Happy Thursday! Today I have a review of an exciting new novel by Patti Callahan featuring the love of author C. S. Lewis’ life!
Patti Callahan (Henry) is one of my favorite authors. How do I know this? I own all of her books and a few are “saved” unread for the book apocalypse. You know, I’m well-prepared for that. When I read that she was writing historical fiction for the first time, and that it also involved C.S. Lewis, I was all in.
Joy Davidman is the main character. The book begins with her life as a wife and mother, and I could sense right away that something is not right in her marriage. Her husband is moody and drinks too much, and while there is palpable love between them, there is also a distance, a disconnect.
Joy and her husband are both writers, and after a terrifying experience involving her husband, Joy begins to explore and test her faith. In doing so, she begins writing about faith on behalf of she and her husband in letters of correspondence to C.S. Lewis (Jack). The two begin writing back and forth, exploring and deeply connecting through their words to each other and over their spiritual beliefs.
In a leap of faith, Joy travels to England from America and into the arms of her Jack. I’m in awe of the inspiring love that developed between the two, so remarkable in fact, that Joy is somewhat of a muse for Jack, sparking works that delight us to this day.
While it would be easy to judge Joy for some of her decisions regarding her first marriage, instead I am stirred by her fierce independence and willingness to risk it all for love.
Becoming Mrs. Lewis is not only the love story of Joy and Jack. It’s also their ode to literature. Fans of C.S. Lewis, the historical fiction genre, strong female characters, compelling love stories, and books about books are sure to revel in Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
Not only did Callahan author her first work of historical fiction, she owned it. She was meant to write this genre all along!
Thank you to Thomas Nelson for the opportunity to read and review this ARC. All opinions are my own.
In a most improbable friendship, she found love. In a world where women were silenced, she found her voice.
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.
Have you read Becoming Mrs. Lewis, or is it on your TBR? Are you a C.S. Lewis fan? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR