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Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis Hardcover – 2 October 2018
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- Publisher : Thomas Nelson (2 October 2018)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 416 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0785224505
- ISBN-13 : 978-0785224501
- Dimensions : 16.26 x 3.4 x 24.26 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 258,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
'It's novel. And it's a very good one. . . extraordinarily accurate. . . more accurate than most biographical essays that have been written about my mother.' - Douglas Gresham, son of Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis.'--Read Aloud Revival
'While I've read all the biographies on CS Lewis and Joy Davidman, this is the one that broke my heart by sending me on the experience with them. Brilliant, and utterly poignant, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is one of the best tellings of one of the literary world's greatest love stories. Five out of Five shields.'--NarniaFans.com "Tumnus' Bookshelf"
'I thought I knew Joy Davidman, the oft mentioned but little examined wife of C. S. Lewis, but in Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan breathes life into this fascinating woman whose hunger for knowledge leads her to buck tradition at every turn. In a beautifully crafted account, Patti unveils Joy as a passionate and courageous--yet very human--seeker of answers to the meaning of life and the depths of faith. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an unlikely love story that will touch heart, mind, and soul.' --Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of The Dream Daughter
'Layered with personal reflection, poignant life events, and the Davidman-Lewis journey toward respect and love, Becoming Mrs. Lewis may very well become a literary classic of its own.'--Hope by the Book, GOLD STAR review
'Patti Callahan has inhabited her subject so convincingly that Joy's light can finally shine brightly. Highly, highly recommended!'--Historical Novels Review
'Patti Callahan's lyrical novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis details American author Joy Davidman's unconventional friendship-turned-romance with famed author and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis . . . The thoughtful narrative reads more like a memoir than fiction.'--WORLD magazine
'Patti Callahan weaves a hypnotic historical fiction narrative of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, or 'Jack, ' as he's known to his closest friends . . . Spanning more than a decade, this slow-burning love story will be especially satisfying to writers and C.S. Lewis fans, as there are many references to his literary canon and his famous stories of Narnia. Callahan's prose is heartfelt and full of grace.'--BookPage
'Callahan crafts a masterpiece that details the friendship and ultimate romance between the real Davidman and Lewis . . . Fans of Karen White and Mary Alice Monroe will enjoy this book. Callahan's writing is riveting and her characters spring to life to create a magical and literary experience that won't be soon forgotten.'--Library Journal, STARRED review
'Readers familiar with the life and work of C.S. Lewis will relish learning about the woman who inspired some of his most famous books. Others will find the slow burn of the romance between the two mesmerizing. All fans of women's fiction, particularly works with religious themes, will appreciate reading about this vibrant and intelligent woman.'--Booklist
'Callahan (The Bookshop at Water's End) vividly enters the life of a woman searching for both God and romantic love in this pleasing historical novel about writer and poet Joy Davidman. In 1946, Joy lives in Ossining, N.Y., with her alcoholic husband, Bill Gresham, and her two small sons. In a moment of desperation, she prays to a God she doesn't believe in and experiences feeling 'fully known and loved.' Three years later, now deeply considering Christianity, she writes to Christian apologist C.S. Lewis with her questions about God. He responds, beginning a long-term correspondence in which Joy finds 'peace, connection, and intellectual intimacy.' By 1952, she wants to leave her unfaithful, abusive husband, but sees no way out. She does manage to take a much-needed physical and mental respite, heading to England for six months and falling in love with both England and Lewis; her only regret is leaving behind her sons. But, even after Bill and Joy divorce, Lewis at first keeps their relationship platonic, and Joy must search for true love and fulfillment through her relationship with God. Making full use of historical documentation, Callahan has created an incredible portrait of a complex woman.'--Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
'In this unforgettable story of love and passion, piercing intellect and the power of the written word, Joy Davidman has come to claim her own resurrection, and the results are astonishing. Patti Henry has achieved a bold literary magic: Becoming Mrs. Lewis heals the cracks in the firmament of our hearts.' --Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen
'This finely observed accounting of writer Joy Davidman's life deeply moved me. Patti Callahan somehow inhabits Davidman, taking her readers inside the writer's hungry mind and heart. We keenly feel Davidman's struggle to become her own person at a time (the 1950s) when women had few options. When Davidman breaks free of a crushing marriage and makes the upstream swim to claim her fullest life, we cheer. An astonishing work of biographical fiction.' --Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe
'In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan Henry breathes wondrous fresh life into one of the greatest literary love stories of all time: the unlikely romance between English writer C. S. Lewis and the much younger American divorcee, Joy Davidman. Callahan chronicles their complex and unconventional relationship with a sure voice, deep insight into character, and eye for period detail. The result is a deeply moving story about love and loss that is transformative and magical.' --Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale
'This book is a work of art. Intelligent. Witty and charming, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a stunning foray into the wilds of faith - from doubt and discovery, to the great adventure of living it out. Patti Callahan's invitation into Joy and Jack's love story is as brilliant as the lives they led. I'm left as spellbound as the first time I met Aslan . . . with these characters now just as dear.' --Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster's Wife and the Lost Castle series
