Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis
DescriptionNow a USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestseller!
"Patti Callahan seems to have found the story she was born to tell in this tale of unlikely friendship turned true love between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, that tests the bounds of faith and radically alters both of their lives. Their connection comes to life in Callahan's expert hands, revealing a connection so persuasive and affecting, we wonder if there's another like it in history. Luminous and penetrating." --Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
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.
"Patti Callahan Henry breathes wondrous fresh life into one of the greatest literary love stories of all time . . . The result is a deeply moving story about love and loss that is transformative and magical." --Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale
"I was swept along, filled with hope, and entirely beguiled, not only by the life lived behind the veil of C. S. Lewis's books but also by the woman who won his heart. A literary treasure from first page to last." --Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
"Profoundly evocative, revealing an intimate view of a woman whose love and story had never been fully told . . . until now . . . Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a tour de force and the must-read of the season!" --Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion
"Patti Callahan somehow inhabits Davidman, taking her readers inside the writer's hungry mind and heart. We keenly feel Davidman's struggle to become her own person at a time (the 1950s) when women had few options . . . An astonishing work of biographical fiction." --Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe
"Patti Callahan breathes life into this fascinating woman whose hunger for knowledge leads her to buck tradition at every turn." --Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of The Dream Daughter
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About the Author
Patti Callahan (who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry) is a New York Times bestselling author. Patti was a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, has been an Indie Next Pick, twice an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has also been included in short story collections, anthologies, magazines, and blogs. 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 lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina, with her husband. Visit her online at patticallahanhenry.com; Instagram: pattichenry; Facebook: AuthorPattiCallahanHenry; Twitter: @pcalhenry.
'It's novel. And it's a very good one. . . extraordinarily accurate. . . more accurate than most biographical essays that have been written about my mother.' - Douglas Gresham, son of Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis.'--Read Aloud Revival
'While I've read all the biographies on CS Lewis and Joy Davidman, this is the one that broke my heart by sending me on the experience with them. Brilliant, and utterly poignant, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is one of the best tellings of one of the literary world's greatest love stories. Five out of Five shields.'--NarniaFans.com "Tumnus' Bookshelf"
'Becoming Mrs. Lewis illuminates the raw humanity of seeking faith in a distrustful world. We've heard C. S. Lewis's narrative. Here, Callahan keenly demystifies poet Joy Davidman's story and in the telling, shows us the power of a greater love. I was wonderstruck by this novel.' --Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of Marilla of Green Gables and The Baker's Daughter
'With an artist's touch, Patti has woven flesh and bone onto an unlikely love story and given us a glimpse into a beautiful and storied romance. I read this through an increasing sense of awe and admiration. By the final page, I realized Patti had crafted an intimate and daring literary achievement.' --Charles Martin, USA TODAY bestselling author of Long Way Gone and The Mountain Between Us
'Patti Callahan took a character on the periphery, one who has historically taken a back seat to her male counterpart, and given her a fierce, passionate voice. For those fans of Lewis curious about the woman who inspired A Grief Observed this book offers a convincing, fascinating glimpse into the private lives of two very remarkable individuals.'--New York Journal of Books
'Patti Callahan has written my favorite book of the year. Becoming Mrs. Lewis deftly explores the life and work of Joy Davidman, a bold and brilliant woman who is long overdue her time in the spotlight. Carefully researched. Beautifully written. Deeply romantic. Fiercely intelligent. It is both a meditation on marriage and a whopping grand adventure. Touching, tender, and triumphant, this is a love story for the ages.' --Ariel Lawhon, author of I Was Anastasia
'This book is a work of art. Intelligent. Witty and charming, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a stunning foray into the wilds of faith - from doubt and discovery, to the great adventure of living it out. Patti Callahan's invitation into Joy and Jack's love story is as brilliant as the lives they led. I'm left as spellbound as the first time I met Aslan . . . with these characters now just as dear.' --Kristy Cambron, author of The Ringmaster's Wife and the Lost Castle series
'In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan Henry breathes wondrous fresh life into one of the greatest literary love stories of all time: the unlikely romance between English writer C. S. Lewis and the much younger American divorcee, Joy Davidman. Callahan chronicles their complex and unconventional relationship with a sure voice, deep insight into character, and eye for period detail. The result is a deeply moving story about love and loss that is transformative and magical.' --Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale
