Thursday, February 21, 2019

Becoming Mrs. Lewis * Book Club & Giveaway

Welcome to our 
Book Club!  

I couldn't be happier that you're here for our conversation.  Each Thursday for 4 weeks I'll be putting a few quotes on the table, perhaps a question or two, or maybe a video clip.

Pull up your most comfy chair, grab your book and any notes you've taken along the way, and jump right into the discussion.  We'll focus roughly on 100 pages a week more or less ... but please don't spill any spoilers on what's ahead!

Do share your own quotes and observations as we chat back and forth.  If something grabbed your heart, I want to hear about it.  Please feel free to respond to other readers' insights, too.  Just like in a real live Book Club.

And let's keep our interaction kind and respectful.

There's no book police around here ... if you haven't read the book or if you feel like you're falling behind in your reading or if you're new to leaving comments ... no big deal!  There's still plenty of room for you to bring your thoughts to the conversation.

Every person who leaves a comment {limit 2 per post!} on the four Book Club posts will be eligible for a $25 Amazon gift card.  {U.S. only and please be sure your comment links to a way to contact you.}  The winner will be announced a few days after our final session in March.

Thank you for taking your valuable time and energy to be here and for sharing the Book Club with your friends, fans, and followers.  I so value your presence around our virtual table.

Let's get this party started by taking a few minutes with this beautiful video ...


Let the conversation begin ... 

'The world, it changes in an instant.  I've seen it over and over, the way in which people forge through the days believing they have it all figured out, protected inside a safe life.  Yet there is no figuring life out, or not in any way that protects us from the tragedies of the heart.  I should have known this by now; I should have been prepared.'  
{Joy - chapter 1, p. 7}


'God came in; he entered the fissures of my heart as if he'd been waiting a long time to find an opening.  Warmth fell over me; a river of peace passed through me.  For the first time in all my life, I felt fully known and loved.' 
{Joy - chapter 1, p. 10}

'Do you ever feel that there is more, that life holds so much more, and somehow we're missing it?  I want to be part of the bigger world, make a difference, see it and feel it, engage in it.  Don't you feel that longing inside you?'  
{Joy - chapter 4, p. 31}


'And how do we feel about discovering we are not our own Master?  Just when we believe we want our life to be our very own, we discover we can only have our life by surrendering our life to that Greater Love.'
{Jack - chapter 7, p. 55}


What's surprised you most in your reading so far?


A special thanks to my dear NY friends Nancy and Carol who enthusiastically shared their personal observations and provided input on discussion questions.

If you write a post about Becoming Mrs. Lewis, please feel free to share your link in the comment section!

Book Club Gathering #2

Book Club Gathering #3

Book Club Gathering #4

from Amazon

so you don't miss a single post!



inviting friends to join us from
Mary's  .  Kelly's  .  Sue's  .  Diane's


  1. I was immediately caught up in this writer's gifted telling of the story. She seems to have captured descriptions perfectly that are those of the characters, but not uncommon too many.

    pg. 7 - How true that we (especially when young) can believe we have the world figured out and go about making decisions and choices without realizing our ignorance of who we are and whose we are. The results are disastrous since we do not yet realize the One we are searching for in so many other places is the greatest Lover we can ever know.

    p.10 The author's description of what happened when "God came in" addresses what each of us desires and rarely articulates accurately or completely - to be fully known and fully loved. We can look to friends, parents, spouses, etc. along the way and always come up empty in time if not at the outset. Only He satisfies our deepest longings because He is the One who put them there so we would discover Him.

    p.31 Ah, yes, absolutely, but once I got in touch with the reality that I have a small role to play in a much larger story, His story, I realized I already WAS a part of something much bigger. It was then that I sought to hear Him about the role He had for me and saw everything from small daily happenings to big events differently.

    p. 55 For me I think that I felt I had other masters in my life directing me without choice from childhood and then masters within me driven to fill what I missed back then. Discovering "the" Master was the joy of relaxing with exactly who I was and was meant to be and falling into His arms.

    I LOVED the video clip!! I would also say I think this book will end with me wanting more from this author!!