'Becoming Mrs. Lewis is at once profoundly evocative, revealing an intimate view of a woman whose love and story had never been fully told . . . until now. Patti Callahan brings to life the elusive Joy Davidman and illuminates the achingly touching romance between Joy and C . S. Lewis. This is the book Patti Callahan was born to write. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a tour de force and the must-read of the season!' --Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion
'In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Callahan peels back the curtain and allows a glimpse into Joy Davidman's extraordinary life and her love and marriage with C. S. Lewis. With captivating prose, Callahan carries the reader across the ocean from New York to Oxford and into the private heart of this tender love story.' --Katherine Reay, bestselling author of Dear Mr. Knightley and The Austen Escape
'Patti Callahan has written my favorite book of the year. Becoming Mrs. Lewis deftly explores the life and work of Joy Davidman, a bold and brilliant woman who is long overdue her time in the spotlight. Carefully researched. Beautifully written. Deeply romantic. Fiercely intelligent. It is both a meditation on marriage and a whopping grand adventure. Touching, tender, and triumphant, this is a love story for the ages.' --Ariel Lawhon, author of I Was Anastasia
'Patti Callahan seems to have found the story she was born to tell in this tale of unlikely friendship turned true love between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, that tests the bounds of faith and radically alters both of their lives. Their connection comes to life in Callahan's expert hands, revealing a connection so persuasive and affecting, we wonder if there's another like it in history. Luminous and penetrating.' --Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
'Patti Callahan's prose reads like poetry as she deftly unearths a lost love story that begs to be remembered and retold. I was swept along, filled with hope, and entirely beguiled, not only by the life lived behind the veil of C. S. Lewis's books but also by the woman who won his heart. A literary treasure from first page to last.' --Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
'With an artist's touch, Patti has woven flesh and bone onto an unlikely love story and given us a glimpse into a beautiful and storied romance. I read this through an increasing sense of awe and admiration. By the final page, I realized Patti had crafted an intimate and daring literary achievement.' --Charles Martin, USA TODAY bestselling author of Long Way Gone and The Mountain Between Us
'Becoming Mrs. Lewis illuminates the raw humanity of seeking faith in a distrustful world. We've heard C. S. Lewis's narrative. Here, Callahan keenly demystifies poet Joy Davidman's story and in the telling, shows us the power of a greater love. I was wonderstruck by this novel.' --Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of Marilla of Green Gables and The Baker's Daughter
About the Author
Patti Callahan is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and Globe and Mail bestselling novelist of fifteen novels, including Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving Savannah, out now, and Once Upon a Wardrobe, out October 19, 2021. A recipient of the Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year, the Christy Book of the Year, and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year, Patti is the cofounder and cohost of the popular web series and podcast Friends & Fiction. Follow her at www.patticallahanhenry.com.
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I didn’t really know anything of Joy’s story before picking up this book, so perhaps I don’t speak with much authority when I say this, but the story seemed very well researched, and I enjoyed the author’s notes detailing this at the end of the book. Callahan’s characterisation was masterful, vividly capturing every facet of Joy’s emotional journey: her internal conflict as her friendship with Jack flourished—via correspondence and eventually in person—while her marriage foundered; her later frustration and confusion as Jack “pressed his heart and mind as close to me as skin to bone” even as he remained unwaveringly committed to a chaste philia love between them; and her eventual realisation that she had spent her entire life seeking love in the outside world when the truth had been there all along: she was beloved of God.
It’s an affecting, thought-provoking story all the way to its poignant end, which left me grasping for tissues and desperate to read everything else ever written about these two. If you're at all a fan of C.S. Lewis, this is a must-read!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
This is mainly Joy's story, though. Joy had a tough time - she felt rejected by her parents and ultimately by her husband because she could never be the perfect daughter or the perfect wife. She was searching for most of her life, experiencing 'sexual exploration and teenage narcissism' in her youth and attempting to find happiness with her husband and sons. But destiny had other plans for Joy. When she read an article by C.S. Lewis, she became fascinated with his story and soon she read everything that he had written. She started to turn toward Christianity and began writing to C.S. Lewis. Soon, the letters were flying back and forth, and Joy's life began to change irrevocably. As C.S. Lewis told her in the novel: 'God is the Storyteller and Providence is his own storyline'.
When she visits C.S. Lewis and his brother Warnie, she begins to fall in love with C.S. without realising it. She also falls in love with London and England and the quiet peaceful life in the brother's sprawling house near Oxford, but she is unsure what the much older Lewis's feelings are. Will she have the courage to leave a disastrous marriage and take her sons with her to England, taking a chance on a bright future with the man she loves?
This is a wonderful tribute to this brilliant couple.
I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers Booklook Bloggers' Review Program . I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Top reviews from other countries
About a third of the way through the book, the author chooses to throw in a one night stand with a random man Joy meets in London. As someone who loves the Lord and understands what following Jesus would have meant to both C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman as well as the sexual ethics of the time, this seems an unnecessary and horrible smudge upon her character. It has no representation in truth and would be seen as a basis for slander were the woman alive.
I was also led to believe in the story that the letters quoted are actual tidbits from the existing letters between Davidman and Lewis. Apparently even these have been twisted and imagined.
As someone who loves a good historical fiction, I was disappointed. As someone who loves both Lewis and Davidman I was horrified. Most of all, I was saddened by the revisionist history which wasn’t even well written. It’s one of the first times in my life I’m putting down a book and won’t be finishing it.