Becoming Mrs. Lewis
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.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis Details

TitleBecoming Mrs. Lewis
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherThomas Nelson
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance

Becoming Mrs. Lewis Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    This is some kind of special! 5 stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ 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 This is some kind of special! 5 stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ 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. My reviews can also be found on my blog with pictures 🤓: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I have to say that this book took me completely by surprise. Honestly, I think sometimes when I approach a book about real people, in this case C.S.Lewis and Joy Davidman, I cannot help but ask myself "So which one is going to be the jerk?" But Patti Callahan unfolds the story of the meeting of the minds as much as much as that of the heart. People, this book is #relationshipgoals, the type our mothers and fathers hope we will encounter as we travel the road of love. Seventeen years in age dif I have to say that this book took me completely by surprise. Honestly, I think sometimes when I approach a book about real people, in this case C.S.Lewis and Joy Davidman, I cannot help but ask myself "So which one is going to be the jerk?" But Patti Callahan unfolds the story of the meeting of the minds as much as much as that of the heart. People, this book is #relationshipgoals, the type our mothers and fathers hope we will encounter as we travel the road of love. Seventeen years in age difference, "Jack" and Joy correspond first to discuss their own search for a relationship with religion, which eventually leads to a relationship based on mutual respect and friendship that as the years go by does lead to more. Upon completion and this might seem a bit silly, but Becoming Mrs Lewis is definitely a book that made me feel like for just a few hours, Joy and C.S. Lewis once more walked the earth. Their story lands this book safely in my favorites of 2018 Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review
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  • Lisa Wingate
    January 1, 1970
    Pulled me in, kept me up, left me joyful. Need I say more?In case you aren't yet persuaded to snatch up this beautiful book for your reading stack, let me add that Patti Callahan's writing is at times so breathtaking, as a writer, I paused to reread a turn of phrase. As magical as the writing is, though, the novel's true magic is the revelation of the man behind the stories we all know and the woman, the outsider, who captured his heart. Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis were an unlikely match, separa Pulled me in, kept me up, left me joyful. Need I say more?In case you aren't yet persuaded to snatch up this beautiful book for your reading stack, let me add that Patti Callahan's writing is at times so breathtaking, as a writer, I paused to reread a turn of phrase. As magical as the writing is, though, the novel's true magic is the revelation of the man behind the stories we all know and the woman, the outsider, who captured his heart. Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis were an unlikely match, separated by an ocean, an age difference, ghosts of the past, and the general complications of life, and yet love has the power to conquer all. The telling of their story is long overdue.Read this book. It will remind you that we are, each of us, so much more than the masks we wear.
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  • Diane S ☔
    January 1, 1970
    This is going to be less a review than just myself explaining how I was all over the place while reading this novel. I think most people have heard of C. S. Lewis and his Narnia, but of his only wife Joy, very little. Was what drew me to this book. I liked it, I didn't like it, found it repetitive at times, interesting at others, grew frustrated with all the spirituality, philosophizing, the tone was so melancholy, not much joy to be found within. So conflicting, a good look at a woman who wante This is going to be less a review than just myself explaining how I was all over the place while reading this novel. I think most people have heard of C. S. Lewis and his Narnia, but of his only wife Joy, very little. Was what drew me to this book. I liked it, I didn't like it, found it repetitive at times, interesting at others, grew frustrated with all the spirituality, philosophizing, the tone was so melancholy, not much joy to be found within. So conflicting, a good look at a woman who wanted more than her time period generally allowed a woman, but so much complaining, searching. Well written, a woman few knew much about, a love affair that seemed somewhat unreal but was, and a spiritual searching for snswers from a most unlikely source. As i said I was all over the place as I was reading.ARC from Netgalley
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  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    How does one write a review for a book like this, a book that is quite possibly the best I've read this year? How can a review even begin to give this book the proper justice?This book has taken a piece of my heart with it when I finished it, never to be returned!I'll admit to having never read a C.S. Lewis book and never having heard of his wife, Joy.This book isn't just a mundane book about their life and how they met, it started out by her contacting him by letter, by the way. No, this book h How does one write a review for a book like this, a book that is quite possibly the best I've read this year? How can a review even begin to give this book the proper justice?This book has taken a piece of my heart with it when I finished it, never to be returned!I'll admit to having never read a C.S. Lewis book and never having heard of his wife, Joy.This book isn't just a mundane book about their life and how they met, it started out by her contacting him by letter, by the way. No, this book has a depth which may be deeper than the ocean, nor is it one dimensional. This book has so many layers, like an onion waiting to be peeled and discovered. When you think you have it all down and understand their lives separately and together you will discover your understanding is just at it's beginning. C.S. Lewis was a man who enjoyed the simple life, a good (fag) cigarette, a whiskey and simple friendships. He did not have a need for romance, he had his books and his writing. he had more of a need for a deep friendship with Joy than anything else. He came to depend on her in many aspects of his book work. An unlikely friendship that developed into true love. This book develops all the truth,tenderness and triumph you could expect in this time period, the 1950's. Joy Davidman was a woman who had a voice when women were expected not to.Pub Date 02 Oct 2018 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson--FICTION through NetGalley. