If you hear the names Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis, which one conjures up the image of a famous writer? I suspect ninety plus percent of readers will know the name C.S. Lewis, particularly his tales of Narnia, while very few will know of Joy Davidman’s essays, books, and award-winning poems.
Author Patti Callahan has written a poignant and clear-eyed story about these two well-known writers and I had the pleasure of reading the novel for an article published by the Historical Novel Society.
While Davidman is often referred to as C.S. Lewis’s wife, she was also his muse, his editor, and his intellectual equal. Callahan chose to write Joy Davidman’s story in her new novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis (HarperCollins 2018) because “her legacy had been buried under the ‘dying wife of C. S. Lewis’ story’. I wanted to narrate her journey in the first person so others could meet this fiery and brave woman who forged a path for herself in the 1940s and 1950s when society and family were telling her to stay put.” Becoming Mrs. Lewis is “NOT about the woman behind the man but the woman beside the man.”
You can read the rest of the article on the HNS website.
Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan – 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.
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M.K. Tod writes historical fiction. Her latest novel, TIME AND REGRET was published by Lake Union. Mary’s other novels, LIES TOLD IN SILENCE and UNRAVELLED are available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, Google Play and iTunes. She can be contacted on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads or on her website www.mktod.com.