From the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis comes another tenderly imagined and enchanting story that pulls back the curtain on the early life of C. S. Lewis.
Once Upon a Wardrobe
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Patti Callahan Henry
1919 Oxmoor Road. PMB #303
Homewood, AL 35209
Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics.
She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a copy of a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and, the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse.
Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers. What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George.
Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.
“Indie Next Great Reads for November 2021 ”
—American Booksellers Association
"The Southern Indie
Bestseller List #15
—The Southern Bookseller Review
“It’s a great gift to give someone if you want a feel-good holiday read,” she said. “It kind of peels back the layers and weaves a story of, where did Narnia come from.”
—Anderson McKean, Page & Palette
"Need to Read:
"Fall/Winter Reading List 2021-22"
—Deep South Magazine
Releases Oct 19th"
“8 of This Fall’s Most-Anticipated Reads"
“Top Picks for autumn from UK Librarians"
"November Book Club Pick"
—Emily Giffin Book Club
Book of the Month"
"Best Books of Fall 2021"
"30 New Books We're Reading This Autumn Season" (2022)
"Pick of the crop: October’s best books to savor in autumn"
—The Christian Science Monitor
“Best New Books for
"Independent bookstore Christmas favorites"
"4 new historical fiction novels to immerse you in imagination, love and war."
"Selected as Buzz Book of Fall 2021"
“10 Most Anticipated Historical Fiction of Fall 2021”
"Harlan Coben Nov pick for classic literature fans."
"Earphones Award Winner"
"14 Best Historical Fiction of 2021"
—The Buzz Magazines
"10 Must-Read Southern Books This Fall."
—The Atlanta Journal
“A Beautiful Escape"
"Best New Books of October 2021"
"The Most Wonderful Books of the Year"
—Yesterday's Island: Today's Nantucket
"Fall releases offer 'can't miss' titles"
—The Augusta Chronicle
“Books to Gift This Holiday Season"
"December Buddy Read Pick"
—The Currently Reading Podcast
“November Book Club Pick"
—Greater Houston Moms
“Best book gifts according to local booksellers"
“I advise you to read this book, then wait for a while and then read it again, for while it may not be Narnia, there is magic in it.”
—Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis’s stepson
“Callahan (Becoming Mrs. Lewis) once again visits the life and works of C. S. Lewis in this enlightening novel of logic and imagination, faith, and reason…this enchanting novel of faith and hope is a must-read for fans of C. S. Lewis. Readers will be eager to return to the world of “The Chronicles of Narnia” with new insights."
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Once Upon a Wardrobe is a beautiful follow-up to Becoming Mrs. Lewis. It’s a love letter to books and stories with a meaningful message. Megs and her family learn that fantastical tales are more than mere ways to appease young children. Stories are nourishment for the souls that need joy the most, and sometimes they’re the only thing that can help us understand life.”
—The Washington Post
“Once Upon a Wardrobe is an enchanting and poignant winter’s tale about the world of Narnia and her creator that celebrates not only the wonder, adventure, escape, or the romance, but the consolation that friends of Narnia, and in fact lovers of all stories receive from those great tales worth telling. Not since I first saw the movie The Princess Bride, have I encountered a work that celebrates the joy of story so beautifully. Add this one to your Christmas list and give it a good spot on your bookshelf. You’ll be glad you did. “
—Tumnus’ Bookshelf: The Narniafans Book Reviews (5 of 5 Shields)
“This is a heartwarming tale about the transformative power of books, with engaging and detailed descriptions. George’s earnestness and imaginative nature uplift his family and will charm any reader who enjoys looking at the stories behind our favorite childhood stories."
“With elegant prose, Callahan invites the reader to intuit creativity’s source. Once Upon a Wardrobe is a captivating story for all ages; a standalone book combining fact, and fantasy, and its peek behind the curtain crafting is an important adjunct to C. S. Lewis’s Narnia chronicles."
— New York Journal of Books
"Patti Callahan’s gentle novel contains beautifully cinematic images of snow, C.S. Lewis' childhood, and Oxford's medieval colleges...The novel offers a strong sense of the defining moments in Lewis’ life, as well as the mythical sources for the Chronicles of Narnia...Once Upon a Wardrobe would make an ideal companion for family book clubs reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe together.
“This beautiful and soul-touching book is about death and dying, but it also reminds us that new chapters remain for those of us who are left behind.”
—Historical Novel Society
“Callahan (Becoming Mrs. Lewis) mines the life and work of C.S. Lewis in this enjoyable exploration of the power of imagination to see one through difficult times… the heartfelt characters will win over sentimental readers. Callahan’s fans will love this.”
“Once Upon a Wardrobe is a smart and subtle treatise on art, fiction, myth, fairy tale, make-believe, and finally truth, which is not a collection of facts but constructed by an infinite number of bits and pieces, tangled together, which make up a life story, make up a life. I was impressed by this novel and also genuinely moved by it."
—Dr. Don Noble, scholar, radio host, and author of Alabama Noir
“Readers will reach for ONCE UPON A WARDROBE, again and again, eager to be reminded that love will prevail and imagination leads people down fantastical paths. Some books are read and forgotten soon after; others linger forever in one’s mind, popping up from time to time when something relevant sparks the memory. ONCE UPON A WARDROBE is certainly the latter and will be cherished by anyone who reads it.
—The BookReporter by Cindy Burnett