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.
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.
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Melanie Benjamin is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE and THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, as well as the national bestseller ALICE I HAVE BEEN, and THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MRS. TOM THUMB, THE GIRLS IN THE PICTURE, MISTRESS OF THE RITZ and THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD. Her next novel is CALIFORNIA GOLDEN, a dazzling saga of mothers, daughters and sisters set in the vibrant surf culture of 1960s California. It will be out in August 2023.
Fascinating story....... Charles Lindbergh had three additional families in Germany.... after WWII ?/!!!!! So much 'drama'.... and so many secrets were kept! Geeee.... who knew? Not I.
I thought Charles Lindbergh was simply - haha --( ok, no small feat), the man who crossed the Atlantic with the Spirit of St. Louis..... "THE AVIATION HERO"..... I vaguely knew about the kidnapping of his infant son... and I certainly knew absolutely nothing about his wife, Anne.
Anne Morrow..... Ambassador's daughter, College educated, Aviator's Wife, mother of six children, author, and pilot, .......was enthralled and imprisoned being married to Charles A. Lindbergh. Charles didn't show an ounce of love - joy - or compassion towards children. So, why in the hell did he HAVE SO MANY??? Not only did he and Anne have 6 children, but he had 7 more illegitimate children with 3 other mistresses in Germany. He was a SPERM DADDY! ...... and for whatever reason...Anne, as intelligent as she was... she kept her husband's secrets, backed him politically even when she didn't believe as he did. She was not 'really' pro Hitler, as he was... but she backed him. Charles was even speaking out in favor of eugenics. Both Charles and Anne suffered public opinions for a period of time. In my opinion - Anne did what she felt she needed to do. She 'did' take care of her own needs - in her own 'secret' ways.
For those who have not read this book---late to the party like me---this is a page turning compelling story. Great movie material!!!
This book came out almost 4 years ago. I remember seeing the book 'flying' around the Goodreads universe -- but I didn't give this book much thought - one way or another at the time. Seeing the word "WIFE" in the title had become a 'brain-kill' for me. Another one??? Wife.....wife.... wife!!!!
Some of the other titles that come to mind are: The Paris Wife, The Silent Wife, The Doctor's Wife, The Senator's Wife, The Crane Wife, The Tiny Wife, The Lost Wife, Saturday Wife, The Good Wife, The Secret Wife, The 19th Wife, My Husband's Wife, The Twilight Wife, The Zookeeper's Wife, ......and........THE AVIATOR'S WIFE, was just one more 'wife' book. A little overloaded, I stopped noticing any of THE WIVES!
However, Cathy, Goodreads friend, sent me a personal message recently asking if I might read this book. She had read it - and she was interested in a discussion with me. So.... I got the book from the library- and started reading this DRAMATIC STORY! It's FAST ADDICTIVE READING! ......I learned more than I ever thought I needed to know about this family! I learned about Charles' unlikable characteristics and his controlling attributes. I learned about the kidnapping & killing of Ann and Charles first born child. I learned about Anne's siblings... her father, and mother. I learned about ANNE. She was a woman who found her strength. In time she empowered herself to source her own happiness and choices.
Great book ---it's historical fiction. A NOVEL that reads like a MEMOIR. This is one WIFE book worth reading! Anne Morrow Lindbergh is the unsung hero of this story!
Thank you Cathy! I'm glad I read it... ready for book discussion!
Really strong Historical fiction. At first I didn't think I liked how anti-feminist it seemed to be, but then it really knocked me on my ass and became a really strong female empowerment story. I really didn't know much about the Lindbergh's and only had a small interest in them. But what I found most fascinating was the outlines aabout the birth of the paparazzi in their story. They were the first power couple to have their lives become so public that they couldn't have anything sacred and private anmore. When you make it to the end be sure you read the Author's Note. The extra reading recomendations sent me straight to the shelves of The Strand to find out more!
The Lindberghs had been married for almost 40 years when Tammy Wynette sang "Stand By Your Man" in 1968, but it's a song Anne Morrow Lindbergh could have written about her relationship with aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh.
Sometimes it's hard to be a woman Givin' all your love to just one man You'll have bad times, and he'll have good times Doin' things that you don't understand.
But if you love him you'll forgive him Even though he's hard to understand And if you love him, oh be proud of him 'Cause after all he's just a man...
