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
ReleaseOct 2nd, 2018
PublisherThomas Nelson
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance, Christian Fiction

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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Enchantress 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Jeanette Lewis
    January 1, 1970
    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.The very essence of the extraordinary Joy Davidman (Gresham) (Lewis) has been beautifully captured by this author, Patti Callahan. Joy Davidman was a high achiever even with acute illnesses suffered as a child. The author refers to the continuation of health problems in the book and it is from this perhaps that the fantasies and religious beliefs of C S Lewis I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.The very essence of the extraordinary Joy Davidman (Gresham) (Lewis) has been beautifully captured by this author, Patti Callahan. Joy Davidman was a high achiever even with acute illnesses suffered as a child. The author refers to the continuation of health problems in the book and it is from this perhaps that the fantasies and religious beliefs of C S Lewis had such an appeal to this woman. There is an underlying sentiment captured by the author that Joy Davidman appears not to be the style of female her mother wanted, not pretty enough, spoke loudly, over confident and bookish but perhaps the mother was jealous of her daughter’s high intellect. First husband Bill is a put-downer as well, even with his own successful writings he is obviously jealous of his wife and so to extinguish any belief of self he criticises her lack of housekeeping and mothering skills, odd thinking after all she is an academic why would he think she would be anything else after marrying. He is an alcoholic probably as a result of PTSD, and a womaniser for which Joy is aware of. With all this the couple follow a Christian belief but seem to have little understanding of the essence of this belief. The reader will have the sense that Joy Davidman is drowning, her strong personality and resilience begin to fail her. Jewish, then an atheist and then a Christian, looking for a spiritual meaning. It’s no wonder that when she starts to correspond with and then meets C S Lewis after travelling to England she becomes obsessed with this man. She is obsessed with all things English, doesn’t seem to see the grey and wet days, fog and smog as well as the war time destruction of the country. Many at ‘Oxford” would not have been impressed with this American woman, her speech pattern, accent, her loudness and probably her pushiness would grate on their acute snobbishness and self perceived refinement. However possibly due to the war the general community that Joy is introduced to extends a hand of real friendship and assistance. Her determination returns to her in England even though the author refers to the constant lack of financial resources. To leave one’s children in the care of an alcoholic husband and live-in female relative shows that there is a naivety and borderline narcissism on Davidman’s behalf. On returning to the United States Joy makes plans to separate from her husband and to take the two boys back to England. Her obsession/love for C S Lewis is not reciprocated until end of life. Lewis’s experiences with a Jane Moore are only briefly acknowledged in the book and not pursued by Joy as is the obvious too deep attachment Lewis had with his mother. Of course being an Anglican where divorce is not recognised at this time is a stumbling block for Lewis also a physical sexual involvement early in the peace would have changed the entire relationship. The fondness towards Joy from Lewis appears to be more brotherly until Joy’s illness late in the book where Lewis aware that he is about to lose another woman close to him realises his own real love for Joy.
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  • Theresa Smith Writes
    January 1, 1970
    ‘The pair of Barbary lions ambled forward, placing their great paws on the earth, muscles dangerous and rippling beneath their fur as they approached the bars. A great grace surrounded them, as if they had come to understand their fate and accept it with roaring dignity. Their manes were deep and tangled as a forest. I fell into the endless universe of their large amber eyes as they allowed, even invited, me to reach through the iron and wind my fingers into their fur. They’d been tamed beyond t ‘The pair of Barbary lions ambled forward, placing their great paws on the earth, muscles dangerous and rippling beneath their fur as they approached the bars. A great grace surrounded them, as if they had come to understand their fate and accept it with roaring dignity. Their manes were deep and tangled as a forest. I fell into the endless universe of their large amber eyes as they allowed, even invited, me to reach through the iron and wind my fingers into their fur. They’d been tamed beyond their wild nature, and I felt a kinship with them that caused a trembling in my chest.They indulged me with a return gaze, their warm weight pressed into my palm, and I knew that capture had damaged their souls.“I’m sorry,” I whispered every time. “We were meant to be free.”’This beautiful scene appears at the end of the prologue of this novel. When I read it, I just felt a shiver, this welling of something inside me that made me feel like I was about to read something very special. This anticipation was not left dangling in the wind. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an absolutely glorious novel. I truly loved it so much. It made me smile so often, it made me weep until my eyes couldn’t see the page any longer. It has an old world feel to it, the type of novel that is not rushed, it allows you to rest in the moments and truly feel them. The writing is exquisite and the character development extensive. It’s a completely immersive experience.