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The Aviator's Wife: A Novel (edition 2013)

by Melanie Benjamin

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61810215,758 (3.94)1 / 33
Member:alandee
Title:The Aviator's Wife: A Novel
Authors:Melanie Benjamin
Info:Delacorte Press (2013), Hardcover, 416 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:ARC

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The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

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4.75 ( )
  thenerdypuffer | Jul 1, 2014 |
This is the #1 book of the year for me. I couldn't put it down! Historical fiction has always been my choice of reading. This book brought me back to this genre.

Narrated from Ann Morrow Lindbergh's point of view, we learn her strength, her weakness (staying with a cad for so many years while he left his family alone, with no contact information for long, long periods of time), and the reader learns of the sharp, determined, egocentric, controlling, self centered hero, Charles Lindbergh.

While he roamed the world, admonishing her grief when their first born was kidnapped and killed, Ann stayed behind as five more children were born and raised by her.

She was a strong, intelligent woman who was the first female to obtain a pilot's license. Taught by Charles in a demanding fashion, she soon learned to navigate both with instruments, and by Polaris, the bright constant star.

Despite her growing anger and longing to claim her individuality, Charles remained her constant star throughout the many years of their marriage.

The mark of great historical fiction challenges the reader to learn more, to separate the facts from the fiction. Melanie Benjamin does an amazing job of this!

While the author writes of Ann's supreme anger, dismay of betrayal when, before Charles' death, she discovered there were three German mistresses with whom he sired a total of seven children, in fact, I researched to learn that it was their children, who when contacted by their half siblings, discovered their father's other lives, long after Ann's death.

Mainly, I was in awe of the author's ability to paint Ann's feelings of love and hate of the hero Charles Lindbergh. And, haven't we all felt that at times in our lives, ie the longing to be loved, the disappointment in ourselves when we know we have loved too much to receive so very little in return? ( )
1 vote Whisper1 | Jun 11, 2014 |
I found it hard to put this work of historical fiction down. I have read Anne Morrow Lindberg's "Gift from the Sea" and assumed her to be a wealthy, socialite wife. I had no idea she was an accomplished aviatrix. This was a fascinating look into the ebb and flow of individuals throughout a life time marriage. ( )
  artwench | Jun 4, 2014 |
I keep saying after so many books this year, THIS was my favorite book this year. I'm saying it again about this book. I knew of the Lindberghs, of course, knew about the Spirit of St. Louis, knew about the kidnapping, and that they had other children afterward (but I didn't know how many!), and I knew a little about Anne, and of course The Gift from the Sea. I also knew something about Lindbergh being considered a supporter of Nazi Germany and an anti-Semite. But, oh, how much I didn't know, about Charles, Anne, their marriage, and their lives. The book is written from Anne's point of view (she is the narrator). Did you know she was also a pilot, and his co-pilot on many flights? Some points are fictionalized, but the book is based on fact, and includes many events that really happened. You will be angry with some of Anne's decisions, but you will sympathize with her, and care about her. ( )
  cherybear | May 25, 2014 |
Couldn't get into this story of the Lindbergs. Sounded depressing, and very slow. Too many books...so little time. ( )
  Pmaurer | May 12, 2014 |
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Book description
For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There she meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his celebrated 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic. Enthralled by Charles’s assurance and fame, Anne is certain the celebrated aviator has scarcely noticed her. But she is wrong.

Charles sees in Anne a kindred spirit, a fellow adventurer, and her world will be changed forever. The two marry in a headline-making wedding. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne is viewed merely as the aviator’s wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life’s infinite possibilities for change and happiness.

Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century—from the late twenties to the mid-sixties—and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345528670, Hardcover)

Melanie Benjamin on The Aviator’s Wife

Dimitri Maex

What was I thinking, writing a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh?

That is a question I asked myself every time I sat down to work on The Aviator’s Wife.

For Anne Morrow Lindbergh guarded her privacy fiercely and, at times, I felt she was eluding me just to make that point! My other heroines—Alice Liddell in Alice I Have Been and Lavinia Warren Stratton in The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb—gave up their secrets easily, almost eagerly. Anne, however, did not.

But that was what attracted me to her story in the first place—because of how elusive Anne remains to this day. She is known in fragments but never completely. Some are aware of her child’s horrific kidnapping and murder. Others remember her chiefly as the shy, pretty bride of the most heroic man of his time. Many women revere her as an early feminist writer.

But few know her entire story, including her major accomplishments as an aviator in her own right, her grit and determination, her inner strength. Always she seems willing to stand in the tall shadow of her husband, Charles Lindbergh. And it was her marriage that fascinated and obsessed me; this marriage between two extraordinary and very different individuals under the relentless glare of the spotlight. This operatic life they led, through dizzying heights of accomplishment and celebrity to the devastating lows of what Anne always saw as the price they paid for flying too close to the sun.

It seemed to me, as I studied her, standing always slightly behind her husband, that there was a sly smile, a gleam in her eyes that she was always suppressing; a secret strength hidden from the world and even, at times, herself. This was the Anne Morrow Lindbergh whose story I wanted to tell. It’s time for Anne to step out from behind her husband’s shadow once and for all and be the heroine in her own epic story.

Photos from The Aviator's Wife

Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Courtesy of SDAM

Click here for a larger image

Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. at Next Day Hill, NJ.

Copyright: Lindbergh picture collection, 1860-1980 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University

Click here for a larger image

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:27:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Despite her own major achievements--she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States--Anne Morrow Lindbergh is viewed merely as Charles Lindbergh's wife. The fairy-tale life she once longed for will bring heartbreak and hardships, ultimately pushing her to reconcile her need for love and her desire for independence, and to embrace, at last, life's infinite possibilities for change and happiness.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 3 descriptions

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