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C.S. Lewis: Through the Shadowlands

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  1,723 Ratings  ·  94 Reviews
More than a biography, more than a love story, C.S. Lewis Through the Shadowlands is a moving tribute to a couple whose faith, hope, and love grew through adversity.
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published August 1st 1986 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published January 1st 1985)
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Dec 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The title does say "love story", but this is hardly what one would imagine as such and contains nothing questionable for any age. It's more the in-depth background stories of both C. S. Lewis and his wife, Joy, leading up to the familiar stories that most people probably know about Lewis. A great way to learn more about two people who were radically changed- and who helped change others- by God's grace.
Amanda McDougle
May 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Misery. Joy. Poetry. Very worth the read. Well organized with poignant poetry by the subjects of the biography.
Mar 27, 2009 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
Geoffery Wolfe
Dec 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I will admit that I only recently heard about the relationship between C.S. Lewis and Joy Davidman from the NY revival of the stage play 'Shadowlands', which led me to seek out this book. I had grown up on Narnia but hadn't really explored Lewis' other works, or known much about the man aside from his turn from atheism to Christianity. And in a culture that says marry young and fast otherwise you never will, to hear about a love story between two middle-aged people intrigued me.

To put bluntly, t
Jul 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit disappointing in that it takes almost the whole first half of the book before we even get to Joy and her relationship with CS Lewis. A lot of rehashing and reselling of Lewis' early life, only some of which would be relative to the story the author is attempting to tell, in a way to set up how Lewis related to women.
This one was not what I expected. It was quite a bit about Joy's life before meeting CS Lewis and then a broad overview of their life together. The other bio I read was more in depth and it wasn't even the focus of the book. Not bad, but could have been more.
Carolyn Scheidies
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book that isn’t always easy to read. It has depth, truth and deep emotion. It is about a wonderful love, a struggle of health, death and CS Lewis’s crisis of faith. It is much more than I remembered from my first swift read years ago. Worth taking slow. Your faith will deepen and grow.
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
Claire Campbell
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
 Barb Bailey

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
Sep 18, 2010 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
Sandy T
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
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
Jan 25, 2008 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
Apr 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Tommy Grooms
Oct 23, 2014 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
Jul 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 04, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really sure why this book was written but I'm glad to have come across it anyway. Short and seat but no words were wasted. The best decision Sibley made in writing this book was mostly quoting Lewis and Davidman themselves. Reading Lewis passages, even in complete isolation, is quite simply breathtaking. There's a lot of Lewis' work I still need to read and this reminded me that I need to move some of those up the queue.
Mar 02, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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!
We read this book for book club, and I was expecting a cozy, little love story based on the subtitle with a twist of Christianity--perfect for December, right? It was much more of a biography than a love story, which was disappointing to me. However, there were still some good lesson to be learned on conversion to Christ, dedication to maintaining conversion, and still trusting in God when difficult things happen.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well written book that helps explain a bit about the life of CS Lewis (Jack) and his wife that I actually knew nothing about. His books are so good and written so full of spiritual faith that it was interesting to read that he struggled with life too just like all of us. Sad in many parts but yet he continued to Praise the Lord throughout his life until the very end, prayerfully we can all be so faithful!
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 02, 2011 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.
Mike Lewis
Apr 22, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short and simple book, I did offer some insight into the man who gave us so many essential Christian reads. The most interesting events of the book surrounded his marriage to Joy, and the social consequences of the union. I just wish it was longer and showed more of some of the aspects of his life.
Feb 17, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story of CS Lewis's relationship with Joy Davidman. I found it more 'commercial' and maybe even, more about Joy than about 'Jack'. Having read this book, after reading 'Jack' by George Sayer, I found that they complemented each other. However I much preferred 'Jack' for its style of writing, content and presentation.
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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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