Faith, perseverance, friendship, and above all, love—New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan’s historical novel Becoming Mrs. Lewis takes readers on an intimate journey into one of the greatest love stories of modern times. Here’s why I think this captivating work of biographical fiction is perfect for your next book club.
This exceptional fictional portrayal of Joy Davidman’s life follows the trajectory of her improbable friendship with C.S. Lewis from across the ocean, and how it flourishes into a full-blown romance for the ages. As a poet and writer, Joy is torn between her art and trying to be a good wife and mother, while stuck in a failing marriage amidst society’s confines of women in the 1950s.
Seeking answers and searching for God, Joy begins corresponding with C.S. Lewis—known as Jack—as she sees a kindred spirit in his writing. Told from Joy’s perspective, this beautiful prose draws the reader into one of the most fascinating love stories of the 20th century. Fans of other historical fiction such as The Paris Wife will most assuredly enjoy Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a remarkable piece of fiction, and I delighted in how clearly Joy Davidman’s character jumps off the page. Patti Callahan creates interior monologues for Joy and combines that with her actual historical poetry, painting a persuasive image for us as though we are walking side by side with this inspiring woman, sharing in her hopes and fears.
For most of the novel, I could not help cheering for Joy and hoping that happiness and deep abiding love were waiting for her on the next page. When that moment finally presents itself, it’s profoundly bittersweet. Callahan beautifully writes the interactions between Joy and Jack, particularly their moment of tragic realization.
Lyrical, poetic, and philosophical, this novel moves forward with a romantic pace that is reminiscent of days long gone, slowly building with chapters and years passing. Emotive and entertaining, this novel may very well spark a few questions in her readers, as we consider our own relationship to love and how to create our best life.
“THIS NOVEL MOVES FORWARD WITH A ROMANTIC PACE THAT IS REMINISCENT OF DAYS LONG GONE”
Does knowing that this fictional love story is based on a real historical romance change or inform your reading? If so, how?
Callahan’s novel reflects upon the deep religious believes C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman held. How important do you feel personal faith is in defining an individual?
Joy’s early life was fraught with sickness and rigid family expectations. How did these years shape her love life moving forward?
What was your first reaction to Joy’s cousin Renee moving into the house with her two young children? Have you sheltered family members in a time of need, and how did that change your family dynamics?
Joy expressed distress about how some of Jack’s friends didn’t approve of her or appear to like her. Why do you think this was true? How did this affect their friendship?
Many of Jack and Joy’s friends talk about their intellectual compatibility and how they both had incredible photographic memories. Did this help their love grow?
Joy made several tough decisions in the book, which also affected her family. What do you believe she could have done differently?
Joy wonders about Jack’s relationship with both Janie Moore and Ruth Pitter. How did his relationships with these women affect his love for Joy? Was Joy jealous or curious? How did it affect her view of him and their relationship?
Does Callahan’s novel make you want to read more of the real Joy Davidman’s poetry and prose?
What part of this story touched you the most? What part of this story changed you the most?
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About the Author
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times best-selling author of fourteen novels, including the historical fiction, BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Her fifteenth novel, THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, (Southern Contemporary Fiction) was published June 4, 2019, and is available now.
A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband. Read More
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