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BookBrowse Reviews The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

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The Aviator's Wife

by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin X
The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2013, 416 pages
    Paperback:
    Nov 2013, 448 pages

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The Aviator's Wife is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage - revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows.

Melanie Benjamin's The Aviator's Wife is a top choice among BookBrowse readers. 17 out of 20 reviewers gave it 4 or 5 stars! Here is what they say about this highly regarded book:

This beautiful, compelling novel is the unfolding of a love story, a slice of aviation history. It reveals what happens when a couple is thrust into the limelight, having to endure unrelenting hounding from the press and the public (Barbara K). Until I read Melanie Benjamin's exquisitely crafted novel, Anne Morrow Lindburgh seemed to be, as the title suggests, simply the aviator's wife. But her remarkable life far outshines that of her famous spouse (Linda P). From the first page, I was hooked and prepared to take flight with Anne Lindbergh on her incredible life journey (Marie D).

Some readers were especially impressed with the depth of Benjamin's characters; interested to learn more about the real dynamics between Charles and Anne:

I am so glad that I read this book. Who knew that Charles Lindbergh was so mean or that Anne was such an accomplished aviatrix in her own right? There is so much more to learn about these two individuals. If what this novel portrays is even partly true, the Lindberghs' story is the perfect proof that no one knows a marriage except the partners and even then one of them may be blind to the truth (Keating V). Even though I knew beforehand the tragic outcome of the kidnapping of the Lindberghs' 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. This novel points up that a hero in private is not always what he seems to be in public (Dorothy T).

And others were spurred on to do more research (or reflect on what they remember) on their own:

What a great story! The author has whet my appetite to want to dig further into the biographies of Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Charles Lindbergh…It was also interesting to note that the media had as profound an effect on celebrities then as it does today (Elizabeth K). It is wonderful to read a fictional version of a story and then research the person's life. This story was particularly interesting as it reminded me of the stories I heard about the Lindberghs as a child. To reflect how I felt then to how I feel now... as a mother and a spouse, was very thought-provoking. (Teresa R). Excellent reading experience that now has me searching out more about this couple – especially Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Marcia M). I enjoyed the book – thought it was worth reading just for the historical perspective (Deborah V). 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 (Beth B). I can tell you I read the last line, grabbed a tissue – then immediately scrounged up my old copy of Gift from the Sea (see backstory). Don't miss this one! (Lois P)

Other readers were captivated by Benjamin's beautiful writing style, which brings the story to life:

A sad, rich story, told from Anne's point of view, beautifully written in words both accessible and poetic (Judy B). 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 (Susan B.) The author's style of writing in the first person allows you to become totally immersed in the character of Anne and all her inner conflicts and insecurities in her early years and the strength she exhibits as she is forced to deal with the realities of her life (Brenda D).

Who should read this book?

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 (Joyce W). This is a great book for book clubs as the Lindberghs made several controversial choices in their lives, choices sure to inspire spirited discussion (Teresa M). In this novel, Melanie Benjamin successfully delves into a complex life led by complex characters… A thoroughly enjoyable read – a book club hit! (Marie A)

This review was originally published in The BookBrowse Review in January 2013, and has been updated for the November 2013 edition. Click here to go to this issue.

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