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Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman
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Through the Shadowlands: The Love Story of C. S. Lewis and Joy Davidman

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,479 Ratings  ·  83 Reviews
In time for the 2005 release of The Chronicles of Narnia movie, Sibley provides the full story behind the movie Shadowlands.
Paperback, 205 pages
Published July 1st 2005 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published January 1st 1985)
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Mar 17, 2013 Lara rated it it was amazing
I give this 5 stars, yet am not sure it's a book that would appeal to many. It is mainly a book about loss. It also gives a really great biography on C.S. Lewis. I was surprised to realize he didn't grow up a Christian. He became a believer later in life. Because of his excellent theological books (most of which are too deep for me to understand) and his awesome good vs. evil in Narnia, I thought he was one of those folks that grew up in the church. And I also thought he was married most of his ...more
Dec 16, 2009 Graham rated it really liked it
Still so inspired every time I read about this amazing author and his life of discovery.

It comes through so clearly how, even though he was a gigantically gifted person, he was very much a human.

The way he grapples with his faith after losing his wife is an encouragement to anyone who walks through "deep waters".

A quote that struck me from this book: "He always knew my temple was a house of cards. The only way he could get me to recognise this fact was to knock it down".

Also made me excited agai
Jul 13, 2012 Katherine rated it really liked it
Recommended to Katherine by: A good friend
I enjoyed reading about C.S.Lewis, an author who is well-known for his children's Narnia books as well as many books and articles on the Christian faith. This book concentrated on the years he knew Joy Davidman, first in correspondence and later as a friend and eventually his wife.
There was much about "Jack" Lewis that I had never known before, though I have read several of his works. The fact that Joy had been born Jewish, was for a long time an agnostic and Communist, and a divorce' made the
Aug 14, 2009 Melanie rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was 12 as a time passer in a foreign country where no one spoke english and it was the only literature that could be found in the house that was in English. I wasnt expecting much being young and silly, but I was pleasantly surprised. I couldnt put the book down. C.S. Lewis' Life was so interesting and amazing, and Sad. I read through the night till I was finished. Amazing Man, one of my favourite author's. Reading this gave me such insights into his life, helped me understand ...more
Amanda McDougle
May 07, 2013 Amanda McDougle rated it it was amazing
The love of C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidson was controlled by the Church of England. In the Church's eyes, a divorced woman sinned if she remarried. This allowed no room for flexibility in an American woman's struggle to survive on her own while raising two young boys. As a wife of domestic violence (by modern law), Joy fled to England and created a new life with her children. Many of Jack's judgmental literary friends judged Joy for being a gold digger. Jack paid the expensive tuition for Joy's son ...more
Apr 24, 2009 Elizabeth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This was SUCH a weird book. If you love all things C.S. Lewis-ian and you are the kind of person who loved reading The Encyclopaedia Britannica for fun when you were a kid, you will like this book. I liked reading about all of his books in their historical context, especially their relationship to what was occurring in Lewis' life. I also like how the book is telling a story primarily through passages from Lewis', Joy Davidman's, and their contemporaries' writings. There were SO many interesting ...more
Claire Campbell
Jul 31, 2016 Claire Campbell rated it it was amazing
A very sweet, poignant, and to the point retelling of the surprising love story between C.S. Lewis and Joy. I think what's so inspiring is the reminder that love can come when and how we least expect it. Jack aka Clive Staples Lewis was a confirmed bachelor living with his brother and working away between writing books and teaching at Oxford (and later Cambridge) when this divorced mother of two and former Communist atheist came into his life. And, heads up, I was not using that description as a ...more
Aug 23, 2014 Lisa rated it liked it
I've wanted to read this book for years as I have always been impressed with the life and mind and writings of C.S. Lewis. And I loved the movie "Shadowlands".

Now I have finally gotten to it. I will keep it and put it next to my collection of Lewis books. However, I found this book much like Lewis' own books: moments of brilliance that I had to wade through much dry writing to get to.

Jack and Joy's love story is one of the greatest of all time. His description of can send one to the floor as he
Tommy Grooms
Oct 28, 2014 Tommy Grooms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful look into the life of C.S. Lewis and his relationship with Joy Davidman, an unlikely couple who ended up being perfect for each other. There's nothing extraordinarily original in here, but the book's appeal is its focus on their relationship told chronologically.

There is still much I don't know about Davidman and I like that I got to know her better. I appreciated that the author did his best to tell the story in the words of his subjects as often as possible, pulling quotes from book
 Barb Bailey
Jun 20, 2008 Barb Bailey rated it it was amazing

Loved this book...would reccomend to anyone. A ture and lovely love story and more!

