It is often very hard to find true love, searching for it, we so many times stumble looking for that one person who makes us whole, who makes us feel valued, who makes us feel loved.
In Patti Callahan explores the love story between C. S. Lewis, a well known older author living in England, and Joy Davidman, a young poet, mother, who was trapped in a marriage to an alcoholic and philanderer. She writes to C.S. Lewis and over time through their letters finds herself falling deeply in love with Lewis’s words which represent the man he is. Both Joy and Lewis were former atheists, but found religion and god to be a solace. Joy is restless. She needs to provide some stability in her life and it is through her correspondence and later meeting Lewis that she finds that stability. This book of fiction imagines that world where Joy and Lewis correspond, meet and eventually marry after many years and as the story continues we see the tragedies of their lives unfold.
Joy’s first foray to England because of health problems, was her entrance into the world of Lewis and his alcoholic brother. She, leaving her boys behind with their father and her cousin explore Lewis’s world, that of Oxford and Cambridge, and of course finds herself falling for the author. She is conflicted by her love for her boys, and growing hatred for her husband. Returning home, eventually the marriage breaks apart, and Joy and her boys return to England and to Lewis where she lived out the rest of her life.
There were some wonderful reading moments in this story as the author interspersed Joy’s poetry and sonnets with the text of the story. Not always did I feel for Joy though. She seemed to leave her children and spend months away from them knowing the environment in which they lived. It was at times that I found her character difficult to connect with. Baring that, this was a poignant story of friendship and love, of happiness found, and of knowing that at any time when life seems to be at its lowest ebb, there is hope. Recommended to those who love the idea of literature connecting people to one another, of finding love and hope at any age, and living a life that leads to a true path of caring, devotion and fealty.
Patti attended Auburn University for her undergraduate work, and Georgia State University for her graduate degree. Once a Pediatric Clinical Nurse Specialist, she now writes full time. The mother of three children, she now lives in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.