It has been a TV film, a Broadway play, a major movie, and two movie spin-offs – and now it is to be a novel. Rose Sandy, executive publisher of Harper Inspire, has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights from Marly Rusoff of the Marly Rusoff Literary Agency in the fictional re-telling of one of the most famous love stories set in the world of books. Becoming Mrs Lewis by US writer Patti Callahan tells the story of the love affair between the US writer and poet Joy Davidman and C S Lewis – a story that William Nicholson told in the TV film "Shadowlands" in 1985, which subsequently became the Broadway play of the same name and then the feature film "Shadowlands" in 1993, which starred Anthony Hopkins as C S Lewis.
Callahan’s novel tells the story from Davidman’s point of view and the publisher believes it will introduce the famous love story to new readers. “The unconventional romance sparked between an ordinary woman across the Atlantic and one of England’s best known academics and theologians, is a historical-fiction treasure,” it said. “Bonding over a shared love of literature and ideas, Davidman and Lewis forge a deep connection.”
The couple met by letter at first, after Davidman wrote to the author for advice. They married in 1957, with the ceremony taking place at Davidman’s bedside in hospital, where she was being treated for cancer. When she died from the disease in 1960, at the age of 45, Lewis was heartbroken and poured his feelings into his famous book A Grief Observed.
Sandy said: “Patti Callahan has been very thorough in her research of Joy Davidman’s life and even worked with Joy’s son [by her first marriage] Douglas Gresham to bring us this fantastic work of fiction, based on a story that deserves to be remembered and retold.”
Callahan said: “I’m thrilled to introduce the fiery Joy Davidman and this improbable love story, told from her point of view to new readers, with the support of the dedicated team at Harper Inspire.”
Becoming Mrs Lewis will be published in paperback by Harper Inspire on 16th May.