It's a perfect theme for Anne's 45-year marriage to a difficult, tyrannical man. "Stand by your man, and show the world you love him..." That was Anne's job, showing the world an unshakable facade of a couple united in all opinions. Said opinions were formulated by Charles, who then foisted them upon Anne as part of her wifely duty. She even went so far as to write a pamphlet stating that some form of fascism was "the wave of the future," supporting Charles's isolationist, reputedly pro-Nazi stance on World War II.
Anne Lindbergh narrates her own story in this novel, but Charles inevitably dominates their shared stage. And what a jackass he was. I never knew. The way Melanie Benjamin portrays him makes it tough to understand how Anne could have fallen for him. But she was so besotted with his image as the handsome heroic pilot that she overlooked his personality flaws.
In short, Charles Lindbergh was a cold, distant, bigoted, dictatorial philanderer. Even after all the hell he put her through, Anne wasn't quite willing to let go of her heroic fantasy, choosing to focus on his numerous admirable accomplishments. And yes, he did encourage her in accomplishments of her own, but the message was always clear: "Do well enough to make me look good, but don't forget, I'm the important one."
This novel was a plodder for me, although I do appreciate the bits of history I was able to glean from it. I was especially interested to learn of how the Lindberghs were hounded by the press and other hangers-on. I knew the press had been relentless after what happened to Charles Junior, but I'd been unaware of how they'd been deprived of privacy for most of their married life.
The first part of the book was difficult to get through. Anne's fawning, giddy worship of Charles reads like an unromantic historical romance. It appears that she just could not wait to take up her position as doormat for "Lucky Lindy". After tragedy strikes, Anne has to develop a more mature view of her marriage, and the narrative loses some of that sappy, insecure tone and giddy romantic babble.
The Aviator's Wife is due out in mid-January. I would recommend it for readers of light historical fiction with emphasis on emotions and domestic relationships. Readers with a taste for rich, complex historical fiction are likely to regard it as a light appetizer rather than a sumptuous meal.
I knew two things about Charles Lindbergh before picking up this book: he flew the first solo, nonstop, transatlantic flight aboard The Spirit of St. Louis and his baby was kidnapped. I knew nothing about Anne Morrow Lindbergh, but was captivated by her story from the first chapter. I know all lovers of historical fiction say it and I’ll repeat it, this is why I love this genre and was inspired to spend hours down the rabbit hole of the web researching in fascination and wonderment that this woman had escaped my knowledge.
Melanie Benjamin reveals a time and woman I will not soon forget. She reveals the significance of Lindbergh’s flight, the hero worship that followed which was on par with what we saw with Princess Diana and what the author calls ‘the truly operatic scale’ of Anne Lindbergh’s life, one that has been overshadowed by her husband’s achievements, as well as, his faults.
This woman was a product of her time, deferring to the limitations imposed by class and then her husband, but she was also intelligent, valiant and accomplished. She was not only her husband’s co-pilot--trusted by Lucky Lindy to navigate the world on record-breaking flights--she was also one of the first licensed radio operators and the first American woman to earn a glider pilot’s license. Beyond that, she was a talented writer and an adoring mother raising all of her children seemingly without much help from her famous husband.
Beyond unearthing these facets of Anne Lindbergh’s, the author also manages to create a world we feel steeped in, taking every step alongside the aviator’s wife and feeling like an omniscient participant. She creates such tension in the time leading up to the kidnapping, as a reader you know what is going to happen, you know how that chapter in their lives ends and yet she writes it in such a way that you feel their hope and eventually their misery in every word. Their grief permeates the rest of their lives and you carry it with them.
I’ve been trying to write shorter reviews and I’m already way over my limit, but I was so taken with this story and this remarkable woman who has been relegated to the shadows of history that I couldn’t do brevity. Suffice it to say, I found this story captivating and enlightening and I highly recommend it to fans of biographical fiction with a caveat. This is still a work of fiction and the Charles Lindbergh in this story is not the shining figure most know, but I trust in this author’s research and her ability to imagine characters’ actions based on historical facts. That is what the best authors of this genre do.
4.5 stars! This was an engrossing, fascinating and educative novel!
This book tells the story of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Anne Morrow was the quiet daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, who shocked many when she married Colonel Charles Lindbergh (“Lucky Lindy”). Charles Lindbergh became famous after flying the first solo non-stop transatlantic flight between North America and mainland Europe in 1927.
