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Becoming Mrs. Lewis

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3.6 out of 5 stars
12 total reviews
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Most helpful positive review
How can a divorced American woman writer, with a Jewish ancestry, formerly an atheist, and an ex-communist develop a lasting, loving relationship with an devout English don and religious author? Just read this book and you will see how this unlikely pair became enamored with each other. Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis first were pen pals, pouring out their thoughts and hopes and beliefs in letters. Later, as Joy's marriage fell apart, she fled the unhappy and even dangerous scene to be closer to the man she'd come to know and respect. They were indeed kindred spirits, but had much to overcome, including their past lives, he a lifelong bachelor, and she a divorcée, as well as the dictates of the church. Though a work of fiction, author Patti Callahan has done much research into their lives, and the characters do come alive on the page. Their struggles are evident but so is the joy they experienced with each other, and if their happy ending was cut short, it did not lessen their devotion to each other, even after death. And death did not still their love.

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The love story of C. S. Lewis and his wife, Helen Joy Davidman Gresham, was improbable---and seemingly impossible. Their Eros-story led to some of Lewis's greatest works, yet Joy is most commonly known for how she died. Becoming Mrs. Lewis allows us to see how this brilliant and passionate woman lived---and why she stole Jack's heart. Now 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

Specifications

Features
Hardcover
Publisher
Thomas Nelson
Book Format
Hardcover
Original Languages
English
Number of Pages
416
Author
Patti Callahan
ISBN-13
9780785224501
Publication Date
January, 1970
Assembled Product Dimensions (L x W x H)
9.50 x 6.30 x 1.30 Inches
ISBN-10
0785224505

Customer Reviews

5 stars
0
4 stars
8
3 stars
3
2 stars
1
1 star
0
Most helpful positive review
How can a divorced Ame...
How can a divorced American woman writer, with a Jewish ancestry, formerly an atheist, and an ex-communist develop a lasting, loving relationship with an devout English don and religious author? Just read this book and you will see how this unlikely pair became enamored with each other. Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis first were pen pals, pouring out their thoughts and hopes and beliefs in letters. Later, as Joy's marriage fell apart, she fled the unhappy and even dangerous scene to be closer to the man she'd come to know and respect. They were indeed kindred spirits, but had much to overcome, including their past lives, he a lifelong bachelor, and she a divorcée, as well as the dictates of the church. Though a work of fiction, author Patti Callahan has done much research into their lives, and the characters do come alive on the page. Their struggles are evident but so is the joy they experienced with each other, and if their happy ending was cut short, it did not lessen their devotion to each other, even after death. And death did not still their love.
Most helpful negative review
I was very intrigued b...
I was very intrigued by the title and looked forward to reading this book. The story itself was interesting but the book was not to my taste at all. I did enjoy the ending the most, the story was less rambling then. First, as a Christian book, there was swearing, drinking to excess, sex all inappropriate. Second, the story was too rambling. It was done in the first person with a lot of her letters and thoughts without much action. It also jumped years and you didn't realize it immediately. I skipped a lot of pages and did not feel like I missed anything. The story could have been told in about half the pages it is now. Third, it needs editing. This will be addressed in the final version I hope as I read an ARC version. Last, and this is more on a personal side, I did not see true conversion in Joy until the very end though she claims to have been saved/converted years before but her behavior is not that of a Christian in my view. I give this 2 stars as some may enjoy the book, I did not. I would not recommend this to my friends. In full disclosure, I was given an ARC version of the book upon my request to read and review. The review is totally my own opinion.
Most helpful positive review
How can a divorced Ame...
How can a divorced American woman writer, with a Jewish ancestry, formerly an atheist, and an ex-communist develop a lasting, loving relationship with an devout English don and religious author? Just read this book and you will see how this unlikely pair became enamored with each other. Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis first were pen pals, pouring out their thoughts and hopes and beliefs in letters. Later, as Joy's marriage fell apart, she fled the unhappy and even dangerous scene to be closer to the man she'd come to know and respect. They were indeed kindred spirits, but had much to overcome, including their past lives, he a lifelong bachelor, and she a divorcée, as well as the dictates of the church. Though a work of fiction, author Patti Callahan has done much research into their lives, and the characters do come alive on the page. Their struggles are evident but so is the joy they experienced with each other, and if their happy ending was cut short, it did not lessen their devotion to each other, even after death. And death did not still their love.
Most helpful negative review
I was very intrigued b...
I was very intrigued by the title and looked forward to reading this book. The story itself was interesting but the book was not to my taste at all. I did enjoy the ending the most, the story was less rambling then. First, as a Christian book, there was swearing, drinking to excess, sex all inappropriate. Second, the story was too rambling. It was done in the first person with a lot of her letters and thoughts without much action. It also jumped years and you didn't realize it immediately. I skipped a lot of pages and did not feel like I missed anything. The story could have been told in about half the pages it is now. Third, it needs editing. This will be addressed in the final version I hope as I read an ARC version. Last, and this is more on a personal side, I did not see true conversion in Joy until the very end though she claims to have been saved/converted years before but her behavior is not that of a Christian in my view. I give this 2 stars as some may enjoy the book, I did not. I would not recommend this to my friends. In full disclosure, I was given an ARC version of the book upon my request to read and review. The review is totally my own opinion.
1-5 of 12 reviews