'In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Callahan peels back the curtain and allows a glimpse into Joy Davidman's extraordinary life and her love and marriage with C. S. Lewis. With captivating prose, Callahan carries the reader across the ocean from New York to Oxford and into the private heart of this tender love story.' --Katherine Reay, bestselling author of Dear Mr. Knightley and The Austen Escape
'Becoming Mrs. Lewis is at once profoundly evocative, revealing an intimate view of a woman whose love and story had never been fully told . . . until now. Patti Callahan brings to life the elusive Joy Davidman and illuminates the achingly touching romance between Joy and C . S. Lewis. This is the book Patti Callahan was born to write. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a tour de force and the must-read of the season!' --Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House Reunion
'Patti Callahan's prose reads like poetry as she deftly unearths a lost love story that begs to be remembered and retold. I was swept along, filled with hope, and entirely beguiled, not only by the life lived behind the veil of C. S. Lewis's books but also by the woman who won his heart. A literary treasure from first page to last.' --Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
'Patti Callahan seems to have found the story she was born to tell in this tale of unlikely friendship turned true love between Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis, that tests the bounds of faith and radically alters both of their lives. Their connection comes to life in Callahan's expert hands, revealing a connection so persuasive and affecting, we wonder if there's another like it in history. Luminous and penetrating.' --Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
'Callahan (The Bookshop at Water's End) vividly enters the life of a woman searching for both God and romantic love in this pleasing historical novel about writer and poet Joy Davidman. In 1946, Joy lives in Ossining, N.Y., with her alcoholic husband, Bill Gresham, and her two small sons. In a moment of desperation, she prays to a God she doesn't believe in and experiences feeling 'fully known and loved.' Three years later, now deeply considering Christianity, she writes to Christian apologist C.S. Lewis with her questions about God. He responds, beginning a long-term correspondence in which Joy finds 'peace, connection, and intellectual intimacy.' By 1952, she wants to leave her unfaithful, abusive husband, but sees no way out. She does manage to take a much-needed physical and mental respite, heading to England for six months and falling in love with both England and Lewis; her only regret is leaving behind her sons. But, even after Bill and Joy divorce, Lewis at first keeps their relationship platonic, and Joy must search for true love and fulfillment through her relationship with God. Making full use of historical documentation, Callahan has created an incredible portrait of a complex woman.'--Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW
'This finely observed accounting of writer Joy Davidman's life deeply moved me. Patti Callahan somehow inhabits Davidman, taking her readers inside the writer's hungry mind and heart. We keenly feel Davidman's struggle to become her own person at a time (the 1950s) when women had few options. When Davidman breaks free of a crushing marriage and makes the upstream swim to claim her fullest life, we cheer. An astonishing work of biographical fiction.' --Lynn Cullen, bestselling author of Mrs. Poe
'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.' --Signe Pike, author of The Lost Queen
'Callahan crafts a masterpiece that details the friendship and ultimate romance between the real Davidman and Lewis . . . Fans of Karen White and Mary Alice Monroe will enjoy this book. Callahan's writing is riveting and her characters spring to life to create a magical and literary experience that won't be soon forgotten.'--Library Journal, STARRED review
'Readers familiar with the life and work of C.S. Lewis will relish learning about the woman who inspired some of his most famous books. Others will find the slow burn of the romance between the two mesmerizing. All fans of women's fiction, particularly works with religious themes, will appreciate reading about this vibrant and intelligent woman.'--Booklist
'I thought I knew Joy Davidman, the oft mentioned but little examined wife of C. S. Lewis, but in Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan breathes life into this fascinating woman whose hunger for knowledge leads her to buck tradition at every turn. In a beautifully crafted account, Patti unveils Joy as a passionate and courageous--yet very human--seeker of answers to the meaning of life and the depths of faith. Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an unlikely love story that will touch heart, mind, and soul.' --Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of The Dream Daughter
'Layered with personal reflection, poignant life events, and the Davidman-Lewis journey toward respect and love, Becoming Mrs. Lewis may very well become a literary classic of its own.'--Hope by the Book, GOLD STAR review
'Patti Callahan's lyrical novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis details American author Joy Davidman's unconventional friendship-turned-romance with famed author and Christian apologist C.S. Lewis . . . The thoughtful narrative reads more like a memoir than fiction.'--WORLD magazine
'Patti Callahan has inhabited her subject so convincingly that Joy's light can finally shine brightly. Highly, highly recommended!'--Historical Novels Review