Becoming Mrs. Lewis

Tall Poppy Review: “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” Explores Faith

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Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (Thomas Nelson) is the newest release from Patti Callahan Henry and has already set itself apart from other romances. Joy Davidman was never going to be the woman behind the man. Born to be a writer and always devoutly focused on her work, as hard as she tries to change herself, she can never quite conform to the dutiful housewife role that her husband, Bill, expects her to play.

At her wit’s end with his infidelity and alcoholism and her own seeming inability to fill the role that society has assigned her, Joy kneels down in her son’s room and has an undeniable and instant conversion experience. She feels God with her and, after that, everything changes.

When Joy writes to Author and Christian Historian C.S. Lewis with questions about her Chrisitan revelation, she has no idea that a simple letter will ultimately change her life. Over years and through countless letters, Joy and “Jack,” as Lewis’s friends call him, develop a kind of closeness and intimacy that neither of them has ever known. They are incredibly like-minded but also challenge each other both in their lives and in their work.

After years of battling poor health, Joy decides, at her doctor’s urging, to get away. While it breaks her heart to leave her two young sons, Joy escapes to England for her body and mind to heal—and finally, after years of writing back and forth, meets Jack. Joy leaves her cousin, who is also fleeing an abusive relationship, at her home to care for her children.

A new Christian, Joy is dogged in her determination to save her marriage despite her husband’s constant affairs and demeaning words and actions. Even still, she can’t deny her developing feelings and love for the man who has been her pen pal for so many years. Face to face, their strong, deep bond develops into what can only be described as a once-in-a-lifetime love. But it breaks Joy’s heart to realize that, while she knows her love for Jack could easily blossom into romance, for him it is purely friendship.

When Joy returns home to further abuses from Bill, even Jack, for whom the world is austerely black and white, insists that she can no longer stay with a man who treats her in such a way.

As soon as she can afford it, Joy takes her two boys and relocates to the country. Though it is far from an easy road, Jack is there every step of the way and, while their relationship remains anything but romantic, Callahan’s pages ooze with the tension between Joy and Jack, as thick and palpable as if the reader could reach out and touch it. Even still, Callahan’s main focus is not this truly extraordinary love. She paints a picture of a bold and brilliant woman who refuses to conform to societal norms and, eventually, finds a man who loves and accepts all of her, in every way, in every stage, to complement the life that she was meant to lead.

This breathtaking story is so real that it almost has a heartbeat. Patti Callahan brings Joy Davidman to life once again in these pages with writing as lush and lyrical as one of Davidman’s sonnets. At once an important historical novel and a fascinating and astonishing love story, Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a must-read for anyone who has ever grappled with finding his or her place in the world.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is available for purchase.

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ABOUT PATTI CALLAHAN HENRY: 

Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times bestselling author of thirteen novels, including the newest release Becoming Mrs. Lewis: The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. 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 a frequent speaker at luncheons, book clubs, and women’s groups. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. Follow Patti on Goodreads, Amazon, and Bookbub.

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the national bestselling author of Dear Carolina, Lies and Other Acts of Love, Slightly South of Simple and the forthcoming The Secret to Southern Charm. Her writing has appeared in numerous online and print publications including Southern Living, Parade, Traditional Home and O.Henry. She blogs daily with her mom about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life on Design Chic and lives on the North Carolina coast with her husband and son.

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