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Becoming Mrs. Lewis

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis

by Patti Callahan Henry, writing as Patti Callahan

October 2018

BECOMING MRS. LEWIS by Patti Callahan is the story of Joy Davidman, who first turned to C. S. Lewis for spiritual guidance, and then slowly but steadily became the woman who won his heart.

When we first meet Joy, she is a wife, a mother and a writer. She struggles with the burden of an uncaring husband who is an alcoholic and whose moods are often dark. He, too, is a writer, but he struggles with his work. The boys are active, and Joy is pulled in many directions. She begins a correspondence with Lewis, questioning her faith and her life. In frail health, she takes a break from her domestic world and travels abroad to, among other things, meet Lewis for the first time. Their conversations are friendly yet professional; he keeps his distance, but clearly there is a connection between them with their writing and their spirited discussions. She loves his mind; he embraces her spirit of life and her questioning of it.

The book is richly atmospheric; as I read it, I could see myself walking on the campus of Oxford with Joy and Jack, which is how Lewis was known to friends (Jack was his beloved deceased dog). Her writing is stunning as she paints a gorgeous picture of the landscape and the storied buildings there. You can feel the rush of intellectual energy that is exchanged by the scholars, as well as the warmth of the conversations.

Joy’s life takes a turn as her husband tells her that he is in love with someone else --- an idea that shatters her on one side and on another empowers her to take control of her own destiny. She brings the boys to live with her in England, and they, too, fall spell to her relationship with Jack. Fate plays a brutal hand for Joy and Jack, as illness befalls both of them at way too young an age, and they end up with many fewer years together than they deserved. Their story is beautiful and also has some very tragically sad turns.

Patti has drawn her characters so strongly, as readers get a deep-dive look into the feelings of these two strong people --- and she has given Joy a voice that many may not have heard. This book is Patti’s first work of historical fiction, and she is well in her element writing it. Also, book groups will have lots to talk about here --- and perhaps the book can be read in tandem with one of Joy’s and/or Jack’s works to give the discussion another dimension.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis
by Patti Callahan Henry, writing as Patti Callahan

  • Publication Date: October 2, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson
  • ISBN-10: 0785224505
  • ISBN-13: 9780785224501