Once Upon a Wardrobe - book cover
  • Publisher : Harper Muse
  • Published : 19 Oct 2021
  • Pages : 320
  • ISBN-10 : 0785251723
  • ISBN-13 : 9780785251729
  • Language : English

Once Upon a Wardrobe

When college student Megs approaches author C. S. Lewis with her younger brother's request to find out if Narnia is real, he instead takes her on a magical journey through the moments in his life that led to his greatest creation.

Megs Devonshire, on a scholarship at Oxford, is brilliant with numbers and equations. She prefers the dependability of facts-except for one: the brother she loves with all her heart doesn't have long to live. When George becomes captivated by a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there's no way she can refuse.

Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, who is a professor at her school, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, begging them for answers. What she receives instead are stories . . . little-known tales from different periods in Mr. Lewis's life, which she takes home to George.

Why won't Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother-the story behind Narnia-turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.

Praise for Once Upon a Wardrobe:

"I advise you to read this book, then wait for a while and then read it again, for while it may not be Narnia, there is magic in it." -Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis's stepson

"With a touch of fairy-tale magic, Once Upon a Wardrobe will take you behind the legend and deep into the English and Irish countryside, where you'll encounter not only the inspirations for one of the 20th century's most beloved works, but also a tale of heartache, hope, and discovery that will forever change the Narnia you thought you knew." -Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author

A marvelous blend of little-known true stories from C. S. Lewis's life that Narnia fans will treasureIncludes discussion questions for book clubs as well as a note from Douglas Gresham, C. S. Lewis's stepsonAlso by New York Times bestselling author Patti Callahan: Becoming Mrs. Lewis and Surviving Savannah

Editorial Reviews

Callahan once again visits the life and works of C. S. Lewis in this enlightening novel of logic and imagination, faith, and reason . . . This enchanting novel of faith and hope is a must-read for fans of C. S. Lewis. Readers will be eager to return to the world of 'The Chronicles of Narnia' with new insights. -- Library Journal, starred review

Heartfelt characters will win over sentimental readers. Callahan's fans will love this. -- Publishers Weekly

This is a heartwarming tale about the transformative power of books, with engaging and detailed descriptions. George's earnestness and imaginative nature uplift his family and will charm any reader who enjoys looking at the stories behind our favorite childhood stories. -- Booklist

''Once Upon a Wardrobe' is a beautiful follow-up to 'Becoming Mrs. Lewis.' It's a love letter to books and stories with a meaningful message. Megs and her family learn that fantastical tales are more than mere ways to appease young children. Stories are nourishment for the souls that need joy the most, and sometimes they're the only thing that can help us understand life.' -- The Washington Post

Readers Top Reviews

V. O'Regan
“George is waiting for his Megs to come home for the weekend from university so he can tell her about this remarkable book, about this white land where it is always winter but never Christmas, where animals can talk and the back of a wardrobe opens to another world.” - ‘Once Upon A Wardrobe’ by Patti Callahan. This was a wonderful novel that explores the power of storytelling and its ability to inspire and bring hope. 1950, Worcester. Eight-year-old George Devonshire has a heart condition and only has a short time to live. He has become captivated by a new book titled ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’. He bombards his older sister, Megs, with questions about where Narnia came from. Megs is a scholarship student at Oxford studying mathematics. In order to help her brother she tentatively approaches the famous author and his brother and implores them for answers. They agree, though what she receives over a series of meetings are stories about Jack Lewis’ life. She returns home and relays these stories to George. This was a beautifully crafted novel that I found deeply moving. I was transported back to my own childhood when I first read ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ and had dreamt of finding a secret door into Narnia. It is a novel that is heartwarming and uplifting yet does not shy away from exploring loss. Just perfection.
Wendy Scott
This story makes me want to take the 5 stars away from every book I’ve honored with that rating so far this year. Nothing is better than this! If you loved The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe you will love this. You could read this book without reading The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis and it’s still a very touching novel with the protagonist, Meg’s, discussions with Mr. Lewis, Jack. Meg, a Math and Physics scholar, goes to Mr. Lewis, an English Literature Professor at Oxford, to ask him where Narnia is and if Aslan exists because her eight year old brother, George, is dying from a congenital heart disorder, and is a fan of Mr. Lewis and Narnia and has asked her to find out for him. In the author’s descriptions as with her protagonist they “paint the scene with words that George [and the reader] will appreciate.” I love her descriptions like, “in Autumn the earth moves toward rest.” Or when describing a pile of hats and mittens in the entryway of Jack’s house she says, “...they are jumbled together in a party.” It reminds me of describing things to blind children that I have taught. Her descriptions add flavor to the story! I love reading English literature with one of my favorite sayings is, ‘have a cuppa’. My heart is full to hear the English term mum for mom. It sounds so much more endearing. In the beginning of the story, the author hints of a possible romance or friendship to form when she talks of how Meg doesn’t stay at school on holidays because she wants to be home with George. A friendship does develop not only a lifetime friendship with Mr. Lewis but also with another scholar that she meets on her way to and from Mr. Lewis’ and on her way home. I truly loved reading the note from Douglas Gresham at the end and I’m excited to read the author’s note upon publication. Thank you NetGalley and HarperMuse for this ARC for my honest review.
J. Sunday
This is a book which tugs at your heart and soul in the most comforting way. It's one to experience wholeheartedly and then to save it to read later many more times. Megs is studying math at Oxford University and has a 9 year-old brother, George, with an imagination that goes beyond the books he reads. He begs her to ask one of the professors, C.S. Lewis, who has written several books on fantasy to find out "Where did Narnia cone from?" She loves him dearly and will do whatever he asks as he doesn't have much more time to live with a severe illness. She manages to find an invitation to his home and Mr. Lewis gives her the answer by telling stories about his life which she quickly writes down and conveys to her brother. She, however, confesses to underestimate the power of myths, faeries and magical characters at first. Can someone with a logical mind step into the world of imagination? One cannot read this book without thinking about the power of mythology. The plot of this book is brilliant with multiple layers of reality. As suggested: perhaps science isn't everything. It clearly is thought provoking and one of my personal favorites.