Library Journal – September 9, 2018 – Starred Review
“Callahan crafts a masterpiece that details the friendship and ultimate romance between the real Davidman and Lewis…Fans of Karen White and Mary Alice Monroe will enjoy this book. Callahan’s writing is riveting and her characters spring to life to create a magical and literary experience that won’t be soon forgotten.”
The New York Journal of Books – September 2018
“Patti Callahan took a character on the periphery, one who has historically taken a back seat to her male counterpart, and given her a fierce, passionate voice. For those fans of Lewis curious about the woman who inspired A Grief Observed this book offers a convincing, fascinating glimpse into the private lives of two very remarkable individuals.”
Publishers Weekly – August 13, 2018 – Starred Review
Callahan (The Bookshop at Water’s End) vividly enters the life of a woman searching for both God and romantic love in this pleasing historical novel about writer and poet Joy Davidman. In 1946, Joy lives in Ossining, N.Y., with her alcoholic husband, Bill Gresham, and her two small sons. In a moment of desperation, she prays to a God she doesn’t believe in and experiences feeling “fully known and loved.” Three years later, now deeply considering Christianity, she writes to Christian apologist C.S. Lewis with her questions about God. He responds, beginning a long-term correspondence in which Joy finds “peace, connection, and intellectual intimacy.” By 1952, she wants to leave her unfaithful, abusive husband, but sees no way out. She does manage to take a much-needed physical and mental respite, heading to England for six months and falling in love with both England and Lewis; her only regret is leaving behind her sons. But, even after Bill and Joy divorce, Lewis at first keeps their relationship platonic, and Joy must search for true love and fulfillment through her relationship with God. Making full use of historical documentation, Callahan has created an incredible portrait of a complex woman.