    1. Pam, thank you for going deeply into each quote. Your words are wise.

      Your thoughts on page 10 right here -->'The author's description of what happened when "God came in" addresses what each of us desires and rarely articulates accurately or completely - to be fully known and fully loved. We can look to friends, parents, spouses, etc. along the way and always come up empty in time if not at the outset. Only He satisfies our deepest longings because He is the One who put them there so we would discover Him.'

      So spot on, so powerful, so very true. We only get what we're yearning for when we find rest in the arms of the Lover of our souls.

      Thanks for kicking off this conversation, friend.

  2. Loved the video clip! So nice to see the area the story takes place in. The writing style of the author grabbed me and got me interested in the storyline very quickly. The statement about feeling like there is more to life and that I am missing out on it is something that I have felt many times. But is it something that I feel because of hearing of other's experiences and wanting "their life" or is it because it is God opening doors to other opportunities for my future. What about the choices I have already made - my obligation to family, children, work, church, etc. As much as I admire Joy for moving forward to find the answers she is searching for, where is the line of commitment to her husband and children? She knew very early on that she and Jack understood each other in a way her husband never could. Their relationship fulfilled something in her that wasn't being met at home. But does that make it right to pursue it? I will have to wait to see how the book unfolds!

    1. I'm so glad that you're here! You've raised some challenging subjects, ones I'm sure other readers are looking at, too.

      How does a woman leave her young children for a long stretch of time? This is hard to wrap one's arms around, for sure.

      Where is the line of commitment to her husband? And how does a woman wisely respond when her husband has become unsafe because of a history of abuse, alcohol, and affairs ... a most deadly trio.

      Let's keep talking ...

  3. Linda,
    I watched the video and read the quotes; fascinating. I could write a long reply to several of the quotes but I won't. God works in surprising ways to woo our hearts. Thanks for sharing :-) I want to read the book now.

    1. This right here, Dolly, so beautiful and so true -->'God works in surprising ways to woo our hearts.'

      I'm so very grateful He continues to pursue us with all our willfulness, pain, and brokenness. What a wonderful Savior!

      I look forward to your tender yet astute contributions to our discussions, friend ...

  4. I loved that video clip! How neat to see the Kilns and pictures.

    My only frustration with fictional biography is in not knowing what parts are real and what parts are made up. I am hoping the author shares some of that in an afterword. Since I am listening to the audiobook, I can't peek ahead and see. :-) But I did put a print copy on hold at the library because there are some parts I want to go over again.

    One of my first thoughts after reading/listening a bit was that people who have been to church all their lives might sometimes forget that Jesus specifically reached out to people with very messy lives when He walked the earth, and He still does now. We're all messy, of course, and in need of His rescue, but sometimes we don't realize our own inward attitudinal sins are just as bad as some people's more outward and obvious sins.

    I commend Joy for searching for truth after her initial encounter with God. It would have been so easy to brush it off as a fluke, a product of desperation or imagination. The fact that she wanted to know more speaks to the reality of what she did experience.

    I wondered, too, about leaving her home and family for so long.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Dear Barbara, you're so right when you talk about our messy lives ... the outward manifestations that can be seen, but even more so, those 'inward attitudinal sins' that so easily beset us all. I've yet to meet a single soul who is exempt.

      We're all sinners in need of a Savior. For sure.

      I have the same wonderings as you do when reading historical fiction. At the end of the book, Patti Callahan lists a number of resources and additional readings that will be helpful for those of us who want to dig deeper. Wheaton College has curated both Joy's and C.S. Lewis's papers, letters, and writings and the author speaks about that collection as well.

      Joy's son, Douglas, has also written several books.

  5. I hesitate to chime in, but I bring a different perspective. I am not a fan of Joy, and I have been a spouse of an alcoholic and abusive husband. It never occurred to me to pursue another chapter in life until I brought closure to the one I was living. It certainly never occurred to me to leave my young son behind in the Lion's Den without my protection. I almost put the book away in these first pages. I kept coming back needing this story to be redeemed.

