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July 2, 2020

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan ~ a Review

by Donna Huber

Susan reviewed Becoming Mrs. Lewis when it first came out in October 2018, and I thought it sounded good, but never got around to reading it. With the release of an expanded edition in March 2020, I was offered a review copy and I'm so glad that I got the chance to read it.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan
March 2020; Thomas Nelson; 978-0785218098
audio, ebook, print (448 pages); historical fiction
When I started Becoming Mrs. Lewis, I knew nothing about the personal life of C.S. Lewis. I have heard quotes from Mere Christianity. Though I've watched the movies, I had only read one book in the Chronicles of Narnia. I tried to listen to The Screwtape Letters but didn't get very far. So while I knew of Lewis, I knew less than a passing acquaintance of his - I didn't know if he had been married, or had children, or anything beyond his written works (and even that shaky). I have to say I knew even less of Joy Davidman. 

After reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis, I feel like I really knew them. At one point I even thought I would like to write to Lewis, but before the thought even was finished I realized how silly that was since he's dead. That is how real and fulling imagined Patti Callahan wrote Joy and Jack (as Joy and his close friends called him). They stepped off the page and spanned time and death to feel like they were people you could visit here and now.

I become totally engrossed in the story as Joy Davidman Gresham struggled with an alcoholic husband, the need to excel (as a wife, a mother, and a writer), her newfound faith, her growing feelings for Jack, and finally, and possibly her greatest struggle, to cast aside her mask and live an authentic life as her true self.

I grew impatient towards the end and wanted to know everything about Joy, her ex-husband, and her children. I tried to resist, but I gave into temptation one night and looked them up on Wikipedia. Knowing what happened, did not diminish my enjoyment of the book.

Callahan's imagining of Davidman and Lewis's love story is so beautifully written that I cried through the last few chapters. I knew the facts, but I wasn't prepared for the emotional response that her writing elicited. 

Becoming Mrs. Lewis is an excellent summer read because you will want to read it in big chunks that can only be done during the lazy summer days.

The expanded edition includes 21 discussion questions (the book would be great for a book club), Joy's (imagined) letter to C. S. Lewis, a timeline of Joy's and Jack's lives, 10 fun facts about Jack and Joy's love story, and an essay about Oxford and its impact on their love story.

By Becoming Mrs. Lewis at Amazon

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Donna Huber is an avid reader and natural encourager. She is the founder of Girl Who Reads and the author of how-to marketing book Secrets to a Successful Blog Tour

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  1. This sounds excellent and I definitely want to read it. I remember the movie of their relationship from years ago called Shadowlands and I recall it being a real tearjerker at the time. If you haven't seen it -- I think you'd like it. Here's the listing at imdb :