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    SUMMARYJoy Davidman is a writer and poet living in Ossining NY in 1946. She is locked in a loveless marriage with her alcoholic husband, Bill Gresham, and their two young sons. In a moment of desperation, she says a prayer to a God she doesn’t believe in and has an overwhelming experience that causes her to want to find out more about Christianity. She writes to Christian apologist C. S. Lewis with questions about God. Lewis responds, beginning a long-term correspondence between the two. Joy fin SUMMARYJoy Davidman is a writer and poet living in Ossining NY in 1946. She is locked in a loveless marriage with her alcoholic husband, Bill Gresham, and their two young sons. In a moment of desperation, she says a prayer to a God she doesn’t believe in and has an overwhelming experience that causes her to want to find out more about Christianity. She writes to Christian apologist C. S. Lewis with questions about God. Lewis responds, beginning a long-term correspondence between the two. Joy finds friendship, solace and wisdom in the letters she receives. By 1952, her husband is both unfaithful and abusive, but Joy can find no way out. Her health is suffering from the stress, and she is under doctors orders to rest. She heads to England for six months, where she meets Lewis for the first time. She falls in love with both England and Lewis, but ultimately must return to the US. There, she is fully committed to divorcing her husband, and returning to England with her two sons. Once she returns to England, Joy is ever hopeful her platonic relationship with Jack, will be transformed into something more. “You tolerate what you must when it becomes your reality.““God might not fix things for me, but he would be with me in whatever waited ahead, that was clear.”REVIEWBECOMING MRS. LEWIS is a fascinating historical love story of two literary giants. Joy was a intelligent and strong woman with a voice far ahead of her time. Patti Callahan Henry has recreated the exquisite details of the improbable friendship and ultimate romance between two people a world apart geographically, spiritually, and emotionally. I particularly loved Henry’s vivid descriptions of Lewis’s home, The Kilns, as well as the depictions of the joy-filled times the two shared together, going for walks or sitting in front of the fireplace sharing stories. While this is a work of historical fiction, readers of C. S. Lewis will absolutely love a glimpse at the personal surroundings, thoughts and feelings of the man behind the beloved characters of Aslan and Wormwood. Henry’s writing is evocative and masterful. She was inspired to write the story because of her love for the fascinating works of C. S. Lewis. Once she read Lewis’s A Grief Observed, she was committed to finding out more about the women he loved so fiercely he called her “his whole world.” Henry researched Joy’s writing and traveled to the Wade Center at Wheaton College where Joy’s papers are kept alongside C.S. Lewis’s. BECOMING MRS. LEWIS is her fourteenth novel. “We can’t just surrender to our every desire. Man must have his principles and live by them regardless. Our nature must must be controlled or it can ruin our lives.”Publisher Thomas NelsonPublished October 2, 2018Narrated Lauren WoodwardReview www.bluestockingreviews.com
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  • Diane Barnes
    January 1, 1970
    I'm in the minority on my rating of this book, so I'll just say it was not my cup of tea. Had I not been reading it for my book club I would have DNF'd the whole thing. I was frustrated and bored because it felt as though the author couldn't decide whether this was a biographical novel, religious fiction, or chick lit, and the combination just did not work for me.
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  • Marialyce
    January 1, 1970
    4 intensity of love starsMy reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...It is often very hard to find true love, searching for it, we so many times stumble looking for that one person who makes us whole, who makes us feel valued, who makes us feel loved.In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan explores the love story between C. S. Lewis, a well known older author living in England, and Joy Davidman, a young poet, mother, who was trapped in a marriage to an alcoholic and phil 4 intensity of love starsMy reviews can be found here: https://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpres...It is often very hard to find true love, searching for it, we so many times stumble looking for that one person who makes us whole, who makes us feel valued, who makes us feel loved.In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan explores the love story between C. S. Lewis, a well known older author living in England, and Joy Davidman, a young poet, mother, who was trapped in a marriage to an alcoholic and philanderer. She writes to C.S. Lewis and over time through their letters finds herself falling deeply in love with Lewis's words which represent the man he is. Both Joy and Lewis were former atheists, but found religion and god to be a solace. Joy is restless. She needs to provide some stability in her life and it is through her correspondence and later meeting Lewis that she finds that stability. This book of fiction imagines that world where Joy and Lewis correspond, meet and eventually marry after many years and as the story continues we see the tragedies of their lives unfold.Joy's first foray to England because of health problems, was her entrance into the world of Lewis and his alcoholic brother. She, leaving her boys behind with their father and her cousin explore Lewis's world, that of Oxford and Cambridge, and of course finds herself falling for the author. She is conflicted by her love for her boys, and growing hatred for her husband. Returning home, eventually the marriage breaks apart, and Joy and her boys return to England and to Lewis where she lived out the rest of her life.There were some wonderful reading moments in this story as the author interspersed Joy's poetry and sonnets with the text of the story. Not always did I feel for Joy though. She seemed to leave her children and spend months away from them knowing the environment in which they lived. It was at times that I found her character difficult to connect with. Baring that, this was a poignant story of friendship and love, of happiness found, and of knowing that at any time when life seems to be at its lowest ebb, there is hope. Recommended to those who love the idea of literature connecting people to one another, of finding love and hope at any age, and living a life that leads to a true path of caring, devotion and fealty. Thank you to Patti Callahan, Thomas Nelson Publishing, and NetGalley for a copy of this commendable novel.
