Disappointing Novel About C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman’s Relationship

I had high hopes for a new book written by Patti Callahan and published by Thomas Nelson. “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” promised to be a “masterful exploration of one of the greatest love stories of modern times” – the one between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. What I actually discovered, however, was a story so ridden with inappropriate and downright yucky content that I was unable to finish the book.

To be clear, “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” is a well-written and thought-provoking novel that seems to be based, at least to a certain extent, on the real relationship between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman. The problems arise in the details of the behind-the-scenes relationship story…

Joy is already married during the correspondence portion of her relationship with Lewis, and as time passes and they share intimate details of their lives with each other, Joy struggles (and doesn’t always succeed) to keep from becoming emotionally attached to Lewis in ways that feel inappropriate for a married woman (who has had affairs in the past). At the same time her husband is horrible, often drunk, frightening to their children, and has numerous affairs with various women (which are told with yucky detail), including a relative of Joy’s. Ultimately, this combination makes it impossible for her to stay with him, but not before leaving her children with him for several months to travel to England for a rest and to visit Lewis. Unfortunately her decision to leave her husband and move from America to England doesn’t end the inappropriate content, but it simply changes into a different kind that I was still equally uncomfortable reading.

I made the rare-for-me decision to stop reading this novel, and instead skimmed some of the remaining portions of the book. It did not improve, and a few of the sections I read made me close it once and for all. I do not intend to pick it up to finish reading it, nor can I recommend it to anyone. “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” felt like more of a mainstream novel than one released by a Christian publishing house, and is definitely a title that I regret reading even a portion of. In the end, though I am sorry to give such a negative review, I hope to warn Christian readers and fans of C.S. Lewis to approach “Becoming Mrs. Lewis” with great caution, and be forewarned that some of the content should be R-rated.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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