How can a divorced Ame...

How can a divorced American woman writer, with a Jewish ancestry, formerly an atheist, and an ex-communist develop a lasting, loving relationship with an devout English don and religious author? Just read this book and you will see how this unlikely pair became enamored with each other. Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis first were pen pals, pouring out their thoughts and hopes and beliefs in letters. Later, as Joy's marriage fell apart, she fled the unhappy and even dangerous scene to be closer to the man she'd come to know and respect. They were indeed kindred spirits, but had much to overcome, including their past lives, he a lifelong bachelor, and she a divorcée, as well as the dictates of the church. Though a work of fiction, author Patti Callahan has done much research into their lives, and the characters do come alive on the page. Their struggles are evident but so is the joy they experienced with each other, and if their happy ending was cut short, it did not lessen their devotion to each other, even after death. And death did not still their love.

I enjoyed reading Beco...

I enjoyed reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan. Though the story was long, the beautiful writing style had me so invested in the characters that the plot didn't drag. The detailed descriptions of England, particularly Oxford, made me want to visit. Joy is a complex and authentic character, perhaps a bit too realistic for some readers. She is flawed and didn't always make wise decisions. I did not care for Joy's blatant sexual desire for Jack (C. S. Lewis) as it was over done. Though there is no erotica, I started cringing after a bit at the repetitious statements about wanting him. Joy does have insights about her behavior and desires later on in the story, but I'm not sure it fully redeems the past actions and intentions. It's reality and life experience portrayed authentically on the page. I did like the author's treatment of the characters' faith journeys. Both Joy and Jack have this organic faith that is full of honesty about life's struggles, spiritual doubt, and searching for peace with God. Joy's heart, in particular, is laid bare throughout the story and one of my favorite moments was Chapter 44 when she has a great insight and prays, "I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away." Toward the end, Jack seems to become more philosophical, but as this book covers at least a decade, perhaps that simply reflects life's changes. Though I've read lots of Christian fiction in the last ten years, I've not read any books by C. S. Lewis. I do know that he is a revered figure in Christianity for his non-fiction books and the Christian themes in his fiction. Other than the author's note at the back, I have no knowledge as to how closely Becoming Mrs. Lewis adheres to the reality of their relationship. This novel does not sanitize him as some have perhaps done. There is frequent drinking and smoking in the novel. Mild, but unnecessary, profanity is occasionally present, no f-bombs. I recommend Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan to readers interested in Joy Davidman, C. S. Lewis, or their relationship. It is a biographical fiction novel with lots of spirituality, but a bit saltier than standard Christian fiction so I do recommend it for adults only. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. 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."

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is...

