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Susan B. (Sarasota, FL)
Stunning portrait of the Lindberghs
Melanie Benjamin has written a fictional first person account of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life. Born in a strong privileged family, meeting the most famous person on earth, a hero of huge magnitude, she marries him and starts the rocky road to find a real person behing the myth.
Marie D. (Waretown, NJ)
A spell-binding tale by a hero's wife!
This book had me from the first word, it is well written, the characters are defined in such a way I felt I knew them. Ms Benjamin writes from the perspective of how Anne, Charles and the family were as real, emotional people. The story is based on their true lives but using historical fiction as her method of writing allows her to bring out all the emotions of their lives. We watch as Anne gains strength to be her own person at the same time she supports and makes excuses for her husband, who diminishes in his own life as a national hero as well as a personal hero and his inability to have any true interaction with her or his children. The kidnapping does not overpower the story but you do feel the anguish of having such a terrible event happen. It is a part of their story but far from the entire story.
This is an excellent book that is destined to be one of the best of 2013.
Book clubs will find a lot of challenging discussions about the Lindberghs
From the first page, I was hooked and prepared to take flight with Anne Lindbergh on her incredible life journey. That she took that journey with America's hero, Charles Lindbergh, a man she loved at first sight, made the story historic and thrilling. It is a tale of commitment - to spouse, children and country. The kidnapping and murder of her first-born son, Charlie, is, of course, well-known, but as Ms. Benjamin recounts the events up to and following the death, so much more is revealed. It is gripping, to hear in the mother's words, her anguish over of the loss of the baby. The decades the Lindberghs spent dealing with national and international attention —which turned from admiration to hateful criticism — make the paparazzi of today seem mild-mannered! Mrs. Lindbergh managed to live a full and interesting life and to achieve literary success on her own, but she remained, always, the Aviator's Wife.
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.
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.
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.
Teresa M. (Naples, FL)
The Aviator's Wife
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.
"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.
Linda P. (Rockport, ME)
The Aviator's Wife
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.
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.
Beth B. (New Wilmington, PA)
Fascination with the Lindberghs
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.
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.