Posted as part of a blog tour with TLC Book Tours
~ About the Book ~
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.
Genre: Biographical Fiction
Release date: 2 October 2018
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
~ Excerpt ~
Didn’t most everything begin with words? In the beginning was the word—even the Bible touted that truth. So it was with my friendship with Lewis.
I descended from my second-story office in our farmhouse into the frigid January day to grab the mail. Two separate trains of thought ran along the tracks of my mind: What would I cook the family for dinner? And how would my second novel, Weeping Bay, be received into the world in a few months?
Frosted grass crunched under my boots as I strode to the mailbox and opened it. As I flipped through the pile, my heart beat in double time. On top of the pile of bills, correspondence, and a Presbyterian Life magazine was a letter from Oxford, England. I held the white envelope with the airmail stamp of a young King George in profile, his crown hovering over his head, in my hand. In slanted, tight cursive handwriting the return address stated C. S. Lewis across the top left corner.
He’d finally written a reply. I ran my gloved finger across his name, and hope rose like an early spring flower in my chest. I needed his advice—my life felt unhinged from the new beliefs I’d thought would save me, and C. S. Lewis knew the Truth. Or I hoped he did.
Taken from “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” by Patti Callahan
Copyright © 2018 by Patti Callahan
Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/
~ Review ~
This was a thoroughly captivating read for so many reasons. First of all, who can resist a real-life love story? Especially when it involves someone as beloved as C.S. Lewis. Secondly, while our life circumstances vary widely, I whole-heartedly identified with Joy’s passionately intellectual personality, always seeking answers and thriving on stimulating discussion. It felt like an immense privilege to ‘sit’ with Joy and Jack and listen in as they discussed matters of life, faith, friendship, and love through the ten years they knew one another. Thirdly, Joy’s story was compelling in itself as she struggled with her writing career, an unhappy marriage, and poor health.
I didn’t really know anything of Joy’s story before picking up this book, so perhaps I don’t speak with much authority when I say this, but the story seemed very well researched, and I enjoyed the author’s notes detailing this at the end of the book. Callahan’s characterisation was masterful, vividly capturing every facet of Joy’s emotional journey: her internal conflict as her friendship with Jack flourished—via correspondence and eventually in person—while her marriage foundered; her later frustration and confusion as Jack “pressed his heart and mind as close to me as skin to bone” even as he remained unwaveringly committed to a chaste philia love between them; and her eventual realisation that she had spent her entire life seeking love in the outside world when the truth had been there all along: she was beloved of God.
It’s an affecting, thought-provoking story all the way to its poignant end, which left me grasping for tissues and desperate to read everything else ever written about these two. If you’re at all a fan of C.S. Lewis, this is a must-read!
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of Losing the Moon; Where the River Runs; When Light Breaks; Between the Tides; The Art of Keeping Secrets; Driftwood Summer; The Perfect Love Song: A Holiday Story; Coming up for Air; And Then I Found You; The Stories We Tell; The Idea of Love and The Bookshop at Water’s End (July 2017). BECOMING MRS. LEWIS — The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis is out October 9th, 2018 by Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson.
A finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, an Indie Next Pick, an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year, Patti is published in nine languages. Her articles and essays have appeared in Southern Living, PINK, Writer’s Digest, Birmingham Magazine and more. Patti is a frequent speaker and luncheons, book clubs and women’s groups.
Growing up in Philadelphia as the daughter of a Presbyterian minister, Patti learned early the value of storytelling. At the age of twelve, her family moved to South Florida where Patti found the sanctuary of libraries and began her slow but steady journey into understanding the power of story to navigate confusing times in life.
Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work, and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.