    I do not doubt Joy's experience with God one bit, but I do wonder about her unwillingness to be obedient. She seems to be on a quest to find personal happiness. I do not blame her for one second; it is a nightmare living with an addicted spouse and trying to keep peace in the home. Addiction is an illness, would she have run from the chaos and left her children if her husband had cancer? BUT GOD, He can redeem our stories.

    Do I seem harsh and judgmental? When I comment on the coming posts about my second marriage, perhaps it will become clearer why I am not a "Joy Fan." This is clearly an emotional affair, but who even knew during this time period there was such a thing as an emotional affair. Any form of intimacy with someone who is not our spouse because of attraction can be considered an emotional affair. We are giving a piece of our heart to someone who is not our spouse. We have crossed a boundary and are on the sure road to the end of our marriage.

    I wrote about the entire book and my take away on my blog today. The book is thought provoking and I will be pondering it for some time. I am not bitter or harsh, I am reminded of the nightmare I lived and survived in my own marriages. Forgive me for being negative, but I see this story through the experiences I have lived. Not all is black and white--there is always a lot of gray.

    1. Dear Lulu, thank you.

      Thank you for your honesty, your candor, your courage in sharing your story here. I am so grateful that you would speak of a heartbreaking subject that is incredibly personal and tender in your life.

      I am saddened that you have been so deeply wounded along the way. That you live a victorious life in this season speaks to the powerful healing God has given you and your deep and abiding faith in Him.

      We learn much as we sit and listen to each other's sorrows and heartaches with quiet gentleness, respect, and great empathy.

      You're so right, 'not all is black and white - there is always a lot of gray.' I'm fond of saying that we're all wounded in some way ... how we live out that brokenness varies from person to person. We each view the world through our own unique personal stories and cultures ... and yes, nightmares.

      And yes, who among us hasn't rebelled in some way via disobedience, rebellion, relational disasters, selfish choices, or addictive behaviors. Sadly, the sky's the limit.

      My prayer is that the Lord would be merciful and meet you even in the pages of this historical fiction book, granting you additional healing grace in areas that might yet need His tender touch. He's not done with any of us, is He ...

      And with you, I praise God that 'He can redeem our stories.' Thank You, Jesus.


    2. The first half of this book resonated with me so much because I, too, lived 33 years with an alcohol abuser. Joy was obsessed with picking the wrong men, I too can relate. Later on the author brings out Joy’s reluctance to continue friendship with Jack and how she longed to see her marriage restored or transformed. True or false? Callahan seemed to see this somewhere in her research or hoped it to be true. I see a real familiar struggle Joy entertained each and every day. Would I have stepped into a good “friendship” if I had the chance? This helps me accept Joy’s weaknesses better.

    3. Dear Carol, thank you for sharing a bit of your own story. The pain and healing of your past has given you a tender, empathetic heart and great perceptiveness. It's no wonder that God has used you so greatly in the lives of other hurting women.

      The truth of the matter is that we never do know for sure what we'll do in a situation until it's right in front of us. No matter where we are in our faith walk. God only knows ...

  6. I was intrigued by the book's title when I first saw it on your blog. But, life is busy right now, so I thought, "I'll have to skip this one." Until I watched today's video! I went right to Amazon and added the book to my kindle! I'm just getting started and loving it already.
    Make I make a request? Could you note the chapters as well as pages in quotes and comments? Page numbers on kindles are very different from print books so it's very hard to keep up with comments without the help of chapter numbers.

    1. Roomie! Is that you?


      I'm so glad you're in! Our conversations have always inspired me to go deeper, no matter what the subject.

      Thank you for asking me to put those chapters in. I wrote them down in my own personal written notes in preparing for the Book Club ... and actually thought of doing so on the posts, but it slipped by my aging brain.

      No wonder I love you so!

      I'm off to add them to this post.

      I hope you guys are well ...

  7. My biggest surprise in reading this book has been the way it drew me in--in spite of the fact that I've read a couple of really good non-fiction books about Joy.
    Thanks for giving me the excuse to go back and revisit this great book.

