Now a USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestseller! Meet the brilliant writer, fiercely independent mother, and passionate woman who captured the heart of C.S. Lewis and inspired the books that still enchant and change us today.
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 professor and the beloved writer of The Chronicles 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, found 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.
Praise for Becoming Mrs. Lewis:
“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, New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia
“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
“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
This expanded edition includes:
Map of OxfordExpanded discussion guide with 20+ questions for book clubsTimeline of Jack's and Joy's LivesJoy's (imagined) letter to Jack10 Things You May Not Know About Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis's Love StoryBehind-the-scenes essay: Oxford—The City
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.
Honest & life-changing story.
A lesson in love
Beautifully written of love from the most basic of definitions to the eternal