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  • Melissa Tagg
    January 1, 1970
    I don't know if I can possibly put into words how much I loved this book...or how deeply it touched me. Which is almost funny because when I started reading it, I wasn't actually sure it would end up holding my interest. But once I got going, I couldn't stop. The writing itself is just so pretty...but too, I adored the layered characters. I've seen a review here or there from folks not necessarily loving the way C.S. Lewis is portrayed or feeling let down by the character of Joy. But I loved her I don't know if I can possibly put into words how much I loved this book...or how deeply it touched me. Which is almost funny because when I started reading it, I wasn't actually sure it would end up holding my interest. But once I got going, I couldn't stop. The writing itself is just so pretty...but too, I adored the layered characters. I've seen a review here or there from folks not necessarily loving the way C.S. Lewis is portrayed or feeling let down by the character of Joy. But I loved her all the more for her faults and I loved Lewis himself all the more for the glimpses we get at his own weaknesses or uncertainty. I know this is historical fiction—not necessarily fact—but it served to make real people even more real to me. And it touched my heart in a way I really didn't expect, challenging and inspiring my own faith. If I had the teensiest of tiniest complaints it's that sometimes it felt like the dialogue was awfully polished. I mean, these are very intellectual, academic characters we're reading about, but even so...there were moments when I thought, "Could a person really be this eloquent in everyday conversation?" But again...tiny, little thing and not nearly enough for me to knock off a star. Thanks to NetGalley for the courtesy copy of this book. I wasn't required to write a review and all thoughts are my own.
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  • ☮Karen
    January 1, 1970
    "We are often woefully negligent of the women next to the men we admire, and Joy Davidman is one of those women."Patti Callahan in A Note From the Author, Becoming Mrs. LewisI knew nothing about poet and novelist Joy Davidman before, and very little about C.S. Lewis other than he has written many books that I've never had the slightest interest in. The author, however, has been a fan for years of them both and strove to make Joy's extraordinary accomplishments known. Callahan has given us the st "We are often woefully negligent of the women next to the men we admire, and Joy Davidman is one of those women."Patti Callahan in A Note From the Author, Becoming Mrs. LewisI knew nothing about poet and novelist Joy Davidman before, and very little about C.S. Lewis other than he has written many books that I've never had the slightest interest in. The author, however, has been a fan for years of them both and strove to make Joy's extraordinary accomplishments known. Callahan has given us the story of how a married Jewish woman and mother of two became a Christian with the courage to leave her husband and America, to meet her penpal and spiritual advisor Mr. Lewis, then a professor at Oxford, and eventually move to England to work side by side with him as an intellectual equal. She was his co-writer, his editor, his muse, and his love, joy, and grief. She received very little recognition.Callahan's prose had to be brilliant to convey that of Joy's, and she met that challenge. I found the book to be lovely. Only a few times did I think it verged on being preachy (both of the main characters were quite devout, but not boring), and it came pretty darn close to being a romance book, but in the end I'd simply say it was heartbreakingly romantic. Their conversations were thought provoking and intellectually stimulating, never sappy. I intend to read something by each of them.
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    BECOMING MRS. LEWIS is a book that I have been looking forward to reading for a long time. At the same time, I put it off because I was afraid it would not live up to my expectations. I had previously read JOY by Abigail Santamaria, an excellent non-fiction book about Joy Davidman and her life with C.S. Lewis. When I finally sat down and started to read the book, I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it. READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
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  • Judy Collins
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my Q&A Interview with Author Patti Callahan Henry! Thank you, Patti— so much fun. Patti Callahan Henry has been a favorite author of mine throughout the years, an avid fan –with twelve New York Times bestselling novels – she has been hailed as a “fresh new voice” in contemporary Southern fiction. I have had the opportunity of reading each of them and thoroughly enjoyed. In her latest historical fiction, the author dazzles! She vividly re-creates the world of Joy and C. S. Lewis Check out my Q&A Interview with Author Patti Callahan Henry! Thank you, Patti— so much fun. Patti Callahan Henry has been a favorite author of mine throughout the years, an avid fan –with twelve New York Times bestselling novels – she has been hailed as a “fresh new voice” in contemporary Southern fiction. I have had the opportunity of reading each of them and thoroughly enjoyed. In her latest historical fiction, the author dazzles! She vividly re-creates the world of Joy and C. S. Lewis in BECOMING MRS. LEWIS. What starts as a spiritual quest turns into history. Moving and riveting, a singular woman whom C. S. Lewis deeply loved and profoundly influenced his later writings. However, there is much about Joy some overlook behind the shadow of this influential man. We have heard the author reference in her interviews, “The endless complications and multifaceted dimensions of love and desire fascinate me—the promises these feelings prompt us to make.” Whether she is writing about friendship, forgiveness, love, the power of family, self-discovery or second chances, the author writes with lyrical prose, deep emotion from the heart, and a master at her craft. However, in BECOMING MRS. LEWIS, the author shines. A literary work of art! Illuminating. Extremely moving and memorable. A compelling and convincing book you will treasure. (Cover love). Before you finish the book, you will be returning to works of both Helen Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis —and devouring in a new light. A beautiful love story—in more ways than one. Two strong literary minds coming together as one as they try to understand life, spirituality, choices, and relationships. As Patti reiterates, this novel is written in a key of empathy for this extraordinary woman. She hopes to capture some of Joy’s courage, conflicted and sometimes disparaged choices, as well as her abiding love for a man we know as C. S. Lewis, but whom she identified as a mentor, best friend, and in the end her love, and husband. The man she knew as Jack. Indeed, Patti, you have accomplished this and more. Joy would be proud. If you have read the author’s previous books, you may have seen