Prior to reading this novel, I had very little knowledge of the Lindbergh’s. Their romance was a unique and captivating story. What they endured as parents is something I could never imagine going through and surviving – it would be my worst nightmare.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s inner strength was immeasurable. I was shocked to learn that she was an accomplished pilot herself – she became the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States.
In the Author’s Note, Melanie Benjamin writes “As a historical novelist, the most gratifying thing I hear is that the reader was inspired, after reading my work of fiction, to research these remarkable people’s lives further. That is what historical fiction does best, I think; it leaves the reader with a desire to know more. I hope my novel accomplishes this….” Melanie Benjamin, I can assure you that you have accomplished your goal with this reader! My interest has definitely been piqued to learn more about Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I hope to read her published diaries and books. What an amazing woman she was!
How does one rate a book in which the author does such a wonderful job with the story---but to the point that one dislikes the characters? This is the trouble I had with The Aviator's Wife. I knew very little about Charles and Anne Lindbergh, but had seen pretty decent reviews of the book. While I really enjoyed Benjamin's writing style---and look forward to her next venture into historical fiction---I almost put the book down without finishing it because Charles Lindbergh was such a misogynistic, anti-Semitic, narcissistic creep. And that's putting it nicely! The further into the story I read, the less I liked him. To be fair, neither of the Lindberghs seemed to have many redeeming qualities by the end of the book.
My rating for Benjamin as an author would be a 4/5, while the story and characters really only deserve a 2 or 3/5.
Aggravation was the main emotion I had while listening to this.
With this being said, I am glad that I read it via audio format, because if I had read the print book I most likely would have DNFed it.
I don't think the writing was bad, the flow was okay and it was told in a consistent and steadily progressing narrative. So, there's that.
I just did not feel any sensitivity towards the protagonist at all. I know she is a real person and I'm sure the author researched her and her life very well, but if I never hear the terms, "my husband" or "my baby" again, I will be happy.
This really isn't my type of novel, but if you like stories about a marriage, from start to finish, and the complexities and disappointments that involves you may really like this.
It may not be a Meg book, but that doesn't mean it is not a (fill in your name here) book.
The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin is a 2013 Delacorte Press publication.
I vaguely remember hearing some buzz about this book a few years back, but, like so many books I intend to investigate, this one fell off my radar and I actually forgot all about it. Then I picked up “The Swans of Fifth Avenue” and it was so good, I went straight to my Overdrive account and checked out “Alice, I Have Been” and this book… The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin.
This book is a work of fiction based on the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, wife of the famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh.
I will confess, I tend to connect the Lindbergh’s to the horrible kidnapping and murder of their first child. I have read a few true crime books speculating on that case, and of course some insight was given as to what Anne and Charles were like behind closed doors. But, I’ve never read any kind of biography of the either Anne or Charles, so I was curious how the author would portray them.
I think many people were given the impression Anne was a quiet, shy lady, highly educated and articulate, and dignified. All these traits are presented here, but with fiction, we are free to explore what might have taken place behind closed doors, and hypothesize conversations and emotions. I believe the author did an amazing job of portraying Anne as a dutiful wife, a real lady, who found herself propelled out of her usual comfort zone, never entirely comfortable in the spotlight or in participating in all of her husband’s adventures. Yet, she grew to love flying and rose to all the challenges she faced as a public figure, married to a hero the entire world seemed to adore.
Historical fiction has become a favorite genre for me over the past couple of years. I love these books based on the wives of famous men or on infamous figures we only know from their public personas. However, not all historical fiction is created equally, especially when the portrait painted of the subject doesn’t ring true, or is flat out implausible, or entirely too many liberties have been taken with historical facts.
I readily admit, I knew very little about Anne Morrow before starting this book, but I felt this characterization of her was very believable and evoked a wide range of emotions in me. Often, heroes have feet of clay, and as we all know, Charles Lindbergh was no exception. He was a man of many accomplishments, but in his private life he was moody and difficult and emotionally unavailable to his wife and children, not to mention the eventual revelations of his double life.
Anne was long suffering, believing herself to be weak, having to fight tooth and nail to enjoy her role as a hands on parent, and rising to the occasion when Charles all but abandons her. Was Anne a saint in contrast with Charles’ infidelities? Apparently not, and I’m a strong, strong believer in the old adage about ‘two wrongs, not making a right”, however, one couldn’t help but feel for Anne and her plight and given the situation, I didn't hold it against her to the same extent I may have in other circumstances. Anne, also made some monumental errors in judgment, most notably her stance on the war with Germany as she backed her husband's political views.