‘Desperation fuels one to believe idiocy is insight.’This is Joy’s story. As we travel through the years with her, from that first letter she sends to C.S. Lewis seeking his advice, right through to the end of her life when she is his wife, we see the many faces of Joy: wife, mother, friend, daughter, cousin, sister in law, writer, and woman. She was loved by many, loathed by some, and through it all she was incredibly authentic and brilliantly talented. I had not even heard of her before reading this novel and now I want to keep reading about her, learn everything there is to know, experience her writing and ponder on the woman she was; incredibly brave and smart, loving and honourable, and always true to herself.‘When I finished, my heart stretched as if waking from a long and lazy slumber, and a secret hope fell over me.’Layered in with Joy’s story is something that will strike a chord with any woman who is juggling the various roles we take on in life. The author examines the trickiness of balancing a creative career with domestic duties, being a mother as well as a wife, the poverty women can face when getting divorced, and the struggles to be heard and taken seriously when your health is suffering; all universal themes that transcend the years and are so easily recognisable as issues women continue to grapple with today. I could relate to so much of Joy’s life, her introspection mirrored some of my own and I enjoyed how the author really dug into these themes in an exploratory fashion, not only with regards to Joy, but with the other women that featured as well.‘There must be another way to live a woman’s life – make it our own. I want to find out who I am beyond all these expectations that fold us into a neat box. I want to unfold.’Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a novel that quietly unfolds. It’s a real character study, not only of Joy, but also of those who are in her life. We really get to know the people in this story. It’s filled with literary conversations between writers, intellectual meeting of the minds between colleagues, inspirational brainstorming sessions between Joy, Jack (C.S. Lewis) and Warnie (Jack’s brother). There is a lot of reflection on writing as a craft as well falling deep into individual pieces of writing and what inspired them and how they were then honed to be their very best. And of course, there is a lot about Narnia. It’s so wonderful, later in the novel, to read those scenes where Joy is reading unpublished manuscripts of The Chronicles of Narnia to her sons at bedtime. One of the Narnia novels was dedicated to the boys by Jack, and it was lovely to find out in the epilogue that Joy’s son, Douglas, ended up producing the Narnia films in adulthood. This really is a novel for people who love literature, who want to know more about writers and of course for anyone who loves the works of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. I adored the arrangement of the novel. It’s broken into parts, and each part is prefaced by a line from The Chronicles of Narnia. Then each chapter is prefaced by Joy’s own words, taken from her sonnets that she wrote for years. These sonnets form a picture of her feelings about so many things, but most especially about Jack. The epilogue at the end is then prefaced by a line from The Chronicles of Narnia, a fitting end when you get there and know what it is telling you. It was just so beautifully arranged.The love story between Joy and Jack was exquisitely rendered. It was a true intellectual meeting of the minds, two people who clicked, creatively and spiritually. Their love was hard fought for and took a long time to be realised. There was unfolding to it, not just a moving through stages but also a building of awareness, an acceptance of fate while still holding back as a means of preserving what currently existed between them. Very much a risk versus reward scenario. It was very proper, restrained, but also all consuming. You could feel the emotion shimmering in certain scenes, and it’s this depiction of love, rather than a romantic set of interludes that truly appealed to me, that gave their relationship a well of depth that I would be hard-pressed to find a match for in any other novel. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is truly a great love story, one of the greatest and most meaningful, that I have ever read.‘I laughed in return so fully that we both bent forward to clasp our knees, leaning toward each other face to face. It was there we paused, close, only inches. It would only take one of us to close the gap, and finally our lips would touch. But for now, it was only our smiles that met across the inches of space between us.’Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a long novel, and not one you will want to read fast. It’s filled with beautiful prose to linger over, long conversations, atmospheric writing related tours of Oxford, Cambridge and London. There are plenty of cups of tea and glasses of brandy, long bracing walks and philosophical discussions on everything from the existence of God to debates over what are the most credible magical realms. This novel filled me with joy, on so many occasions, and while it also broke my heart at times, I feel enriched for having read it. Patti Callahan is a magnificent writer and I will be making a point of reading everything she writes from here on in. I highly recommend Becoming Mrs. Lewis to lovers of literature, history and fictionalised biographies.‘For each season I’d hiked it since, the flowers and trees had shown new faces. In fall, the leaves dropping one by one until the trees bared their skeletons, the acorns plopping to the ground like footsteps. In winter I’d crunched over frosted grass, seen the white landscape of barren trees crystallised with ice. A season later I’d swatted at nettles and memorised the woodland flowers, multihued, their faces lifted to the spring sun. Now summer, the heat and breeze mixing in an intoxicating scent of new grass and damp earth.’Thanks is extended to Thomas Nelson via NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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  • Lauren Denton
    January 1, 1970
    I didn’t know anything about Joy Davidman before reading this book, other than she was the wife of C.S. Lewis. What a fiery and whip-smart woman, mother, and writer. I loved seeing peeks into her writing life, the blossoming relationship between her and “Jack,” and the gorgeous English settings. Patti wove fact and fiction together seamlessly and wrote in her signature style that had me turning down pages so I could go back and reread lines again later.