    1. Could you share those non-fiction titles with us? I'm guessing there'll be a number of readers who'll want to go there next.

      Thanks, Michele! You're a book whisperer for sure ...


  8. What surprised me most was how unconventional and untraditional God is in the Lewis’ story. There is no evangelist, no sinner’s prayer, no diving into ministry but two souls that reveal the truths about God and life through intellectual processing. They asked the right questions and eventually found the truth.

    The depth of Jack’s question, “and how do you feel about discovering we are not our own Master?” It takes a lifetime and beyond to come to grips with this reality. I do it so imperfectly but when i do realize there is a Master, Joy’s experience of God entering the fissures of my heart becomes a thrill beyond explanation.

    1. 'Joy’s experience of God entering the fissures of my heart becomes a thrill beyond explanation.'

      Your heartsong gives me goose bumps, friend. Your walk with Christ continues to enliven me, inspire me.

      And yes, I appreciated this different 'approach' in seeking God. It's rather out of my conservative evangelical American experience. And I find it extremely deep and refreshing.

  9. Happy to be joining in on this book discussion! I was unaware of the love between the two of them that blossomed while she was still married, and have to admit that is hard to read, but then again, as we read scripture, we see the shortfallings of mankind over and over and a merciful God in the midst of it all. I cannot imagine leaving my children for that long of a period. I'm about halfway through the book (she is still in England). Will try to find time to continue reading this weekend.

    {Joy - chapter 1, p. 7} This is a great statement, and it is so true. Change usually comes unwelcome and unwanted, but still, when it comes, it must be dealt with. There is really no way we can be prepared for change, except by having faith in the Lord that He knows the way through it all.

    {Joy - chapter 1, p. 10} I love how she said "God came in; he entered the fissures of my heart" Truly a beautiful way to describe the incredulous feeling of feeling the presence of the Lord in a life-changing way.

    {Joy - chapter 4, p. 31} Yes, I've often felt that way, but I know that the bigger purpose is God's design, not mine. And that gives me peace about that.

    {Jack - chapter 7, p. 55} Again, knowing that I am not my own Master but He is, has given me great peace and comfort in knowing that His all-knowing, all-seeing eyes have the best laid plans for me, and I can rest in that knowledge. It is a beautiful thing to know our lives are in the Master's hands, and that is where that peace that passeth all understanding comes into play.

    Enjoying this sharing, and I will try to remember to come back here next week for the next installment, you chose some great quotes to get the discussion off and running!

    1. Marilyn, these words right here --> 'as we read scripture, we see the shortfallings of mankind over and over and a merciful God in the midst of it all.'

      Oh how grateful I am that we love and serve the powerful and all-wise Redeemer who takes the messiness of who we've been and transforms us more and more into Christ's image.

      And thanks for taking the time to share the personal impact of each quote. I so appreciate your personal takeaways.

  10. These are profound quotes, Linda. The one that especially grabs me and stirs up such a longing in my heart is the second one. To imagine God waiting and longing for us to open the fissures of our hearts and how He delights in entering and abiding in us. I so yearn for that feeling of being fully known and loved. Though I don't have the book, this is such an interesting conversation here. Love and blessings to you!

    1. Well, I'm glad you're here, book or no book, Trudy!

      And yes, yes, friend. One of our strongest desires in life is to be fully known and loved. We'll search all over the place for it but the only one to truly, deeply take us there is Jesus.

  11. Happy Saturday! I am glad I found a copy of the book at the library and have enjoyed the little bit I have read. I aml loving some of hte very detailed comments above.

    The first quote stands out to me because life does change in an instant. Joy states she should have known this and should have been prepared, but nonoe of us are ever prepared for those life-changing moments. I am looking forward to reading more of the book to see how Joy's character is developed as well as how things play out with "Jack".

    1. You're right, Mary ... even if we think we've figured out what might happen next, were often blindsided by what finally comes 'round the bend, often at breakneck speed.

      And maybe that's where God wants us so we'll finally get the message and learn to trust Him with our whole hearts ... 'and lean not unto thine own understanding.'