Becoming Mrs. Lewis
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Available October 2, 2018


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“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.” —Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife and Love And Ruin

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.


Behind the Book

Dear Reader,

I am so both grateful and thrilled to share this novel with you—Becoming Mrs. Lewis—the Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis.

Poet and novelist Joy Davidman once wrote in an essay, “What in the world would ever become of us if we should ever grow brave?” In this novel we answer that question as we follow Joy on a decade long journey of transformation from a wife and mother in upstate New York to the beloved wife of C. S. Lewis.

Years ago, this story grabbed me by the heart and would not let me go. I wanted, no!, I deeply desired to tell the story of this fiery and intelligent woman who changed her life so dramatically in a time when women were not always encouraged to pursue their arts or passions, to save their own lives as best they could.

The idea for this novel began decades before I became a writer myself. In hindsight, it all started when I was young and I fell into my own kind of love with Lewis and read The Screwtape Letters, years before I knew what the words satire or allegory meant. Then of course I fell through the wardrobe into Narnia. I read Lewis’s other works later in life with as much abandon and fascination. When I read A Grief Observed and felt Lewis’s palpable pain in losing the great love of his life, I wanted to know more about the woman he loved so fiercely.

Who was this poet and novelist who had lived a world away from Lewis both culturally and literally and yet fallen in love with him and he with her? I set off to research Joy in both her writings and in travel to the Wade Center where her papers are kept alongside C. S. Lewis’s, and then onto London and Oxford. I immersed myself in her fascinating, heartbreaking and beautiful world.

I discovered as you will also, that Joy isn’t interesting merely because C. S. Lewis fell in love with her. Not even close. Come meet Joy and travel with her on this courageous journey from New York to London, onto Oxford and into the enclaves of Oxford University and C. S. Lewis’s heart.

Patti Callahan
February 13, 2018

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Praise

“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, a relationship 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 and Love And Ruin

In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Patti Callahan 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 Tale

Soulful, poignant, lyrical, Becoming Mrs. Lewis 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

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

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 The Beach House and Beach House Reunion 

“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

“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 Castles series 

“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, New York Times bestselling author of The Mountain Between Us 

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