her scattered quotes from C.S. Lewis (1898-1963), a scholar and teacher at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities who is best known for his Narnia Chronicles for children, was an atheist for most of his early life and converted to Christianity in 1931. He was an Oxford don, a poet, an imaginative genius, a master at prose and theme. “A talented debater and writer, Lewis published many works on a wide variety of topics—but the subjects that most interest me, especially as a writer, revolve around his exploration of human longing and the search for meaning. His writing has inspired me since I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe as a child. The Screwtape Letters offers profound insights into human nature.” Now, it is not surprising Henry would dive into her latest project, penning an extraordinary novel of Joy Davidman, a poet, writer, and the woman C. S. “Jack” Lewis “my whole world.” Writing as Patti Callahan, the author traces Joy’s story from New York to London to Oxford. Joy’s life was a big part of Lewis’s and his writing. She breathes new life into a story, not often told. Through extensive research and travel, she speaks of the woman, not behind the man, but “beside him.” Now, for the first time, the author takes a closer look at this amazing woman. BECOMING MRS. LEWIS is a remarkable story of a brilliant writer. She was a force of beautiful prose and intelligence. A sophisticated and complex woman often misunderstood. A multi-award- winning poet, a novelist, a critic, and protégé of the MacDowell Colony and much more. Her impressive credentials graduated from college at fifteen and received her master’s degree in fiction from Columbia. Yet there were conflicting narratives about her life. Some thought she was a brash New Yorker who inserted herself into Lewis’s life. However, looking back to the era, this was a complicated, yet courageous woman. Everything about Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford don and Christian apologist living in England. She was a married woman who lived in Upstate New York with her two young sons. After C.S. Lewis went public with his conversion and commitment to Jesus Christ, controversy hounded him until his death. From his lack of theological sophistication, and other fundamentalists attacking his interpretation of scripture and Christian traditions. But none of these issues caused more stirring than the furor that surrounded his marriage to Helen Joy Davidman. In the mind of many of C.S. Lewis's friends, it was bad enough that a bachelor nearly sixty years old married a woman of forty. But to make matters worse, she was an American divorcee who also happened to be Jewish and the mother of two boys. How could this match possibly come about? On paper, there was not a more impossible pairing. But in the end proved a memorable love story. The author takes us back to 1927, Bronx New York to 1946 — marriage to William Lindsay Gresham (Bill). Two sons, Davy and Douglas. From an atheist moved to pray when tragedy came. A breakdown, an alcoholic and unfaithful husband, tearing him back to the bottle. She prayed for help. But to whom? An unquestionable belief. Her doubt about the Christ. A Christ, C. S. Lewis apparently believed in. Leading her to read an article by a Beloit College professor Chad Walsh. “Apostle to the Skeptics” an in-depth study of an Oxford fellow in England. A man named C. S. Lewis who was a converted atheist. Of course, she had heard of him and read some of this work. However, soon she would read everything he wrote, being drawn to the wisdom hidden in the story: The Screwtape Letters. There is much which occurred leading up to the introduction of these two literary souls in 1950. Patti Callahan takes us on the journey. The before and after. The C.S. Lewis and Chad Walsh connection provided the beginning of a spark. At Chad's suggestion, she read everything Lewis wrote as well as others. Between the New York pastor and her mentor, Chad Walsh, Joy grew in faith and began manifesting signs of genuine conversion and repentance.At Chad Walsh's urging, Joy wrote to C.S. Lewis about some of her thoughts on his books. Although Walsh assured Joy that Lewis always answered his correspondence, it took her two years to find the courage to write. When she did, in January 1950, Lewis's brother noted in his journal that Jack had received a fascinating letter from a most interesting American woman, Mrs. Gresham. For the next two and a half years Joy and C.S. Lewis carried on a rich correspondence that intellectually and spiritually encouraged each of them. Over that quarter decade, Joy's health and family problems opened the way for the famous English author and his talented American pen friend to meet. “Who is this God I now believe in? What am I to do with this Truth? Was it real at all or have I deluded myself with another cure-all that cures nothing?” Joy to Lewis. She wanted to him to see her. She wanted him to know her. “Out of the corner of his letters I experienced a different link of life: one of peace and connection and intellectual intimacy, of humor and kindness, and I indulged.”During the late 1940s Joy's health deteriorated. She suffered from nervous exhaustion while trying to raise the boys and write enough to pay all the bills. Joy finished several writing projects, including a novel, Weeping Bay, that came out with Macmillan in early 1950. Then while writing a book-length Jewish-Christian interpretation of the Ten Commandments, she became gravely ill with jaundice. Her doctor ordered rest - preferably away from the pressures of her chaotic house and family. During all this, Joy received a request from her first cousin, Renee with two children from Alabama, desperately trying to escape her abusive and alcoholic husband. Joy happily took them under her wing and the visit proved to be a help to her, as well. This provided supportive for Joy to get away to write and rejuvenate and finally meet C. S Lewis. She left America. She also left behind those who did not understand. She hated leaving the boys behind, but she knew she would return stronger and Renee was supportive. Bill wanted her to do what was best to heal (at the time). However, her church community scowled. Other women talked about her. “Did they not feel the anxiety that comes when the inner light rises and cries out, “Let me live”? She soon was seduced by England. There is much in between. She would return home, but this was not the end. From the Kilns garden, Oxford, Magdalen, to Ireland, Greece, Emerald Isle, to the Old Inn in Crawforshire—their storytelling, their extended family, and their love. The couple only married for three short years. The ecstasy in pain, the redemption of the past, love that surpassed all understanding. Books have been written, and their stories have been dissected. A remarkable couple whose lives intersected and became as one. “Grace does not tell us how long we have in our life, or what comes next—that’s why grace is given only in the moment. Unmerited mercy is never earned.” When Joy had to leave in 1960, more than ten years after she opened his first letter. He grieved. He wrote of this enveloping grief, and it became one of his most beloved books —A Grief Observed. After their marriage, he became a wonderful stepfather to Joy’s sons. He wrote two more books. These books and these works would not exist without Joy’s love and life, without his love for her. Lewis believed that Joy helped complete him as a person, and she acknowledged that he did the same for her, reflected in both their works. From a Grief Observed to The Four Loves. Those of us who have admired C. S. Lewis also should be grateful for Joy Davidman Lewis as well, since his collection would not be what it is today without their connection. “A compelling, page-turning narrative . . . BECOMING MRS. LEWIS we hope is the first of many books from Patti Callahan to re-examine history from a fresh, female contemporary point of view. Essential women, making an impact on in the world, often behind the scenes. A special thank you to Thomas Nelson @TNZFiction and #NetGalley for an early reading copy of #BecomingMrsLewis. Also pre-ordered the hardcover and audiobook. #JDCMustReadBooks
