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

by Melanie Benjamin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9221269,486 (3.86)1 / 43
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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    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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Showing 1-5 of 127 (next | show all)
The good: a terrific story about Anne Lindenberg marriage to Charles Lindenberg. I could absolutely relate to Anne's destiny to follow her husband's destiny as a substitute for her own. To see Annies struggle to "find herself " ( as we baby boomers love to call it) and find happiness that she rightly deserves.

The bad : the gnawing feeling that Charles Lindenberg was a bully, a racist, egotistical maniac, narcissistic, selfish self-centered manipulating Nazi made this real life hero diminish considerably.

The ugly: even though this is a work of fiction the Lindenberg's has many children excluding baby Lindenberg and by his admission seven more with several other women. I found this horrifying.

The way the media hounded this family was a recipe for diaster that paved the way for the horrible car accident that ended Princess Diana ' s life ( )
  Alphawoman | Apr 10, 2016 |
I have strange feelings about this book. It seems like alot of excuses for Anne Lindburgh. But I do think she was married to a man who was a real bastard by nature but who was also somewhat a productof his life (through the press and kidnapping death of their child). No, I have to be honest here. The things he did: isolate her, completely control her and the kids, his complete superiority; these things lead me to suspect he was a wife beater. I've just seen to much of that professionally to not suspect it. So the burning question to me throughout the book was: who were you Anne? Did you agree with him or were you trapped and had to go his way? I think her decision not to follow his last order probably tells her real thoughts. In the end, I am glad she escaped him in the method of the times, and I am glad that I don't live in such times. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
I hate stories about women who are controlled by men. This fictional account of Anne Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh made him look like a real ass. ( )
  amanaceerdh | Mar 21, 2016 |
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a 2013 Delacorte Press publication.

I vaguely remember hearing some buzz about this book a few years back, but, like so many books I intend to investigate, this one fell off my radar and I actually forgot all about it. Then I picked up “The Swans of Fifth Avenue” and it was so good, I went straight to my Overdrive account and checked out “Alice, I Have Been” and this book… The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin.

This book is a work of fiction based on the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.

I will confess, I tend to connect the Lindbergh’s to the horrible kidnapping and murder of their first child. I have read a few true crime books speculating on that case, and of course some insight was given as to what Anne and Charles were like behind closed doors. But, I’ve never read any kind of biography of the either Anne or Charles, so I was curious how the author would portray them.

I think many people were given the impression that Anne was a quiet and shy lady, highly educated and articulate, and dignified. All these traits are presented here, but with fiction, we are free to explore what might have taken place behind closed doors, and hypothesize conversations and emotions. I believe the author did an amazing job of portraying Anne as a dutiful wife, a real lady, who found herself propelled out of her usual comfort zone, never entirely comfortable in the spotlight or in participating in all of her husband’s adventures. Yet, she grew to love flying and rose to all the challenges she faces as a public figure, married to a hero the entire world seemed to adore.

Historical fiction has become a favorite genre for me over the past couple of years. I love these books based on the wives of famous men or on infamous figures we only know from their public personas. However, not all historical fiction is created equally, especially when the portrait painted of the subject doesn’t ring true, or is flat out implausible, or entirely too many liberties have been taken with historical facts.

I readily admit, I knew very little about Anne Morrow before starting this book, but I felt this characterization of her was very believable and evoked a wide range of emotions in me. Often, heroes have feet of clay, and as we all know, Charles Lindbergh was no exception. He was a man of many accomplishments, but in his private life he was moody and difficult and emotionally unavailable to his wife and children. Anne was long suffering, believing herself to be weak, having to fight tooth and nail to enjoy her role as a hands on parent, and rising to the occasion when Charles all but abandons her. Was Anne a saint in contrast with Charles’ infidelities? Apparently not, and I’m a strong, strong believer in the old adage about ‘two wrongs, not making a right”, however, one couldn’t help but feel for Anne and her plight and given the circumstances I gave her a pass.

The only complaint I had was that the story did drag on for a bit, and the ending, seemed just a bit abrupt as I did not find Charles’ explanations gave Anne the type of closure she deserved, and I was left feeling a little puzzled by how this portion of the story was presented.

Did Anne know about Charles’ secret life? One may never really know, but I do think she and Charles tried to ensure his legacy remained intact after his death, so the public and his children were spared the humiliation of knowing of his foibles.

(Note: Over the past few years, many details of Charles’ other families have been made public)

Overall, this is a story of marriage, of family, of failures, and triumphs and the personal growth of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a woman of fortitude, strength and ultimately her own independence, soaring high on her own contributions and achievements.

I was impressed by this intimate portrait of Anne Morrow and think perhaps Melanie Benjamin has this historical fiction thing down to a science. I’m really looking forward to reading more of her novels.

4.5 stars ( )
  gpangel | Mar 17, 2016 |
Written with high-flying and crash-landing emotions, it is easy to forget that this is historical fiction and not a real account of the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, the wife of Charles Lindbergh. There is so much potential put into Anne's life. Keeping the times in mind, it makes you want more for her. Accomplished in her own right, she is often overlooked and forgotten when it comes to popular history. ( )
  Sovranty | Feb 14, 2016 |
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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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