idea of the truly fascinating love story that existed between him and Joy Davidman. The author introduces this novel with a note to the reader, inviting you to meet Joy Davidman, to explore her courage, and wonder at the woman who corresponded with Lewis before leaving America to make his world her home. Patti Callahan has obviously spent a huge amount of time in research, and that really comes across, as I read I felt, really felt that I was listening to Joy tell her own story. She is written in such a way that I could hear her, feel her pain, explore her hope, her commitment, she bares her soul and I rather fell in love her and her writing. Religion plays an important part, both of them found Christianity later in life, both were constantly testing and examining their faith, if like me you are a non-believer, please do not turn away, yes it is hugely important, yet approached with the most considered hand by Patti Callahan. They say truth is stranger than fiction, and oh how that resonates here, Becoming Mrs Lewis is a beautiful, engaging, eloquent read and highly recommended.

Liz Robinson

Becoming Mrs. Lewis Synopsis

From New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan comes an exquisite novel of Joy Davidman, the woman C. S. Lewis called "my whole world." When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis--known as Jack--she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn't holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and the beloved writer of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, finding a love that even the threat of death couldn't destroy.

In this masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times, we meet a brilliant writer, a fiercely independent mother, and a passionate woman who changed the life of this respected author and inspired books that still enchant us and change us. Joy lived at a time when women weren't meant to have a voice--and yet her love for Jack gave them both voices they didn't know they had.

At once a fascinating historical novel and a glimpse into a writer's life, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is above all a love story--a love of literature and ideas and a love between a husband and wife that, in the end, was not impossible at all.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780310104803
Publication date: 16th May 2019
Author: Patti Callahan
Publisher: Harper Inspire an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Inc
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Collections: 50+ Novels Based on Real Events or People,
Primary Genre Historical fiction
Other Genres:
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Becoming Mrs. Lewis Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

A beautiful and insightful love story written from the perspective of Joy Davidman about her relationship with C.S. Lewis.

This is a charming and insightful book written from the perspective of the writer Joy Davidman.

It is a novel, but I wanted to believe it was true – and, in a sense, it is because the truths of love and loss in human relationships run right through it. The events are plausible, if not accurate, and reflect Joy’s own words.

Patti Callahan has drawn upon the writings of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (Jack) – and upon what others have written about them – as well as conversations with Joy’s son Douglas. Each chapter is headed by a quotation, many from the sonnets that Joy wrote for Jack and which tell the story of her growing, and for a long time unrequited, love for him. What has been unearthed by Callahan through careful research has been projected into the events depicted in the novel and, together with an obviously deep understanding of the emotional rollercoaster suffered by the victims of abusive partners, woven together to create a perceptive romance.

Becoming Mrs Lewis is a love story - of Joy’s fascination with and then absorbing love for Jack and, eventually, of his deep love for her. Their story is beautiful but also tragic with loss appearing as a recurring theme. Callahan does not shy from the ugliness of self-centeredness and addiction or the pain of premature loss yet the hope found in C.S. Lewis’s own writings is also found here.

This was a book I couldn’t put down – and a book I didn’t want to end!

Jane Welby

A wonderful story of a complex woman and a fascinating relationship with the bonus of an insight into the life of C.S. Lewis.

This compelling book tells of the love story between C.S. Lewis, Christian apologist, Oxford don and author of the Narnia books, and the American author and poet Joy Davidman, from the viewpoint of the latter.

It begins in 1946, in New York, when Joy, who is in a passionate but difficult marriage, has a deep mystical experience, transforming her from an atheist into a spiritual seeker, convinced of the reality of a loving God. As she and Bill struggle to make sense of their life and their marriage, she writes to Lewis in 1950, looking for help in finding spiritual certainties. Lewis replies, and that is the start of a deep friendship between him and Joy, conducted initially only by mail.

Two years later, Joy travels to England, a momentous undertaking. She meets Lewis and his brother, finds English life very much to her liking, and although she has to go home for practical reasons, eventually she returns for good with her two young sons. Her life becomes intertwined with that of Lewis and as she explores the mind and world of this man her fascination transforms into a deep and abiding love. It is not all plain sailing however: Lewis, for reasons of conscience, appears a reluctant lover, Joy is plagued by money worries and poor health, and some of Lewis’s friends (most notably Tolkien) are deeply suspicious of her. But their minds, abiding faith and deep friendship result in a happy ending: they marry in 1957 and after what Joy believes to be a miraculous recovery have three happy years together.

I loved this book. But having read much of Lewis’s work, especially “Surprised by Joy” and “A Grief Observed”, I had puzzled about Joy; this novel explains much and makes her far more human. And not only is it what the author terms “an improbable love story” but above all, it is a study of the development of a complex, brilliant and possibly not always lovable woman. (And the bonus is an introduction to her sonnets!) Read it!

Clare Turner

A most compelling read about Joy Davidman meeting C.S. Lewis and how they fell in love and their life together.

A very interesting book about C.S. Lewis meeting and marrying Joy Davidman. Joy was having a crisis so she wrote to C.S. (Jack) Lewis knowing he always answered correspondence. Thus began years of correspondence between the two when Joy was not happy in her marriage, as she was married to an alcoholic. She eventually went to England from America and met Jack and his brother Warnie. She went back to America afterwards and got her children bringing them to England and married C.S. Lewis after divorcing her husband. They were very happy together and spent their time with both of them writing, as she was also a writer. The final part of the book deals with their life together and a shared love of language and literature.
Joy finally met her match in love, making the book very compelling to read.

Lynette McCann

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780310104803
Publication date: 16/05/2019
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780785224501
Publication date: 02/10/2018
Format: Hardback

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