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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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  • Janet
    January 1, 1970
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher-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, no I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher-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.It was soon into this book that I realized why I recognized the story: it was the movie “Shadowlands” starring Anthony Hopkins, Debra Winger and a few boxes of Kleenex as it was such a sad story. I always found it fascinating that the man who wrote “The Narnia Chronicles” (which did have traditional Christian themes, but also characters and ideas from Greek and Roman mythology and British/Irish fairy tales) was such a well-known hardline Christian theologian, writer, and professor. His passion was obviously his work until he met Joy. Joy is the PERFECT NAME and it was her real name. She brought Joy into his passionless life as she searched for answers, especially poignant after she married him and they realized that she was terminally ill and that love cannot conquer all. This book was a joy as well: historical fiction is always a tricky genre as it is the truth but fictionalized truth so it must be read with a grain of salt. This book, too, needs Kleenex as it made me do an ugly cry even though I knew the ending. This is a perfect book for lovers of biography and the notion that anyone can be loved, be loveable and give love even at the hardest time of their lives…five ugly-cry stars.
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  • Signe Pike
    January 1, 1970
    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.Henry brings us into the room with literary behemoths like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in such a vivid and yet still very human way. I loved experiencing these great writers through the window of her 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.Henry brings us into the room with literary behemoths like Tolkien and C.S. Lewis in such a vivid and yet still very human way. I loved experiencing these great writers through the window of her imagination, and came away feeling that I too, had spent time with these fascinating men. Joy Davidman was a deep-feeling and sharp-minded woman, author and poet. I especially loved seeing inclusions from her poetry at many of the chapter headings throughout the book. The real and the imagined worlds meet here, and to me they were seamless.
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  • Terena Bell
    January 1, 1970
    The world is full of "books." This is a true novel, in the definition of the art form. It's not a fun read. Nor is it an easy read. It's full on literature that takes time to digest: Well-structured and impeccably planned, deep themes and thorough characterization drive the novel to completion. Told in the first-person, the narrative feels so intimate, you actually forget you're reading historical fiction and not a memoir.Of all the ARCs I received at Book Expo, this is by far the best done. Cal The world is full of "books." This is a true novel, in the definition of the art form. It's not a fun read. Nor is it an easy read. It's full on literature that takes time to digest: Well-structured and impeccably planned, deep themes and thorough characterization drive the novel to completion. Told in the first-person, the narrative feels so intimate, you actually forget you're reading historical fiction and not a memoir.Of all the ARCs I received at Book Expo, this is by far the best done. Callahan has clearly put a lot of work into this and it shows. BECOMING MRS LEWIS isn't some Johnny come lately summer read; it's art.
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  • ami webster mcconnell
    January 1, 1970
    This book blew my hair back. So. Stinkin. Good! Evocative writing, strong sense of place, and lucid insight into Joy Davidman—a woman every bit the writer and thinker her esteemed husband was. A tender and true love story.
