Debra V. (Kenosha, WI)
The Aviator's Wife
Where to begin -- The book was a very interesting look at the life of a "hero's" wife. It was a very sympathetic portrayal of Anne, and initially her worship of Charles seemed justified. Their celebrity made it impossible to live a normal life but after their son was kidnapped Charles became a very unlikeable person for me. Perhaps the country's worship of him was the reason that he was so focused on his own needs but his treatment of his children was horrifying. I was really happy when Anne finally started to follow her own path and find someone to support and put her first. I enjoyed the book -- Thought it was worth reading just for the historical perspective.
Judy B. (Marysville, OH)
Astonishing story about the Lindberghs
I highly recommend this fictionalized story of the Lindberghs (based on the author's deep research). It is astonishing because although everyone knows of the famous couple--Charles, an aviation pioneer, and Anne, writer of Gift from the Sea--and, of course, of the terrible kidnapping of their firstborn child--the whole story of their relationship is not widely known. It is a sad, rich story, told from Anne's point of view, beautifully written in words both accessible and poetic. A brief example: After Anne, age 19, meets Charles for the first time and he singles her out, asking her to fly with him, Anne "...slept lightly. As if...I had a dream beneath my pillow that I did not wish to crush." Anne was a remarkable woman and this is a remarkable book.
Dorothy T. (Victorville, CA)
Good book for historical fiction readers
I began reading this novel with only a little prior knowledge about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, but Melanie Benjamin has whetted my appetite, and I am looking forward to reading more about this remarkable woman and reading some of her own writing.
Even though I knew beforehand the tragic outcome of the kidnapping of the Lindbergh's first child, I found that Melanie Benjamin managed to relate this part of the story with suspense and emotion, with a particular slant on the reaction of Charles at the time and throughout the rest of his life. The effect of this event on the Lindbergh's marriage is a strong theme that holds the story together, as well as the effect of the media and fan adulation on their lives. And this novel points up that a hero in private is not always what he seems to be in public.
I feel this book would definitely make a good choice for a book club selection.
Teresa M. (Naples, FL)
The Aviator's Wife
"Gift from the Sea" was the first book my book club read and ever since I have felt a connection with Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I live near Captiva, Florida where the book was written, so my book club discussed the book on the beach chapter by chapter over several months.
And I loved this book! In "The Aviator's Wife" I felt the author did a marvelous job of capturing Anne's voice. Even though she was married to the most famous man in the world,her life was not easy, and I can now better understand why she wrote "Gift from the Sea."
This is a great book for book clubs as the Lindberghs made several controversial choices in their lives, choices sure to inspire spirited discussion.
Linda P. (Rockport, ME)
The Aviator's Wife
Until I read Melanie Benjamin's exquisitely crafted novel, Anne Morrow Lindburgh seemed to be, as the title suggests, simply the aviator's wife. How wrong I was. Her remarkable life far outshines that of her famous spouse. She was his co-pilot around the globe (a fact I did not know until I read the novel) and the first American woman to earn a glider pilot's license; she was the single parent of the couple's six children – not just the mother of one son whose young life ended so tragically; she became a bestselling author. Most important of all, she was a woman who wasn't afraid to step out of the shadows of her husband's fame to seek personal fulfillment and happiness.
I thought the way Benjamin jogged between 1974 and 1927 as she told the couple's complicated story through Anne's voice was especially effective in demonstrating the steadfastness of her loyalty to a man who throughout their marriage offered numerous chances for her to abandon the relationship.
I highly recommend this book, but don't stray too far from the Kleenex box as you read. If you loved The Paris Wife and Loving Frank (especially) I expect that you'll enjoy Anne Lindburgh's story.
Joyce W. (Rochester, MN)
The Aviator's Wife
Wonderful book! One of the best books I have read. I can't say enough about the author's writing. She is amazing; I plan to read her other books now. Everyone knows the basic story of Charles and Anne, but this gives the details and the emotional life they lived. The book flows making it an easy read; you feel you are in the book feeling Anne's love, excitement, despair, heartache, strength and awakening. Anne was enthralled and controlled by Charles. She discovers her talents and strengths as she realizes Charles flaws. She was an amazing woman. I am recommending this book to every woman I know, especially in my age group (68). I was raised to be a wife and mother and put aside any career for myself. We were late bloomers because we put our husband and children first - but we eventually came to know and appreciate ourselves. The next generation should read this to be aware of what their mothers did for them.
Beth B. (New Wilmington, PA)
Fascination with the Lindberghs
I, like many others, have always been fascinated with the Lindberghs and eagerly began this book. How little I knew about the famous aviator! I feel that he was Lucky Lindy mainly because he chose a wife so wisely. She was the "glue" that enabled their family to endure heartwrenching sadness and the horrid effects of celebrity.
Although this is not the best volume of historical fiction I've read, I'd recommend that you persist to discover how Anne Morrow Lindbergh steps away from her husband's shadow and finds courage to live fully as her own self.
The author accomplished one of her goals: this reader has been "inspired to research these remarkable lives" more fully.