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The Aviator's Wife

By Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife
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  • Hardcover: Jan 2013,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Nov 2013,
    448 pages.

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Jana (07/17/13)

Loved this book
This book was fascinating reading. Although I was familiar with the Lindbergh kidnapping case, I learned a lot I didn't know about Anne and Charles. I didn't know that they were plagued by reporters everywhere they went, even before the kidnapping. I also didn't realize that Anne was a pilot in her own right, and was the first licensed female glider pilot in the U.S. I also wasn't aware of the problems in their marriage, and Charles's anti-Semitism and Nazi sympathies. By making this book a work of fiction, the author was able to give readers an idea of how Anne felt about her marriage and accomplishments. And it made me want to read a biography of Anne Morrow Lindbergh to see how accurate the author's story is.
Becky H (02/27/13)

Fame can be terrifying
This well written fictionalization of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s life from just before she meets Charles A Lindbergh until his death in 1974 is thought provoking. Approximately equal time is given to “the events of 1932” (the kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh’s first born child), the early days of the their marriage and Anne’s development as an aviatrix and navigator, and Anne’s life as mother usually left alone as her husband is increasingly absent. Charles’ possible antisemitism and both of their positive opinions of Germany under Hitler’s early days is briefly touched upon.

The novel is the story of their marriage and Anne’s transformation from naïve and easily compliant young girl to confident, self-reliant woman sure of herself and confident of her ability to write. Charles is portrayed as arrogantly self-confident, selfish and controlling of both his wife and children even while also needing Anne’s unflagging support.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to others interested in reading/learning more Anne, her marriage and the early days of “women’s liberation”. This book will provide much fodder for discussing marriage, family dynamics, child rearing methods, news gathering and reporting, and America during the Nazi era and during wartime.
Shells (02/06/13)

Not just a wife . . .
I’ve been studying Anne Morrow Lindbergh for more than ten years and I found the excerpt in Good Housekeeping from “The Aviator’s Wife” by Melanie Benjamin to be not only a misrepresentation of her early life, but if this continues throughout the book, a travesty to the accomplished woman Mrs. Lindbergh was.

I give classes and presentations on Mrs. Lindbergh, and have written a one-woman play on her (Shells -- a Cameo of Anne Morrow Lindbergh), so I was distressed to see her life turned into a Harlequin novel.

Mrs. Lindbergh had a fascinating and accomplished life: she came from great wealth, she married the world’s most famous hero of her time, she was a pioneering aviator, and she was a significant writer of the 20th century. Her early letters and diaries as well as her public appearances later in life clearly show she was a shy young person. In fact, she described herself as the shiest, most self-conscious adolescent who ever lived. When she met Charles Lindbergh in 1927, she was just months away from graduating from Smith College with the two most prestigious writing awards given by the school. But she absolutely and clearly was not a helpless dunce, at that time or anytime afterward.

Mrs. Lindbergh also said that early on in her marriage, she considered herself a devoted page serving her knight, a role she could play until she grew up. Well, she did grow up. And anyone who has read the latest book of her letters and diaries edited by her daughter Reeve Lindbergh, Against Wind and Tide, would clearly see that Mrs. Lindbergh grew to understand not only her own intelligence and self worth, but also her contributions to Charles’ successes.

So to have a book that defined her life in terms of her husband by the title (The Aviator’s Wife) is an erroneous beginning to even attempt to tell the story of this remarkable woman.

I have read and studied everything I can get my hands on related to Mrs. Lindbergh, so I will read this book. But if it continues to present inaccuracies on every page as well as a frivolous and disparaging attitude toward someone for whom I have so much admiration and respect, I only hope I can finish it.
Caroline R. (New Canaan, CT) (01/16/13)

a wife's perspective
Very enjoyable and interesting perspective on Charles Lindbergh's life as told through the eyes of his wife. Good character development with the right amount of fact and fiction. I found myself routing for Anne and disliking Charles more than I expected.
Johanna M., Anderson's Bookshop, (Naperville, IL) (01/11/13)

"A" for the Aviator's Wife
Years ago I enjoyed reading "Gifts of the Sea" and only as I began "Aviator's Wife" did I recall the little book that made me look at shells differently. I read eagerly the life of Charles and Anne all the while hoping they would find true peace in their lives together. I especially enjoyed how Ms. Benjamin described the historical details surrounding Hitler's Germany of the late 1930's. Historical fiction makes history come alive and Ms. Benjamin is one of the best. I look forward to handselling this title for bookgroups to discuss. I have seen Melanie Benjamin's books on the shelves at work and have thought "have to read that next" but, now they are on a pile next to my bed! Look forward to meeting her at her upcoming signing!
Kathrin C. (Corona, CA) (01/07/13)

A 20th Century Flight
I was first captivated by Melanie Benjamin's writing while reading her debut novel "Alice I Have Been". Her work seamlessly merges historical fiction and biopic - it takes you straight to other times, into other places and reintroduces you to someone maybe you thought you knew of. And there was so much more to know! The Aviator's Wife certainly brought out the very complicated world, relationships, challenges and limitations that Anne Morrow Lindbergh faced in the early and mid-1900s and has also drawn me to want to learn more about her life and her writings.
Lois P. (Logan, UT) (12/26/12)

A Book to Savor
"The Aviator's Wife" is one of the best historical novels I've read this year! If you're an Anne Morrow Lindberg fan, you'll be glued to the page and admire Anne's resilience and courage even more as the strong woman behind the public image is brought to life. Somehow knowing what's going to happen just makes the story all the more suspenseful. If you don't know much about the Lindbergs, meeting Anne through Melanie Benjamin's eyes is a special treat. I can tell you I read the last line, grabbed a tissue--then immediately scrounged up my old copy of Gift from the Sea. Don't miss this one!
Marie A. (Warner, NH) (12/23/12)

Who Were The Lindberghs?
In this novel, Melanie Benjamin successfully delves into a complex life led by complex characters. Exquisitely portrayed is Anne Morrow Lindbergh in a way few have been privy to. She is not the shrinking violet forever stuck in the shadow of her famous husband but rather a loving, courageous, strong-willed, intelligent, creative woman. During the course of the novel, Anne comes to realize her strengths as a wife, a mother, and a woman. Anne doesn't need a hero; she is a hero and more than just "the aviator's wife." Anne's voice is strong and reassuring as she relates her own story in the first person narrative.
A thoroughly enjoyable read--a book club hit!
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