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  • Maddy
    January 1, 1970
    “How is it that my heart is breaking and yet I’ve never been so happy?” Wow, what a truly beautiful retelling this is. It’s not often I enjoy a book as much as I did this one.Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a retelling of the friendship / marriage of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. I honestly had no idea what to expect, but I definitely wanted to read a retelling of the man who created Narnia. This book is just beautiful and I absolutely loved it. The story is in first person which I used to say I wasn’t a “How is it that my heart is breaking and yet I’ve never been so happy?” Wow, what a truly beautiful retelling this is. It’s not often I enjoy a book as much as I did this one.Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a retelling of the friendship / marriage of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. I honestly had no idea what to expect, but I definitely wanted to read a retelling of the man who created Narnia. This book is just beautiful and I absolutely loved it. The story is in first person which I used to say I wasn’t a fan, but I’m hooked now after reading this. I loved getting to see how Joy and Jack’s ( C.S. Lewis ) friendship bloomed. I really enjoyed reading about Joys travel to Europe, and meeting Jack for the first time. They had so many deep conversations and were always so honest with each other that you can’t help but just love these characters.The authors writing style is just beautiful. Definitely one of the best I’ve ever read. She has a such a way with words that just sucks you right into the story. Content note : For being a Christian book there’s definitely more content than what you’d normally see in Christian fiction. There’s some language ( mainly hell, but also *ss and p*ssed ) and also some sexual references. I wouldn’t say that it was full of content, but there was definitely some things throughout it that weren’t necessary to add.
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  • Literary Soirée
    January 1, 1970
    I first read an excerpt of this stunning new book and longed for more, so was ecstatic to receive a full review copy from Thomas Nelson-Fiction. Felt like Christmas had come early, which indeed it had, as BECOMING MRS. LEWIS is everything I’d hoped for and more.Author Patti Callahan is a writer’s writer and a reader’s dream. Her prose is lush, her characterizations true, and her fictionalized account is thrilling as she retells the towering love story between C.S. Lewis, the 20th Century’s great I first read an excerpt of this stunning new book and longed for more, so was ecstatic to receive a full review copy from Thomas Nelson-Fiction. Felt like Christmas had come early, which indeed it had, as BECOMING MRS. LEWIS is everything I’d hoped for and more.Author Patti Callahan is a writer’s writer and a reader’s dream. Her prose is lush, her characterizations true, and her fictionalized account is thrilling as she retells the towering love story between C.S. Lewis, the 20th Century’s greatest Christian apologist, and Joy Davidman, Brooklyn divorcee and Jewish covert to Christianity.BECOMING MRS. LEWIS recounts the romance between these two brilliant, flawed people ... one the Oxford Don who called himself “the most reluctant covert in all England” the night he came to faith, and the other a New York writer once married to an alcoholic, desperate for hope in a life of poverty and despair. The impact of their love still resonates, through Lewis’s “A Grief Observed” written after losing his wife to cancer soon after marriage ... and now through the resplendent BECOMING MRS. LEWIS. 5 Glorious Stars!Thanks to the author, Thomas Nelson-Fiction and NetGalley for the advance copy. Opinions are fully mine.
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  • Rachel McMillan
    January 1, 1970
    Balancing Joy Davidman's pragmatic voice with a slow-rendered love story is a carefully thought out exercise in developing romance. Two largely different people come together against a circumstance that would shun them and continue to find their bond tightening. For those who know a lot about Lewis' history, Callahan's well-researched novel will take you to the more human side of the pen that crafted some of our favourite theological and fantastical tomes. It opens up the very real struggle of a Balancing Joy Davidman's pragmatic voice with a slow-rendered love story is a carefully thought out exercise in developing romance. Two largely different people come together against a circumstance that would shun them and continue to find their bond tightening. For those who know a lot about Lewis' history, Callahan's well-researched novel will take you to the more human side of the pen that crafted some of our favourite theological and fantastical tomes. It opens up the very real struggle of a man who was a product of his academic, male-dominated environment when paired with a flawed, opinionated and divorced woman. Callahan's prose expertly softens as we dive deeper into the budding relationship between Joy and Lewis and it is this expert plotting and pacing that make what this historical narrative a work of prosaic art as well as a fascinating love story.But lest you think the love story is just two kindred spirits meeting through pen and ink and finally friendship slow blooming into love, it is also a love story of awakening: Joy's realization of her self worth, her memorable conversion as well as Lewis' ability to step out of the brick and mortar mould of his misogynistic and women-free life to experience something new. For those who wonder about the spiritual themes in this work of women's historical fiction, I can say that they are treated deftly. The intersection of Christianity with Lewis and Joy is an integral part of documenting their history-- but at no time is Callahan's pen heavy handed.A lush, delightful read that marries the love story between two inimitable authors with the glorious, gold-spired, medieval delight that is Oxford. Yes, reigning Oxford is as much a character in this book as its two leads.