  • Nora St Laurent
    January 1, 1970
    This story has a slow beginning and I wasn’t sure where it was headed. I had no knowledge of Joy Davidman and knew very little of C.S. Lewis’s personal life. The author took her time in having you get to know Joy, her situation, her heart, her troubled marriage, children and her mind as she seeks God and His ways with all her might.After Joy has an encounter with God and shares it with her husband I couldn’t put the book down. This story gets into your heart and camps out there for a while as I This story has a slow beginning and I wasn’t sure where it was headed. I had no knowledge of Joy Davidman and knew very little of C.S. Lewis’s personal life. The author took her time in having you get to know Joy, her situation, her heart, her troubled marriage, children and her mind as she seeks God and His ways with all her might.After Joy has an encounter with God and shares it with her husband I couldn’t put the book down. This story gets into your heart and camps out there for a while as I felt for these flawed people and watched them answer God’s call. It made me reflect and changed my perspective on a few things as this author respectively shares about affairs, drinking, relationships and walking out what God says we are.Part One- takes place in America 1927 covers Joy’s childhood and marriage to Bill Gresham a writer, atheist, alcoholic and womanizer. Each chapter begins with a sentence from Joy and/or Jack’s writings. The first is, “You would not have called to me unless I had been calling to you.” Aslan, The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis.Joy and Bill start their research, reading philosophy books, religious texts and pamphlets. They both didn’t know how to make since of it all. That’s when a friend suggested they contact C.S. Lewis. They should ask him their questions about God since Mr. Lewis was an atheist and then found God. Joy wrote a letter and C.S. Lewis replied. They became pen pals.Part two Joy heads to England 1953 to stay with friends. After a month or so in England she meets C.S. Lewis and friends.…The three of us (the Lewis brothers and Joy) talked about our favorite books, what had influenced our childhoods and our minds, and most importantly what had ignited our imaginations. Our imaginations. Our voices grew quiet as we drew closer and closer to each other.”Part three takes place in America during Jan 1953 – Nov. 1953 I enjoyed how the author filled the reader in on historical world events taking place in England and America, so they could get a sense of what was happening in that time periods.Part four was back to England 1953 -1960. Joy accepts a copy of Mere Christianity from C.S. Lewis. “My eyes flashed with tears and I hoped he didn’t notice. “This book changed my life, “ I told Jack.“No. God changed your life. My book just jolly well appeared at the right time.” This was a heart-felt compelling story I couldn’t stop thinking about. I enjoyed that the author was transparent about Joy’s life and loves. Her battle to stay married with an alcoholic unfaithful man, who she started on this faith journey with and he fell away. I enjoyed what the author shared in her note to readers. “As with any life, there are discrepancies within the many stories that have been written about both Jack and Joy; there are myths and assumptions that have been told and retold. I did my best to gather all the information, compare it, and unravel it to tell a story that relates an emotional truth. This novel was written with the back bone of research and the work of those who have come before me, yet in fiction, imagination and inspiration must fill the gaps. I have attempted to capture Joy’s courage and fierce determination, as well as tap into the landscape of her heart.”The author brilliantly interlaced her research, the writings of both Joy and Jack Lewis and their faith journey experiences into this novel. She showed God's love is limitless and powerful and unrelenting. He will never abandon us even when it may seem that way with certain trials Jack and Joy endured. As I read the last few chapters tears filled my eyes as I felt Joy and Jack’s pain and rejoiced with them in the precious gift of unconditional love and time. What words do I use to describe this beautiful novel and the powerful message inside? I don’t think I can do an acquit job. It’s something you have to experience. Joy says, “I hadn’t known that love would arrive in the most unlikely of places…I hadn’t known that love could not be earned or bought or manipulated; it was just this – complete peace in the other’s presence. All the years wasted believing that love meant owning or possessing, and now the greatest love had arrived in my greatest weakness. In my supreme defeat came my grandest victory. God’s paradoxes had no end.”I enjoyed reading how Joy knew C.S. Lewis as mentor, best friend, and then as husband and lover. This story is rich with so much to talk about. I highly recommend it for your reading pleasure and/or for your next book club pick. I’m on a mission now to check out these authors books. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher/NetGalley.. 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”Nora St. LaurentTBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.orgThe Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Magazine https://www.bookfun.org/page/past-iss...SVP Promotion
