I've learned that the more I love the book, the harder it is to write the review. I want to make sure I am doing the book justice, and there is so much to process in a great book, it becomes hard to decide where to focus my feedback! In Patti Callahan’s Becoming Mrs. Lewis, do I focus on the exploration of C.S. Lewis as a man rather than an intellectual, and how he unexpectedly embarks on a journey of love? Or do I share more about Joy Davidman, and how she prioritizes herself as she wrestles with her role as a loveless wife? Or perhaps I should focus on the general themes of love and morality, which appeal to anyone who has ever been in a relationship - romantic or otherwise.
Callahan does a masterful job of using real correspondence between Lewis and Davidman to ground the story as she shares a fictional perspective of how Lewis and Davidman fell in love. The lines of real and fiction begin to blur but you know at the end of the novel that these two profound writers were meant to be together. This book applies to a broad audience - we have all questioned what it means to be in love, and most of us have experienced the end of one relationship and the start of something new. Young or old, coupled or single, Lewis’s reminder to Davidman applies to all of us: "You've been through so much. Be gentle." Best paired with a box of tissues, a hot cup of earl grey tea, and a comfy blanket because you won't want to put this book down.