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  • Abigayle Claire
    January 1, 1970
    Reading the last 100 pages on Valentine's Day was a good call. This book was so full of real life that it was a little disarming. I've never read something quite so broken yet enchanting. Even though this is a work of historical fiction, it's hard to imagine anything happening differently for Joy and Jack. I loved that, even though the book was imagined to some degree, it didn't shy away from the hard things. The ugly truths. The cold facts. The real beauty of the story came from the masterful d Reading the last 100 pages on Valentine's Day was a good call. This book was so full of real life that it was a little disarming. I've never read something quite so broken yet enchanting. Even though this is a work of historical fiction, it's hard to imagine anything happening differently for Joy and Jack. I loved that, even though the book was imagined to some degree, it didn't shy away from the hard things. The ugly truths. The cold facts. The real beauty of the story came from the masterful descriptions that brought a post-war world to life and the incredible way Callahan surmised what Joy might have gone through. Because, good heavens, did she go through some things.Learning more about Joy, her sons, Lewis, his brother, and other famous writers of the 1950s was an amazing thing to partake in. Did everyone know everyone?? I would kill to have been a fly on the wall in any of the meetings between famous authors ... and that's exactly what I got to do by reading this book. And now I know that I'm not sure I could have survived the hardships of being an American female author in that era, let alone a divorced single mother transplanted to Britain. No, I never once wished to be Joy while reading the book. But getting a glimpse at what her journey might have looked like was transporting.Throughout its very well-painted, tight-knit conjecturing were some very powerful themes. Whether or not they were themes in Joy's life or Lewis's is actually irrelevant. Because they're themes of human nature itself that they both liked to study so much. The strengths and weaknesses of male and female natures and the precarious relationship between the two are on full display.I highly recommend this for people 18+ for some sexual content including immorality, but especially for those who love Lewis, historical fiction (especially post-war), or literature itself.
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  • Pam Jenoff
    January 1, 1970
    Henry has artfully novelized the true story of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman, the American woman with whom he improbably fell in love before critical illness threatened everything. This book is beautiful and bittersweet.
  • Aria
    January 1, 1970
    This was good. It was very good, actually. But I don't know....I'm iffy about the content and iffy about the theology.
  • Rosie Adle
    January 1, 1970
    My thoughts, for what they're worth... Here's a book about a woman who was determined to pursue her dreams and seek true love and so rationalized an emotional/intellectual affair and a physical leaving of family during a months-long search-for-self across an ocean. I do not have warm regard for Mrs. Lewis if even 10% of this historical fiction is fact-ish. Sometimes I, too, would rather write poems than prep meals or mend clothes, but that doesn't make me special; it makes me selfish. Her first My thoughts, for what they're worth... Here's a book about a woman who was determined to pursue her dreams and seek true love and so rationalized an emotional/intellectual affair and a physical leaving of family during a months-long search-for-self across an ocean. I do not have warm regard for Mrs. Lewis if even 10% of this historical fiction is fact-ish. Sometimes I, too, would rather write poems than prep meals or mend clothes, but that doesn't make me special; it makes me selfish. Her first marriage was junk, but it was still a marriage. I don't know why anyone should celebrate a failed marriage even if it made for a remarkable literary matchmaking down the road. Again though, the genre designation is key: historical *fiction.*
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  • Staci
    January 1, 1970
    Becoming Mrs. Lewis is about the adult life of Joy Davidson. She is in a difficult marriage and has a tough time seeing her life playing out in a different way. While I found it interesting to learn more about the life of C.S. Lewis, overall this novel didn't keep my interest.My gratitude to publisher Thomas Nelson for a complimentary copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions are my own.
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  • Megan
    January 1, 1970
    I love C.S. Lewis and even studied his life and works in college—so when I heard there was a story about his wife, the book immediately became a highly anticipated read! And upon reading “Becoming Mrs. Lewis,” I was happy to discover that the author, Ms. Callahan, possesses a superb and very engaging writing style! “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan is the story of Joy and how she became C.S. Lewis’s wife (hence the title). It’s not as much a love story as more of a picture of Joy’s journey I love C.S. Lewis and even studied his life and works in college—so when I heard there was a story about his wife, the book immediately became a highly anticipated read! And upon reading “Becoming Mrs. Lewis,” I was happy to discover that the author, Ms. Callahan, possesses a superb and very engaging writing style! “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan is the story of Joy and how she became C.S. Lewis’s wife (hence the title). It’s not as much a love story as more of a picture of Joy’s journey (intellectual, spiritual and physical). Joy Davidman struggles with a lot at the beginning of the book. It is a raw portrait of a woman in a bad situation, who sometimes makes wrong choices. She tries to find God in the midst of her struggles and to make sense of things. She is somewhat of a feminist and ahead of her time. She has a lot of courage. I love reading the letters between Joy and C.S. Lewis as she reaches out to him and they develop a strong friendship. I did start to question her feelings for Lewis though and the decisions she made while still married to another man. But I was so happy to see that she realizes her obsessive love for Lewis and that all of her life she’s been going to the wrong places to find the love she desires. Instead of seeking men to find the love she needs, she needs to go to God for this love—and she does! I was also happy that Lewis kept his distance and did not allow anything to happen while she was still married. For all the C.S. Lewis fans, there are plenty of nuggets about Lewis sprinkled throughout the book, on both his life and writing. Ms. Callahan obviously did extensive research. I love getting to hear a lot of Lewis’s thoughts and references to his works. His discussions with Joy are fascinating. I especially love when they talk about and describe “fairy land” and their longing for it. It is interesting to hear Lewis describe his conversion, which came about by a conversation with J.R.R. Tolkien (author of “The Hobbit” and “The Lord of the Rings”) about the One True Myth (Christ and the Kingdom of God). I do remember hearing in college some controversial things about Lewis and his relationship with Joy. Lewis wasn’t always a conventional, conservative Christian. I think instead of trying to glorify Lewis and Joy, the author seeks to portray a portrait of two people with human sins and struggles, who also love God and have both contributed great works to Christian literature and thinking. Content: I give this book a PG-13 rating and it’s more geared towards adults. Some examples of the content are: a child is physically abused; a man has PTSD; a woman’s husband has an affair and drinks; a woman curses, but the word isn’t actually written; a man attempted suicide in the past; a woman had an affair with a married man; a man smokes; the main character recalls her experience of seeing a person commit suicide; a reference to making love; the Lord’s name is taken in vain; talk of affairs and sex (nothing explicit).Rating: I give this book 4 stars.Genre: Christian fiction; Historical fiction; RomanceI want to thank TLC Book Tours, Patti Callahan and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.