At first glance, they were an unlikely couple: C. S. Lewis, a distinguished author and Oxford scholar, and Joy Davidman, a Jewish-American divorce, converted Christian, mother of two, and former Communist Party member. But together they walked through life's challenges, persevering despite having their faith tested in the face of suffering and death. This amazing true story reveals the many events that occurred i
Oct 16, 2011 Leslie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: C.S.Lewis fans
There are already enough good reviews for anyone to know what this book is about. What makes it stand out from the others out there about my dear C S Lewis is that this one really covers her life in great detail. The boys are important in this book as well. There is much more info here than in either movie too. The true story especially as far as the order of events and the ages of the people are vastly different than in either of the movies. Having mentioned the two movies, both called Shadowla ...more
Oct 24, 2015 Stephanie rated it really liked it
A well-written, delightful read. I've been familiar with C.S Lewis and several of his books (including the Narnia series) for years but reading this makes him feel like more of a friend. And the excerpts sprinkled throughout gave me an appetite for delving into some of his other works.
Dec 05, 2014 Jane rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A very interesting and insightful book into the life of C.S. Lewis and how he came to write the books he did. He was a close friend of Tolkien - something I was not aware of. An almost tragic life: mother dying and father pretty much ignoring his sons, taking responsibility for a friend's mother when he dies in the war (and she very much controlling his life and making it difficult for him), his struggle with his beliefs, a confirmed bachelor until he met Joy Davidman and fell in love and their ...more
Gail Gawlik
May 05, 2014 Gail Gawlik rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful look into Lewis's personal life, especially his relationship with his wife, Joy. I feel like I know, at least in part, the person behind the books.
Sandy T
Jan 04, 2009 Sandy T rated it liked it
I was really interested in learning more of the story of this most unusual and unlikely couple: C. S. Lewis, a distinguished author and Oxford scholar, and Joy Davidman, a divorced Jewish-American, converted Christian, mother of two, and former Communist Party member...
The part of the book that told of their life together was a 4-5 star read, but unfortunately it encompassed only the last third of the book. The first 2/3rds told of Lewis' early years and briefly about Joy's background. Though I
Carolyn S
Mar 18, 2015 Carolyn S rated it really liked it
I thought it was great. Makes me want to re read some of C.S. Lewis stories, what a great man and love story! Can not wait to see the movie.
Nov 20, 2010 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story of CS Lewis, and Joy Davidman whom he met and married late in life. Well-researched - although re-reading, I found the early section about CS Lewis a little dull since I had read about his life so many times - but the brief biography of Joy Davidman and the story of their unexpected romance was moving. The opening chapter tells of Joy's funeral; she was very ill when they married, and their time together was brief but very special. I expected to spend a week or two reading this, but fo ...more
Nov 16, 2014 Jo rated it it was amazing
This book provides a glimpse of the humanity of these intellectual giants. I enjoyed it thoroughly.
Jul 25, 2016 Hermien rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this biography of CS Lewis, especially David Suchet's brilliant reading of it.
Jul 20, 2008 Kris rated it it was amazing
Better than the autobiography "Suprised By Joy" in showing the human behind the formidable name of CS Lewis. And with Joy in the pages it adds the romance element SBJ lacks. Really, who doesn't like a great love story? Actually, SBJ was written just as Joy entered Jack's life and his friends were amused by the title of his autobiography. Shadowlands doesn't have all the deep thoughts and summaries of situations of SBJ but it's a great way to get to know CS Lewis and the people he cared most abou ...more
Apr 16, 2008 Lotte rated it really liked it
One of my favorite thinkers and authors. My gift to Bethie for 2008 while she is on her mission was 52 C. S. Lewis quotes - one per week for her to open and savor. I realized how little I knew about his personal life and found this book so intriguing I could hardly put it down. It turned out to be a page-turner for me (and I found several wonderful quotes that were new to me). Who can't love flawed British geniuses (meaning like the rest of us as far as the flawed goes) nicknamed Jack and Warnie ...more
Aug 27, 2014 Adrienne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I probably would have liked this book better if I had cared very much about C.S. Lewis. It wasn't really well-written--simply informative. There are a few good quotations from Lewis, and his life was interesting, but the book didn't excite me. I think I'd rather have watched the PBS special.
Vanessa Braganza
Beautiful and unique in that the biographer largely allows the subjects to tell their own story through excerpts of their own wonderful words.
Sep 19, 2014 Shelley rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. I'm not a huge biography reader, so I liked that this book was very focused I scope. I learned a lot about CS Lewis and admire him even more. I appreciated that this isn't a "tell all" about their relationship, but focuses more on how they came to meet and fall in love and still left them with dignity and privacy. I would have been disappointed with anything more. The treatment of Joy' s death is somewhat quick, so I was surprised to moved to tears.
Emily Giesbrecht
Jan 30, 2014 Emily Giesbrecht rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading about one of my favorite authors ever.
Joe Stewart
Feb 10, 2015 Joe Stewart rated it really liked it
Short but insightul
Jan 02, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very reflective. It is a story of C.S. Lewis life. His life is in one aspect how he started as an agnostic and through time and spiritual experiences, begins to realize there is a God and Jesus Christ. I found myself putting the book down and contemplating on my testimony and thoughts of family and friends. How dear they are. I would recommend this book. I had always wondered why the church leaders would refererence his writings, and now I know.
May 11, 2015 Barb rated it really liked it
Thoroughly enjoyed it and want to see the movie.
Mar 05, 2010 Meghan rated it really liked it
Great quick read! Although I read C.S. Lewis' Narnia books as a child, I knew very little about the man himself! This is an unlikely and touching romance, told mostly through the words of Joy Davidman, C.S. Lewis, and the other individuals who figured prominently into their lives together. Brian Sibley did a fantastic job of compiling so many different sources into one definitive tale of the couple's love. Definitely recommend!
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Brian Sibley is an English author who has written over 100 hours of radio drama and has written and presented hundreds of radio documentaries, features and weekly programmes.

In 1981, he co-wrote BBC Radio 4's adaptation of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings with Michael Bakewell, and has also adapted C. S. Lewis's The Chronicles of Narnia and Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast for Radio 4, for which he rec
More about Brian Sibley...

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