Is This My Book Soulmate?
Can you be soulmates with a book? If so, I think Becoming Mrs. Lewis is mine. Which is why this delightful book is at the top of my recommended reads for this year!
From the very first pages, Joy Davidman felt like a kindred spirit. If you’re into the enneagram at all, it occurred to me many times that she was probably a four, which is what I am. So it was very easy to relate to her moods and emotions and need for beautiful things, yet her determination to succeed.
Is This Really Fiction?
Becoming Mrs. Lewis is historical fiction. However, Patti Callahan so thoroughly researched the real life of Joy Davidman and her relationship with C. S. Lewis that the novel feels very real indeed. It’s hard to believe that the words, thoughts, and deeds of the “characters” were not lifted directly from real life.
Davidman is trapped in a tumultuous marriage with an alcoholic and adulterer when she finally decides to head to England to restore her health and to finally meet C. S. Lewis. She’d been corresponding with him for ages after a strange conversion experience that he helped her work through via letters across the ocean.
When she finally arrives in England for the first time in her life… I cannot tell you the emotions that were stirred in me. You see, I’m a very serious Anglophile. It’s been a dream of mine since I was little to live in the UK. I’m 40 and it’s still a dream I plan to fulfill some day.
So to live vicariously through Joy who loved England as much as I do was a pleasure and a pain. I couldn’t help but be jealous. Despite the pain she goes through, the pain her husband puts her through, the physical ailments she suffers, she lands in merry ole England. She writes constantly even though she isn’t a huge success. And she meets and becomes endearing to C. S. Lewis. C. S. Lewis!!!
Even that relationship is a misery as she falls in love but is held at bay by the man she loves even though he really loves her too.
This Story Has It All…
…and I’m trying not to give away too much. An extended romance, sickness, health, tumult, tension and mystery, art, conversation, and depth, all backed by the beautiful landscape of Oxford and London.
I underlined so many quotes. It’s ridiculous how many tabs are sticking out of this book! I wrote a post with all of my favorite ones. See the best quotes about life and love here!
It took me a while to get around to this book, but I’m so glad I finally did. Know My Name by Chanel Miller was another recommended reads of this year, but I’d have to say Becoming Mrs. Lewis spoke to me more deeply. It will stay with me for a long time, and I daresay I’ll read it again.
Reading This Book as a Four on the Enneagram
That is when I can bear to read about being in England when I myself cannot be there. That was a bit of a torture for me. Fours (on the enneagram) are inherently jealous. We have trouble being happy for other people who get what we want. We don’t think, “How could I make that happen for myself?” Instead we think, “Why didn’t that happen to me?” Or “Why can’t I have that too?” And this was often my thought as I read this book. I cried. A lot. Because the story is so beautiful, but also because it created and awakened many longings in my soul.
It was beautiful. It was simply a beautiful, heartbreaking story. And so well written by Patti Callahan. (I haven’t read any of her others. Have you?)
Will You Read It?
I’d be so curious to know if you’re going to read Becoming Mrs. Lewis and if it evokes any of the same feelings for you. Will it end up on your recommended reads list too? Please let me know! I’d love to discuss this one with you!
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