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  • Annie
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5. I knew very little about Mrs. C.S. Lewis and what I did know I got from the movie Shadowlands (Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger). And of course, I have read several of C.S. Lewis' books. This is the story of Joy Davidman and how she came to be Mrs. Clive Lewis. At times the book felt too much like a romance novel and I don't like romance novels. But this book is so well written and so informative that I could look beyond that mush. The research by I loved this book. I give it 4.5 stars out of 5. I knew very little about Mrs. C.S. Lewis and what I did know I got from the movie Shadowlands (Anthony Hopkins and Debra Winger). And of course, I have read several of C.S. Lewis' books. This is the story of Joy Davidman and how she came to be Mrs. Clive Lewis. At times the book felt too much like a romance novel and I don't like romance novels. But this book is so well written and so informative that I could look beyond that mush. The research by Patti Calahan is super impressive AND she is just a really good writer. I loved the way Callahan led each chapter with a couplet from Davidman's sonnets--it was as if she used the sonnets as the outline for the book. This book is about Joy Davidman, and secondarily about C.S. Lewis. I had no idea what an impressive woman and writer that Davidman was in her own right. Also, the literary community they were part of was fun to read about--it felt like such a natural way to namedrop because it was their life. Reminded me of the literary world of Hemingway and the art world of Picasso. Again, Callahan's research was amazing--make sure you read her notes at the end of the book. Because of this book I'm going to go read Joy Davidman for the first time and reread some of C.S. Lewis. Thank you HarperCollins for sharing this book with me.
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  • Eva
    January 1, 1970
    After a recent surge of personal interest in the Chronicles of Narnia, I was really looking forward to reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis. However, it wasn't the book for me. The author writes beautifully (I'd like to learn some of her secrets) but the book itself was quite uninteresting and left me depressed instead of uplifted. Joy Davidman led, in many ways, a depressing life and that translated into this book. We didn't get to see much (if any) of her happiness with Lewis - only her struggles and f After a recent surge of personal interest in the Chronicles of Narnia, I was really looking forward to reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis. However, it wasn't the book for me. The author writes beautifully (I'd like to learn some of her secrets) but the book itself was quite uninteresting and left me depressed instead of uplifted. Joy Davidman led, in many ways, a depressing life and that translated into this book. We didn't get to see much (if any) of her happiness with Lewis - only her struggles and failures. There was very little joy in this book (ironically enough).I also found the amount of inappropriate content too much for a Christian book. Some swearing (mostly the h-word) and sexual references also contributed to my negative opinion of this book. And I don't agree with many of Joy's choices, so there's that as well.I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    I spent a lovely weekend getting lost in Becoming Mrs. Lewis! Never has a character walked the pages of a book and seemed so alive to me. The love story between Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis is not the traditional love story. It is filled with determination, confidence, and a deep respect and admiration. I was in awe of their story. It was clearly well researched and lovingly put together by the author.
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  • Mary Monroe
    January 1, 1970
    This was the book Patti was born to write!
