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

by Melanie Benjamin

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1,0531367,986 (3.87)1 / 50
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

Work details

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

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    BookshelfMonstrosity: Although The Women recounts several love affairs between architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his paramours, the lush lyricism of this richly detailed biographical novel may appeal to fans of The Aviator's Wife, which also explores the complexities of romantic relationships.… (more)
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This is the fictionalized first person narrative of the life of Anne Morrow who married the aviator Charles Lindbergh. It is a very well written and fascinating story of an extremely intelligent and well educated woman. She was the daughter of Elizabeth and Dwight Morrow. She first met Lindbergh in Mexico City while her father was the American Ambassador. At the time Lindbergh was an international hero because of his solo transatlantic flight in 1927. They were married in 1929 and began their life together by flying and mapping flight paths. She became an aviator in her own right, earning a pilot's licence and learning to fly solo, without instruments.
In their day, they were huge celebrities and tried to hide from the press as do celebrities today. The book tells the tragic story of the kidnapping and murder of their first child Charles and the ensuing media storm. The tragic outcome was extremely difficult on the family, especially Anne as Charles locked it away in his mind.
Their marriage was happy but he was an introvert and a control freak who wanted to hide his family away. Ann stood by him, even when he adopted his America First and anti-Semitic philosophy before WWII which alienated many colleagues, friends and family. She was basically a single parent while he travelled the world for PanAm airways. Once her children leave home, she gets and apartment in New York and begins to lead a happier life among friends. She begins a long affair with her family doctor.
Charles Lindbergh died in 1974 of lymphoma and is buried in Maui. He and Anne had six children, including baby Charles. As he lays dying, she discovers that he had seven other children with 3 women in Germany. She cannot forgive him for betraying his children.
This is very good book and a very good insight into a long but lonely marriage. ( )
  MaggieFlo | Feb 19, 2017 |
I actually enjoyed this book. I wasn't all that familiar with Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh. I did find it fascinating at the end with the author's notes and what was actually the made up parts of the story. It was interesting to learn how she changed things to make the story appealing. I am now interested in actually looking up the books that were mentioned and also learning more about them. ( )
  crazy4reading | Feb 10, 2017 |
I've always been fascinated by Charles Lindbergh. This book is told from his wife Anne's point of view and if it is anywhere near to being accurate in its portrayal of the Lindberghs, it gave me a good, if somewhat unhappy, glimpse into both their lives. I enjoyed this smoothly written and emotional story. I think it was written for fans of women's fiction, although anyone interested in the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, rather than Charles, will find this an engaging read. ( )
  enemyanniemae | Feb 1, 2017 |
This book is about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of Charles Lindbergh. Such a great book. ( )
  MinDea | Jan 25, 2017 |
I have to admit, I grew up with a mother who loved Anne Lindbergh's writings, especially her Gift of the Sea, and after I became a wife and mother, I too appreciated her lyrical prose and thoughtful observations about the tug of roles most women must face. And I knew about Charles Lindbergh's history, his absolute godlike status: The Lone Eagle, Aviator of the World, in the late 20s, the horrible kidnapping and death of their firstborn son, & even his disturbingly pro German, anti-Jewish sympathies when world war loomed. I even have visited his quiet, tucked away grave site when I was on the island of Maui. But I didn't know how very difficult a marriage - while certainly long lasting!- the two endured. In the opening chapter, Benjamin takes on the voice of a young Anne, a college senior, and narrates their story, but especially Anne's, in both retrospective and chronological sections. At first, Anne's constant explaining, "telling" of her emotions, doubts, etc was tiresome and I feared I would give up. But somewhere in the first third of the book, I felt like the author began to balance the explaining of the characters of not just Charles and Anne, but their family members, world figures and famous friends - all while putting them in the context of the whirlwind of events: the late 20s, the trailblazing long distance flight trips of Anne & Charles, and the emergence of the flight industry, turning to the grim realities of the Depression and the rise of dictators and Nazism, including the '36 Olympics, and the America First pacifist movement in presidential election politics... all while we watch Anne discover her fearlessness in becoming a pilot and radio operator herself!, her struggle to be the wife Charles insists she can be, and the mother to her growing family. And in between all this, we watch her hesitantly, in fits and starts, try to find her own way, and her gift of writing. I obviously wasn't paying attention to breaking news 6-7 years ago when three German siblings stepped forward and claimed to be Charles Lindbergh's children by a German mistress. And more children by the woman's sister? And children by his secretary?? And another fling with a Filipino woman? And Anne herself apparently having a brief affair with Antoine de Saint-Exupéry- while this isn't covered in the book, (this seems an interesting omission? )- Anne finally determines to find her own way apart from Charles and has a deeply satisfying relationship with her family doctor, Dana Atchley, finding joy in her friendships, pursuits in NY City and beyond, and her children's grown lives. Wow. Stunning - Benjamin's way of dealing with this much more private reality of the Lindbergh marriage is interesting, and at least plausible. I'd really like to make my rating 3 1/2 ...this book grows on you. ( )
  BDartnall | Dec 28, 2016 |
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Epigraph
"But the eyes are blind. One must look with the heart." - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Dedication
To Alec
First words
He is flying.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:12 -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 4 descriptions

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