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The Aviator's Wife

by Melanie Benjamin

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
1,7851669,431 (3.81)1 / 63
Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
 
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”USA Today
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, 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 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. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she 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.
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
Praise for The Aviator’s Wife
 
“Remarkable . . . The Aviator’s Wife succeeds [in] putting the reader inside Anne Lindbergh’s life with her famous husband.”The Denver Post
“Anne Morrow Lindbergh narrates the story of the Lindberghs’ troubled marriage in all its triumph and tragedy.”USA Today
 
“[This novel] will fascinate history buffs and surprise those who know of her only as ‘the aviator’s wife.’ ”—People
 
“It’s hard to quit reading this intimate historical fiction.”—The Dallas Morning News
 
“Fictional biography at its finest.”Booklist (starred review)
“Utterly unforgettable.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“An intimate examination of the life and emotional mettle of Anne Morrow.”The Washington Post
“A story of both triumph and pain that will take your breath away.”—Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker.
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 Early Reviewers: The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin3 unread / 3TooBusyReading, April 2013

» See also 63 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 167 (next | show all)
I'm not sure what the author intended when writing this. Were we meant to see Anne Morrow Lindbergh as a sympathetic character or as a privileged, shallow, weak woman? I've never read anything complimentary about Charles Lindbergh and there wasn't anything new here to change my mind. But at the end of this book, I also disliked Anne. ( )
  ellink | Jan 22, 2024 |
I didn't realize when I first picked up the book that I'd already read something by this author. I listened to [b:The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb|9689093|The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb|Melanie Benjamin|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1320416504s/9689093.jpg|14577174], which got pretty tedious after awhile. And when I first started reading (actually reading) this book, the Mrs. Tom Thumb narrator's voice was in my head, annoyingly. I could tell for certain they were by the same writer. Fortunately, Mrs. Tom Thumb's voice left my head and I could read this story without the shadow of the other. And since I was in control of the pace of this novel, I could skim when parts got too tedious (too descriptive or meloncholy, for example).

Both novels act as a telling of a famous man's wife's story, someone who is known to history primarily through her husband. Not a bad way to read a history novel, really. But these are both relatively light reads, a bit of back and forth text where most of the story is told when the narrator is in her later years, looking back, giving hints of the tragedies and knowledge that would come as time progressed. Of course with Anne Lindbergh, the reader is likely familiar with some of the bigger tragic events, so those "foreshadows" are not giving much away.

It's historical fiction, light female reading. Not a bad book for a summer's day, though I never really connected with Anne or her husband. Just another observer, peering into their life through an author's imagination.
  LDVoorberg | Dec 24, 2023 |
Very interesting book. Couldn't put it down. ( )
  bcuperus | Dec 22, 2023 |
CW: child is kidnapped and killed.

I can't say I enjoyed this book. I really had no feelings about it which I believe is actually worse than not liking it. It was interesting in parts but it definitely felt like a really really long audio-book (even on 1.75 speed, which incidentally gives the story an interesting vibe as everyone has a real sense of urgency about them - like they need to go to the bathroom or something). I didn't like either of the main characters and I am not really interested in finding out if they were as unlikeable in real life or not. ( )
  Mrs_Tapsell_Bookzone | Feb 14, 2023 |
The wives of famous men must sometimes feel invisible. That was not quite true of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of Charles Lindbergh, once the most celebrated human being on the planet. She was his copilot on many record-setting flights and the first American woman to fly a glider by herself. She wrote several books, most notably The Gift from the Sea. She got much more attention than she ever wanted after the kidnapping and murder of her first-born son. She had to wear a disguise to go shopping or to a play, even before the age of television.

Melanie Benjamin, whose insightful biographical novels are among the best being written these days, covers all this and more in “The Aviator's Wife” (2013). One might think it would be difficult to make a cohesive story that stretches all the way from their first meeting, soon after Lindbergh's solo flight to Paris in 1927, to his death in 1974, yet Benjamin pulls it off nicely.

Like everyone else, young Anne never thinks Charles would ever choose her. Elizabeth, her more beautiful older sister, is the one the Morrow family pushes in front of the hero when he comes to visit. Yet he sees in Anne someone more like himself — someone intelligent, orderly, reserved and adventurous. Yet Anne isn't quite the female version of himself Charles imagines her to be.

She yearns for a more traditional family, with husband and wife living in the same home and sleeping in the same bedroom, surrounded by their loving children. Yet Charles always has somewhere else he has to be and often leaves for months at a time, then is distant even when he comes home. His children admire him, yet also fear him. He is demanding and rarely lets his feelings show.

Anne doesn't learn until near the end of his life that her husband has other families in other countries, although by this time she has already been involved in a longtime adulterous relationship with the family doctor.

As in her other novels, the authors sticks close to the facts, filling in the blanks, such as those regarding emotions and private conversations, to build her story.

The author doesn't back away from the aviator's admiration for Hitler in the 1930s, his negative attitude toward Jews and his strong opposition to America's involvement in the war. Anne, like Melanie Benjamin herself, doesn't stand behind everything Charles Lindbergh does or doesn't do, believes or doesn't believe. Yet she never stops regarding him as a hero. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Jan 18, 2023 |
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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.
Quotations
Our mother was as tightly wound as a bedside clock
Why couldn't confidence be bottled, like perfume?
Mother turned to me with a smile that suddenly crumbled, like a sand castle overwhelmed by an unexpected tide.
"But almost as soon as I landed, I began to feel it—the awful realization that I'm never going to be left alone. People always want more from me, and I don't know what I can give them. I already flew across the ocean."
for the first time I sensed the darker side of accomplishing so much, so young.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Fiction. Literature. Historical Fiction. HTML:In the spirit of Loving Frank and The Paris Wife, acclaimed novelist Melanie Benjamin pulls back the curtain on the marriage of one of America’s most extraordinary couples: Charles Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
 
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”USA Today
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, 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 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. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she 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.
 
Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader’s Circle for author chats and more.
Praise for The Aviator’s Wife
 
“Remarkable . . . The Aviator’s Wife succeeds [in] putting the reader inside Anne Lindbergh’s life with her famous husband.”The Denver Post
“Anne Morrow Lindbergh narrates the story of the Lindberghs’ troubled marriage in all its triumph and tragedy.”USA Today
 
“[This novel] will fascinate history buffs and surprise those who know of her only as ‘the aviator’s wife.’ ”—People
 
“It’s hard to quit reading this intimate historical fiction.”—The Dallas Morning News
 
“Fictional biography at its finest.”Booklist (starred review)
“Utterly unforgettable.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“An intimate examination of the life and emotional mettle of Anne Morrow.”The Washington Post
“A story of both triumph and pain that will take your breath away.”—Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker.

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