  • Zoe
    January 1, 1970
    Vivid, compelling, and immersive!Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Joy Davidman, the American writer and poet who through a shared conviction of Christianity and love of writing became a close confidant, friend, and wife of the famous fantasy writer, C.S. Lewis until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1960.It is a story about familial responsibilities, strength, friendship, kindness, encouragement, support, passion, desire, loss, and love.Davidman was a Vivid, compelling, and immersive!Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an intriguing interpretation about the life of Joy Davidman, the American writer and poet who through a shared conviction of Christianity and love of writing became a close confidant, friend, and wife of the famous fantasy writer, C.S. Lewis until her untimely death from breast cancer in 1960.It is a story about familial responsibilities, strength, friendship, kindness, encouragement, support, passion, desire, loss, and love.Davidman was a strong, intelligent, forthright woman who not only found peace, contentment, and fulfillment through Christianity in midlife but also found her true self.The prose is clear and precise. And the plot takes us back to the late 1940s to the early 1960s, from Ossining, NY to Oxford, England and tells the story of a life filled with loneliness, abuse, poverty, grace, riches, success, motherhood, and romance.Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a well written, captivating, rich story by Callahan that does a remarkable job of highlighting her incredible knowledge and research into this complex, historical figure who is often unknown, forgotten or overlooked.Thank you to NetGalley, especially Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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  • debbicat ☮~Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    Oh so good! ALL the stars for this heart gripping read which was page turner for me. The book states: "The improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis"And that it is. I knew some of this story. But a lot I didn't. And it's so much more than that.I have been a fan of CS Lewis for many years; starting with a little cartoon movie called, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I believe I saw with some church friends at a college and career get together. I don't remember what year, but it wa Oh so good! ALL the stars for this heart gripping read which was page turner for me. The book states: "The improbable love story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis"And that it is. I knew some of this story. But a lot I didn't. And it's so much more than that.I have been a fan of CS Lewis for many years; starting with a little cartoon movie called, "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I believe I saw with some church friends at a college and career get together. I don't remember what year, but it was likely the late 80's. The Aslan character and his sacrifice (and the magic of the stone table) stuck with me for a long time to come. I don't know when it was, but sometime later I discovered this little cartoon was based on a book and I looked for the author. I devoured the books about Narnia with such fascination in the early 90's and began many of Lewis' other books such as The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters. By now I've read a lot of his writings and own many. While many love this man and credit him as being part of their own spiritual journey, I know I do; not as much has been heard about the woman who captured his heart and he loved very deeply. Other than Shadowlands (the movie made about their romance) I didn't know nearly as much about Joy. This book is about her. And I loved every word of it! Every word. She is a hero of sorts in her own right. Very human and flawed. Someone I'd love to spend some time with. I can't find words right now to tell you how much this book has meant to me as I am questioning/finding/rediscovering some own things about my faith. I take a lot of courage and hope away from this book. I will buy a copy when it is published in October 2018. It needs to have a home on my personal bookshelf. It will be well loved. I am so very thankful to NetGalley, Patti Callahan, and Thomas Nelson for a digital ARC to read in exchange for a review. It's well researched and has touched my soul. This is my favorite read of 2018 thus far. I highly recommend it!
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  • The Lit Bitch
    January 1, 1970
    Full disclosure, I haven’t read the Narnia books and I know next to nothing about C.S. Lewis’s life beyond the fact that he wrote the Narnia books. Now I have seen the Narnia movies and I love the story and when my boy is old enough, I plan on reading the Narnia books together with him.So it didn’t take much convincing—–ok any convincing—-for my to read this book about Lewis’s wife. I didn’t even need to read the review pitch, the title told me everything I needed to know.This book right here wa Full disclosure, I haven’t read the Narnia books and I know next to nothing about C.S. Lewis’s life beyond the fact that he wrote the Narnia books. Now I have seen the Narnia movies and I love the story and when my boy is old enough, I plan on reading the Narnia books together with him.So it didn’t take much convincing—–ok any convincing—-for my to read this book about Lewis’s wife. I didn’t even need to read the review pitch, the title told me everything I needed to know.This book right here was about equals. Equals in intellect, love, and in life. I loved the portrayal of both Joy and Jack. I thought the author did an incredible job at making them both interesting and realistic. Novelizations aren’t always easy, but I think that the author made them a flawless pairing and I loved reading their romance.It wasn’t a romance that quickly evolved, instead the author took her time building it up throughout the book and her efforts showed. It was well researched historically and the romance was so solid because of the care she took developing it, that it made it so vivid and real.I never wanted to put a bookmark in this one. It kept me up well past my reading time because the characters were so lovable and their romance so endearing that I couldn’t help but want to read more and more. When it needed it left me feeling happy and hopeful and I couldn’t have asked for me in a romance. It now makes me want to read the Narnia books even more now!This was a book that I didn’t even plan on reviewing. Had someone not suggested it to me, it probably would have flown under my radar and I would have missed out on a fantastic novel! I am so thankful that my friend (and tour coordinator) was able to recognize a book that I would probably love, because I absolutely loved this book!And finally, whoever designed this cover did an outstanding job! It was engaging and eye catching and made me want to read this novel!See my full review here
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  • Lisa Patton
    January 1, 1970
    i knew nothing about CS Lewis's love life before reading this wonderful novel. Patti Callahan's writing brings the riveting love story between the famed novelist/theologian and Joy Davidman to life. The characters were relatable and real and I turned each page anxious to know what happens next. The author gives a front row seat view into their world and it made me want to know more about both of them. Excellent!
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  • Kellyn Roth
    January 1, 1970
    4.5/5??? And I'm not sure what the .5 was detracted for. Me not having a big enough brain for the book, perhaps? ;POkay, I guess I'll have to return with a review. I don't have intelligent brain thoughts right now - just some feelings.Also, I know nothing about C.S. Lewis's life, because I had no idea Joy even existed. ;) And then my mom was like, "How could you not know that???!!!" Me: "YOU DIDN'T TEACH ME, MRS. IS-MY-ONLY-TEACHER." But apparently in the past I've picked up so much random knowl 4.5/5??? And I'm not sure what the .5 was detracted for. Me not having a big enough brain for the book, perhaps? ;POkay, I guess I'll have to return with a review. I don't have intelligent brain thoughts right now - just some feelings.Also, I know nothing about C.S. Lewis's life, because I had no idea Joy even existed. ;) And then my mom was like, "How could you not know that???!!!" Me: "YOU DIDN'T TEACH ME, MRS. IS-MY-ONLY-TEACHER." But apparently in the past I've picked up so much random knowledge that it is shocking when I don't know everything about people I admire. (p.s. Keira Knightley has dyslexia AND IS ROCKING IT.)
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