When Narnia Was New: Fiction

Are you looking for a heartwarming read for the cold season? Did you love reading the Narnia books when you were growing up? If your answer to either of these is “yes,” then I have a wonderful suggestion for you.

Patti Callahan’s new novel, Once Upon A Wardrobe, is set in England in 1950, the same year that The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe was first published. Can you imagine that? Can you imagine the excitement of discovering a new country, Narnia, in a new book? What an exciting time to be a reader!

The protagonist of the story is a young woman called Megs, who is in her first year studying mathematics at Oxford University. Who else is at Oxford University? Why, C.S. Lewis, the author of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, of course. He and his brother live near the University, where Mr. Lewis teaches English.

Megs’ younger brother George, who is eight, is entranced by his new book about Narnia. He spends a lot of time reading at home in bed, because he has a heart condition that, as Megs says, means that “he won’t see nine.” He begs his older sister to find Mr. Lewis and ask the don where Narnia came from.

So begins Megs’ journey into a deeper understanding of imagination and the creative process. That’s really all I want to say about this book. It’s touching, it’s inspiring, and it really is a wonderful book. It’s also set during December and the Christmas season, so it is especially resonant at this time of year.

Callahan has written another book about the woman who married C.S. Lewis. The book is called Becoming Mrs. Lewis, and I know it’s on my TBR list.

If you want to know more about the real-life C.S. Lewis, try these biographies:

C.S. Lewis and His Circle by Roger White

Jack’s Life: The Story of C.S. Lewis by Douglas Gresham

The C.S. Lewis Chronicles by Colin Duriez



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