Surprised by Love is a biography of Helen Joy Davidman by Lyle W. Dorsett. I read a couple of poems by Davidman a few years ago and when I found out the movie Shadowlands (both the BBC version and the version starring Debra Winger and Anthony Hopkins - both are available at EVPL) was about her, I wanted to read more. I could not find the book, but found a digital download from EVPL Downloads.
Joy Davidman was a very intelligent and well educated young American woman who lived from 1915 - 1956. She was born to Jewish parents but was an atheist who later found Christianity and became a Christian Apologist. Her research and writings brought C. S. Lewis into her life as he was also a Christian Apologist.
C. S. Lewis is probably best known in America today for his children's writings as the author of the Narnia books. C. S. Lewis was an Oxford professor and well known for not only his Narnia books but his books on religion and politics. His literary friends included Tolkien and many other writers of the age. Davidman's earliest writings included many on communism, but also poetry. She even shared a poetry prize with Robert Frost. Her later works were influenced by her finding Christianity, but had an interesting slant towards communism ideals.
Davidman moved her two sons to England after an amicable divorce from her first husband. Eventually Lewis and Davidman married - first in a civil marriage so she could stay in England and then in a sanctioned service. Davidman died of cancer in her forties, she did not achieve a renowned success, but her story is interesting and uplifting.
I only had a vague idea about what a Christian Apologist is, but the gist of it is that an Apolgist seeks to explain or defend Christianity with historical evidence, scientific investigation, and rhetorical persuasion. This book is not about a religious experience, it is about a woman who struggles with her beliefs, finds herself, and finds a kindred spirit.