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Becoming Mrs. Lewis

The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C. S. Lewis

Patti Callahan


List Price: 25.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (10/1/2018)
Paperback (3/24/2020)
Paperback, Spanish (6/25/2019)
Library Binding, Large Print (10/3/2018)
Compact Disc (10/2/2018)
Compact Disc (10/2/2018)
MP3 CD (10/2/2018)
Digital Audiobook, Spanish, Castilian (7/15/2019)


Now a USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestseller Meet the brilliant writer, fiercely independent mother, and passionate woman who captured the heart of C.S. Lewis and inspired the books that still enchant and change us today.

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 professor and the beloved writer of The Chronicles 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, found 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.

Praise for Becoming Mrs. Lewis:

"Becoming Mrs. Lewis deftly explores the life and work of Joy Davidman, a bold and brilliant woman who is long overdue her time in the spotlight. Carefully researched. Beautifully written. Deeply romantic. Fiercely intelligent. It is both a meditation on marriage and a whopping grand adventure. Touching, tender, and triumphant, this is a love story for the ages." --Ariel Lawhon, New York Times bestselling author of I Was Anastasia

"Patti Callahan Henry breathes wondrous fresh life into one of the greatest literary love stories of all time . . . The result is a deeply moving story about love and loss that is transformative and magical." --Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan's Tale

"It's novel. And it's a very good one. . . extraordinarily accurate. . . more accurate than most biographical essays that have been written about my mother." --Douglas Gresham, son of Joy Davidman, wife of C.S. Lewis

  • Full-length historical novel about the wife of C.S. Lewis
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

Thomas Nelson, 9780785224501, 416pp.

Publication Date: October 2, 2018

About the Author

Patti Callahan (who also writes as Patti Callahan Henry) is a New York Times bestselling author. Patti was a finalist in the Townsend Prize for Fiction, has been an Indie Next Pick, twice an OKRA pick, and a multiple nominee for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Novel of the Year. Her work has also been included in short story collections, anthologies, magazines and blogs. Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work, and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.

Conversation Starters from

1. Did you know much about Joy Davidman before you read this novel? Did you come with preconceived notions of who she was? How did those change during the novel? What was the most surprising part of this story for you?

2. Not many people supported Joy’s choices to first travel to England and then move there. There also didn’t seem to be much support from Jack’s friends as their friendship and then love story blooms. How did Joy find the strength to overcome the resistance? How did they survive this disapproval to come together? What were the strengths that allowed them to resist the naysayers?

3. How did the time and place – 1950s England when women weren’t even admitted to Magdalen College where Jack taught – affect their love story? Would it be different today? How would this story be different today?

4. Joy often thought about her past—both her love affairs and her family life. How did the past influence her personality and decisions? How did it affect her self-esteem and self-love? How did she come out on the other side?

5. Joy and Jack enjoyed an almost three-year pen-friendship before ever meeting. Can friendships begin with words and notes? Can one become friends through letters alone? Can we be more vulnerable on paper than in face-to-face contact?

6. We meet many famous people along Joy’s journey —J. R. R. Tolkien, Travers, Belle Kaufman, Michal Williams and many others. How do these people influence Joy’s path to love? Were they as famous then as we deem them to be now or were they just other friends on the road to self-discovery? Did this ensemble of literary friends change Joy’s path?

7. Many of Jack’s last books, most notably, Till We Have Faces, were shaped by his friendship and love with Joy. Can you see her life and influence in his works written after 1950? If so, which ones and how? How did their co-writing, editing and long talks affect his work?