Updated: Jan 25
As appeared in Wall Street Journal, Saturday Dec 14, 2019
As I turned the final pages of Patti Callahan's novel "Becoming Mrs. Lewis," I couldn't believe the two main characters had only known each other for a decade. The victim of an abusive husband, Joy Davidman flees America with her two small sons and sets up life in England.
She becomes a writer and and takes the chance to correspond with C.S. Lewis, author of the "Chronicles of Narnia"novels. Davidman wants to know more about Lewis's conversion to Christianity from athesim. She too is a convert, from Judaism.
Lewis writes her back, and the two become friends. Over the decade of their fierce and growing love, Davidman's spirit and self-worth grow:
"It wasn't until England I saw who I could be: a brilliant light, cherished for who I was."
Her love in return transforms from a man living only in his intellect.
"Logic takes no account for the heart," she tells Lewis. " How can you tell a heart what to do?"
She opens him to to the grace of living fully and vulnerably, and changes this brilliant writer forever.
—Ms. Susan Packard is a co-founder of HGTV and the author of "Fully Human."
A personal Note from Patti (Facebook post)
Just doing the dishes -- literally -- when the lovely Laura L. McNeal shoots me a text "Have you seen this?" A perfectly lovely Saturday morning surprise in The Wall Street Journal. Susan Packard of HGTV choosing "Becoming Mrs. Lewis" as her yearly book. I am, undoubtedly, completely filled with gratitude. I love how Joy touches other hearts aside from mine. xoxoxo 💕 Thank you, Susan, wherever you are.
About Susan Packard
Photo credit: John Black Photography
Susan Packard is co-founder of Scripps Networks Interactive and former chief operating officer of HGTV.
Packard held a variety of senior positions at Scripps Networks Interactive, (NYSE: SNI), the leading developer of lifestyle-oriented content for television and the Internet. The company’s media portfolio includes popular lifestyle television brands HGTV, Food Network, DIY Network, Cooking Channel, country music network Great American Country (GAC) and the Travel Channel. She created and served as president of Scripps Networks New Ventures, where she oversaw the development and launch of DIY Network and online interactive platforms. She was also president of worldwide distribution for the Scripps cable brands.
Packard got her start in media with sales positions at HBO, and then helped to start up CNBC. Following these roles, she moved to SNI. Today she writes, speaks, and helps to coach and mentor senior leaders.
Susan’s first book, New Rules of the Game, was written to help women navigate and lead in the workplace. Her second book, called Fully Human, Three Steps to Grow your Emotional Fitness for Work, Leadership and Life, offers a fresh, new framework for growing one’s emotional intelligence. Visit her Website.
About Author and Podcast Host Patti Callahan
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction), BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis. Now a USA TODAY, Publishers Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller. (writing as Patti Callahan).
The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original "Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series" launched, October 2019. Her upcoming podcast audiobook will be released Jan 7, 2020 and available for pre-order now.
THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER, (Contemporary Southern Fiction) June 4, 2019, and THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella released October 8, 2019, are 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. Visit her website
About Becoming Mrs. Lewis
The Improbably Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis
A USA Today, Publisher's Weekly, and The Globe and Mail bestseller.
The Christy Award 2019 Winner Book of the Year
Amazon #1 Bestseller (Biographical historical fiction)
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. Read More.
Listen to the Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast
Pre-Order Paperback Expanded Edition (March 24, 2020)
Pre-Order Podcast Audiobook (Jan 7, 2020)
Tags: #susanpackard #patticallahan #becomingmrslewis #wallstreetjournal #hgtv #cslewis #joydavidman #spiritual #historicalfiction #biographicalfiction #romance #literary #BMLpodcast #thomasnelson #harpercollins #media