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is billed as historical fiction, as it details the life of Joy Davidman and her relationship with C.S. Lewis. It is indeed historical in nature, how could it not be, but I would describe it as biographical fiction, since it is told in the first person voice of Joy Davidman. While this was very effective in relating to her character, I had to remind myself over and over that this book is fiction. The emotions portrayed and the scenes depicted are so realistic, that the book can easily be believed as coming directly from Davidman's own private journals. Yet as the author states in the Afterword, no correspondence between Davidman and Lewis exists. Callahan did a commendable job in distilling the articles and books written about the pair, as well as transcripts of others' recollections and letters, and speeches given by the two. She uses the published works of both Davidman and Lewis to piece together what their life looked like. And this intimate novel does just that. The story that emerges is a fascinating journey of faith and love. Davidman's relationship with Lewis is at the forefront, but the most moving scenes of this book are her encounters with God. Her life was messy and sorrow-filled, yet touched with the grace of God. But if you are fan of traditional Christian fiction, you may be surprised or even offended by Becoming Mrs. Lewis. I was not. Too often the christian life is viewed as a one time salvation experience that instantly changes one from sinful to holy. And yes, when saved by Jesus, we take on His righteousness - His being the operative word. Unfortunately for most, if not all of us, we struggle with the same old sin nature, the desires of our flesh, and the influence of our world and experiences. Joy wrestled with that, for which I am thankful to the author. Here was a woman who was influential in Christian circles in her own right, but also was a large influence on the later writings of Lewis. But she continued to be flawed and falling, yet ever loved by God. That is how I would describe Joy Davidman, and how I would describe myself. There is a lot of drinking in the book; some casual/social and some to excess and abuse. There is talk of sex and affairs and fleshly desires. And that might not appeal to all readers of CF, but it is a realistic portrayal of a life that strived to live for God. I recommend Becoming Mrs. Lewis wholeheartedly. Recommended. Audience: adults.

Joy Davidman had foun...

Joy Davidman had "found God" but as a new "believer", she wasn't sure whose interpretation to follow. C.S. Lewis, had stated in an article she read, that he was a recent "believer", also. She boldly sent a correspondence to him, which he, surprisingly, responded to. Thus, the beginning of a new friendship. Joy was married with two children. Her marriage was tumultuous, and her husband repeatedly cheated on her. She felt, with her new found "faith" that divorce was wrong, yet how could God really want her to be so miserable? She needed answers from someone better versed in scriptural understanding to answer her concerns. Both she and her husband were writers, but his wasn't selling and hers were "hit and miss". After a severe illness, and upon her doctor's recommendation, she went to England to recuperate. She was certain this would be the only opportunity she would ever experience any type of vacation away from home. Her adventure began... This novel, based on factual events, was written in parts. Most characters were portrayed well. The scenes were quite vividly described. The Book Title and Cover were "fitting". The story-line was very interesting, but there were no clear notes on what part was fiction. The "flow" of the story , at times, felt interrupted and sometimes I was unsure who was doing the dialogue. ^^READER BEWARE: There are several intimately sexual references, although no explicit sex. There are also occasional profane terminology. ​I offer a Four Stars rating for literary content *This book was gifted me with no urging for a positive review. This is my honest review.

Lindas Book Obsession...

Linda's Book Obsession Reviews "Becoming Mrs. Lewis; The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis Thomas Nelson, Oct. 2, 2018 Patti Callan, Author of "Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, has written a thought-provoking and intriguing novel. The Genres for this book are a combination of  Historical Fiction and Fiction. The author describes her characters as complex and complicated. Joy Davidman, poet and writer starts questioning spiritual answers for things. She is unhappy in her marriage.  Joy starts corresponding with C.S. Lewis, the author of  "Narnia". C.S.Lewis , also known as Jack enthusiastically writes back to Joy. The two bond over letters, and Joy travels to England. Jack has been a bachelor, and lives with his brother.  When Joy returns to America, she finds betrayal by her husband, and is determined  to take her sons back to England with her. Joy finds her inspiration to write in England, and makes friends. Often Jack and Joy read each other's work, and sometimes, Joy will type up  Jack's stories. Joy lived at a time, where women were not as independent as today. She also voiced her opinions freely.  Joy was a mother, as well as an author and writer. This is a well written book about love of literature and seeking love. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy Historical Fiction.

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