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  • Nadine Keels
    January 1, 1970
    They'd been tamed beyond their wild nature...and I knew that capture had damaged their souls."I'm sorry," I whispered every time. "We were meant to be free."Becoming Mrs. Lewis by author Patti Callahan: the story of Joy Davidman and the man who would one day be her husband, C. S. Lewis. Or Jack, to those who knew him.Yes, it was my recognition of Lewis and his works, my fondness for Narnia, and my remembrance of A Grief Observed that drew my attention to this fictionalized account. But no, I was They'd been tamed beyond their wild nature...and I knew that capture had damaged their souls."I'm sorry," I whispered every time. "We were meant to be free."Becoming Mrs. Lewis by author Patti Callahan: the story of Joy Davidman and the man who would one day be her husband, C. S. Lewis. Or Jack, to those who knew him.Yes, it was my recognition of Lewis and his works, my fondness for Narnia, and my remembrance of A Grief Observed that drew my attention to this fictionalized account. But no, I wasn't looking for a novel romanticizing or idolizing Davidman and Lewis as if they weren't real, flawed human beings, more than just their well-known literature. To that point, I'm glad this isn't a historical "romance."Even so, it's one of those rare times when I can't accurately rate how I feel about a book--and not only because I decided not to finish it (though I did read most of it.)This author's style is seasoned, unrushed, and rich, and there were moments in the reading that gave me wonderful pause. Joy as a girl, empathizing with lions in captivity. The idea that we wouldn't get where we are without what we've gone through. Observing Joy, her children, and Jack, then going back to look at the dedication in one of my copies of Narnia and saying, "Ooohhh." Contemplating a life beyond one's own captivity: "What on earth would become of me if I should ever grow brave?"And, of course, my writer self understanding so much about characters who are writers.Yet, though I do enjoy dense novels when I can, this one was hard for me to keep pushing through. I found much of it depressing. A resolution here but then more despair there. Continual, increasing longing, going unfulfilled. I can appreciate stories of people slowly growing in love, but when it's a moral dilemma, a constant struggle against a character's conscience, it's like reading about a whole lot of feelings that feel wrong. Once I got to Joy and Harry, I couldn't push on much further.I'm not sorry I gave this novel a chance, though._________BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.
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  • Cupcake Book Lady
    January 1, 1970
    Joy wants to live every day as if it it filled with wonder, not exhausted by the chores of maintaining a house and being a wife and mother. Her mind is filled with questions about God and Christianity, and what to do about her alcoholic, cheating husband, which she formulates into poetry and essays. Then, fatefully, through her husband, also a writer, she contacts the famous author C.S. Lewis and begins a lifetime of correspondence and intellectual and spiritual debate. Their friendship guides h Joy wants to live every day as if it it filled with wonder, not exhausted by the chores of maintaining a house and being a wife and mother. Her mind is filled with questions about God and Christianity, and what to do about her alcoholic, cheating husband, which she formulates into poetry and essays. Then, fatefully, through her husband, also a writer, she contacts the famous author C.S. Lewis and begins a lifetime of correspondence and intellectual and spiritual debate. Their friendship guides her out of darkness and helps her find purpose and answers to many, though not all, of her life’s questions, and inspires her seek the truth and to write more.While the excessive use of direct address can be rather distracting, and sometimes the inner dialogue a bit repetitive, this fictional account also contains a very honest, very human narration of the mental battle of doubts and faith. Joy is portrayed as very human; at times, uncomfortably so, when the book particularly crosses the line in a sexualized moment with Mr. Lewis. Not that either character is a prude. But some of these elements detract from, rather than add to the power of their story. However, the longing Joy has for “Jack” (Lewis) is very evident, if dragged out to the point of frustration, but this is probably the author's aim as the novel builds to a climactic ending. This is a book for romantics, not precise biographers or historians. Ultimately it is a story about a woman finding God's grace, in relationships, in pain, in circumstances, and even in her faith, as it conquers her misconceptions of a wrathful God and displaces fears with peace she finds, in life and with death.I was given an ARC from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are solely my own.
