Read Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis by Patti Callahan Online

Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. 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. Lewisknown as Jackshe was looking for spiritual answers, not lov...

Title : Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis
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Number of Pages : 432 pages
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Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis Reviews

  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    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.


  • Megan

    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

  • Lisa Wingate

    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

  • Zoe

    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

  • Judy Collins

    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

    “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 ...more

  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    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.

  • Erin

    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 ...more

  • Deanne Patterson

    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