Patti Callahan. Becoming Mrs. Lewis. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2018.
Before reading this review, you should probably know that I am not an expert, amateur, or any level of “enthusiast” of Narnia, C.S. Lewis, or any related topics along those lines. Honestly, my husband knew far more about the events, books, and people described in this book than I do (even after reading it). As a result, this review is simply based on my reading of the actual book and my thoughts on the author’s writing of this storyline.
In Becoming Mrs. Lewis, Joy Davidman shows herself to be an accomplished writer, a struggling wife, and a sometimes-overwhelmed mother, who encounters the concept of faith quite by accident. As someone who regularly corresponds with fellow writers, she sends a letter to C.S. Lewis with her questions about faith and ends up becoming an unexpected pen pal to “Jack,” as he is known to friends. While both her marriage and health crumble around her, she takes a sabbatical to England, where she finally meets Jack and begins to partner with him on a series of writing projects. Joy’s faith and writing grow in spite of her difficult circumstances, giving her a chance to grow into the woman who becomes known as “Mrs. Lewis.”
Fans of C.S. Lewis and his world will find this historical take on the life of his wife and writing to be well worth the read.
Overall, I had mixed feelings about Becoming Mrs. Lewis. At points, the novel seemed to be quite heavy and slow, likely as a result of the sheer amount of historical detail included within it. I never became a huge fan of the characters and some of the events in the novel were pretty surprising to find in a Christian fiction work. However, I have to applaud Ms. Callahan for her research work on this novel. The author’s note, recommended reading list, and back material are very impressive and show the lengths to which Ms. Callahan went to ensure historical accuracy, even in a work of fiction. I was particularly impressed by her use of more recently published works, many of which are more academic in nature and would not be easily found in one’s local library collection. My rating of this book was substantially increased based on her research skills and dedication throughout what must have been a long and involved writing process.
Fans of other Christian fiction works with a strong historical research component will likely enjoy reading Becoming Mrs. Lewis. Additionally, those who have an interest in all things C.S. Lewis will also find this to be a worthwhile read.
Special thanks to BookLook Bloggers and Thomas Nelson for the complimentary copy of Becoming Mrs. Lewis! Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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