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  • Claire
    January 1, 1970
    4.5***** What a strong woman Joy Davidson was and what a beautiful but heartaching, heartbreaking relationship she formed with C. S. Lewis. I have to admit I'd never heard of Joy before reading a friends review of this book and other than a love of the Narnia series I know next to nothing about C. S. Lewis either. Joy was a wonderful character in this fictionalised retelling based on much research about both Joy and C. S who we come to know as Jack. She truly was inspirational in her ability to 4.5***** What a strong woman Joy Davidson was and what a beautiful but heartaching, heartbreaking relationship she formed with C. S. Lewis. I have to admit I'd never heard of Joy before reading a friends review of this book and other than a love of the Narnia series I know next to nothing about C. S. Lewis either. Joy was a wonderful character in this fictionalised retelling based on much research about both Joy and C. S who we come to know as Jack. She truly was inspirational in her ability to make the most of life and be willing eventually to take a chance on a new life in the hope it would be better for her and her children. My heartached for Joy through much of this story and the end, well, have a tissue or two ready. The story covers over 14 years of Joy's life and 10 of those cover her correspondence and relationship with Jack. Watching this relationship grow and change was really wonderful. The connection these two people had was incredible and the impact knowing Joy had on Jack and his writing was huge. After reading this I'd like to read some of Joy's work and some more of Jack's. A beautiful love story about two incredibly talented people.Thanks to NetGalley and Thomas Nelson for a copy in return for an honest review.
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  • Marsi Darcy
    January 1, 1970
    What a book! I found it to be an emotional story about love and loss. It's a slow read but beautifully written. I loved how actual quotes of Joy & Jack's were used throughout. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Thomas Nelson through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to Thomas Nelson & NetGalley for the ARC.
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  • Ginger
    January 1, 1970
    The writing here is not fantastic (though it has fine moments), but the story and characters are more than enough to carry it.If you enjoyed this, and haven't read A Severe Mercy, do so immediately. You'll immediately see the crossovers and similarities.
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  • Cate
    January 1, 1970
    I was fortunate enough to devour an advanced readers copy. I completely disappeared into this novel. It was such a treat for the soul. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a historical fiction novel about the unlikely love story between beloved British author, C. S. Lewis, and his American wife, Joy Davidman. This is not a romance novel, but a beautifully imagined account of a fascinating friendship between two intellectuals who experienced similar conversion experiences, then went on to fall into a deep and I was fortunate enough to devour an advanced readers copy. I completely disappeared into this novel. It was such a treat for the soul. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a historical fiction novel about the unlikely love story between beloved British author, C. S. Lewis, and his American wife, Joy Davidman. This is not a romance novel, but a beautifully imagined account of a fascinating friendship between two intellectuals who experienced similar conversion experiences, then went on to fall into a deep and abiding love. If you are a fan of Lewis's Narnia books, you'll be transported in time to his home, The Kilns, and the actual property that inspired them. Patti’s extensive research contributed rich personal details to this stirring novel. You will be captivated by this heart-achingly beautiful story of love and redemption.
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  • Laurie
    January 1, 1970
    I learned so much about C.S. Lewis! Did a lot of post reading research on him and Joy. This will definitely inspire me to go back and read some of his books now that I know the stories behind them! I got this copy from net galley but just might need to buy the hardcover!
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  • Bonnie Callahan
    January 1, 1970
    This is truly a masterful story of a fascinating, powerful and gifted woman, Joy Davidman, and the well know and brilliant writer, CS Lewis. Blending the life story of Joy and one of the most gifted writers ever, CS Lewis, and the path of their relationship and their ensuing love for one another, is truly a brilliant story by Patti Callahan. It will hold you captive from the first chapter. Patti's writing of this unlikely friendship is her best work to date. She has obviously done massive resear This is truly a masterful story of a fascinating, powerful and gifted woman, Joy Davidman, and the well know and brilliant writer, CS Lewis. Blending the life story of Joy and one of the most gifted writers ever, CS Lewis, and the path of their relationship and their ensuing love for one another, is truly a brilliant story by Patti Callahan. It will hold you captive from the first chapter. Patti's writing of this unlikely friendship is her best work to date. She has obviously done massive research in both the US and England in order to produce this novel. With her impressive descriptions of these famous locations, you will feel like you are there with the characters as you read it. You do not want to miss this historical novel.
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