One of the most beloved authors of our time is C.S. Lewis. Millions of us, as children and adults, have been transported to the wondrous land of Narnia. We have been challenged by Uncle Screwtape and inspired by works such as Mere Christianity and Till We Have Faces. Lewis was a prolific author whose works continue to touch the souls of his readers.
Throughout his life, Lewis maintained a robust correspondence. However, there was one correspondent who would change his life. Patti Callahan Henry’s recent novel, Becoming Mrs. Lewis, chronicles the unlikely relationship between Joy Davidman and C.S. “Jack” Lewis. While much has been written about Lewis, Joy has enjoyed less notoriety. Henry’s novel illuminates their deep friendship and marriage that would transform both of their lives.
Joy Davidman, an accomplished author as poet in her own right, was living in New York with her then-husband, William Greshman, and their two sons. The marriage was fragile at best, and the two struggled financially as well as emotionally. During a particularly challenging time, Joy experienced a deeply personal conviction of God’s existence and of His peace. This sent her on a quest for Truth, seeking after the God who revealed Himself to her that night. Part of her quest led her to Lewis’ books and she began to write to him. Their correspondence about the mysteries of God eventually evolved into the deepest of friendships that stretched across the ocean.
Henry has masterfully woven this story of love, surrender and faith. Joy’s story is challenging. Her first husband was verbally abusive and she struggled with insecurities, anxiety and anger. Life certainly wasn’t perfect and the novel opens a window into both the joys and sorrows of the years she knew Lewis. Henry has carefully crafted this story which looks into the life of Jack but through the eyes of Joy.
Anyone who wishes to know more about C.S. Lewis will find this novel intriguing and illuminating. I found it gives a fuller picture of this man who has touched so many people with his writings. It reminded me that none of us operates in a vacuum. Those we surround ourselves with will influence our thoughts, actions and choices. The love between Jack and Joy was grounded deeply in friendship and blossomed into the fullest love either had experienced. Because of it, Jack was able to write works such as Till We Have Faces, Reflections on the Psalms, Surprised by Joy, and A Grief Observed.
Becoming Mrs. Lewis is a story of trust. Joy’s journey to trust and love of God parallels her journey of friendship and love with Jack. It is a beautiful depiction of faith, friendship, surrender, and above all, love.
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Copyright 2019 Kate Taliaferro