The only complaint I had was that the story did drag on for a bit, and the ending, seemed just a bit abrupt as I did not find Charles’ explanations gave Anne the type of closure she deserved, and I was left feeling a little puzzled by how this portion of the story was presented.
Did Anne know about Charles’ secret life? One may never really know, but I do think she and Charles tried to ensure his legacy remained intact after his death, so the public and his children were spared the humiliation of knowing of his foibles.
(Note: Over the past few years, many details of Charles’ other families have been made public)
Overall, this is a story of marriage, of family, of failures, and triumphs and the personal growth of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a woman of fortitude, strength, ultimately gaining her own independence, soaring high on her own contributions and achievements. I was impressed by the author's ability to remain neutral in regards to Anne's life, and did not attempt to sway the reader one way or another, but I did find myself sympathizing with Anne and gained a respect for her as she faced incredible adversity and endured more than anyone could have imagined.
I was impressed by this intimate portrait of Anne Morrow and think perhaps Melanie Benjamin has this historical fiction thing down to a science. I’m really looking forward to reading more of her novels.
This is a novel about Anne Morrow...how she met and married Charles Lindbergh and the life they shared..the joys...their sorrows...their tragedies.
My thoughts after reading this book...
My first surprise was the gentle way this novel reached out to me. From the start I understood that Anne Morrow felt differently about life. She wasn't as pretty and popular as her sisters...she was quiet...introspective...probably a bit insecure about herself. She loved to write. She was the daughter her parents could count on. And she was the daughter that Charles Lindbergh felt he should spend his life with. I think he felt that she "got" him. And he struck me as an odd duck...undemonstrative...analytical...driven? Perhaps compelled to find just the right wife for his life. One sentence from the novel sticks in my head...they met and married without either of them using the word love.
I think that I knew about Charles Lindbergh without really having any curiosity about his life or his wife. We used to live in St. Louis...every time we went to the airport we saw a replica of the Spirit Of St. Louis...but it meant nothing to me. The Aviator's Wife gets "down and dirty". Charles Lindbergh was not a nice man...he probably had OCD...he ran his life by rules and regulations. He was difficult with his children. He seemed emotionally removed from his wife and his family. He had issues with the government and wanted to live in Germany. Anne put up with all of this. She didn't seem to want to do everything he asked but she did...even when she knew she really shouldn't. She suffered for him and with him and I am not sure why. I have my thoughts about how she felt about him at the time of his death...and I know one thing...she didn't want to be buried next to him...what does that tell you...hmmm.
What I loved about this book...
Oh me oh my...I loved that era, I loved Anne, I loved Anne's mother, I loved the way Anne did whatever her husband asked her to do...she was devoted to him...but I am not sure why...it wasn't passion...it wasn't fear...I think she felt that it was her duty? I loved the way she woke up the day after her marriage...after a passionate romantic night...and she was afraid to hug or kiss him...she patted his arm. And he was sitting on the deck of their honeymoon boat waiting for her to make him breakfast...she had never cooked a day in her life!
What I did not love...
If this is the real Charles Lindbergh...he was a total creep! Anne was a saint for sticking with him...at first...I thought it was weakness but now I think it was strength that made her stay.
I loved this author's way with words...her research...this book was a novel that felt real. I loved every word of it!
I thought this book was incredible. This is the story of the relationship between Anne and Charles Lindberg told from her perspective. It's historical fiction and I gained so much insight from reading this book.
UPDATE: I wanted to add a more thoughtful review because I have been thinking about this book so much since I read it. This book is told from the perspective of Anne Morrow Lindberg, beginning when she is a daughter of the US Ambassador to Mexico. She meets Charles Lindberg and they marry (his interest really surprised her, but their courtship is described mostly through how much she loved flying with him). Their partnership was unique and intriguing. Charles Lindberg was so famous and, even though he considered her his co-pilot, her dreams and goals became completely wrapped up in his goals. I thought it was brilliant how the author showed her feelings about this - she was obviously a talented writer and was not able to pursue all that she wanted as a mother and wife of Charles.
As she ages, she gains momentum in pursuing her interests. Her actions are independent and strong, even for this time period, so I can only imagine how "different" it was for then. At one point, she leaves to write "Gift from the Sea", which becomes an acclaimed and popular book. While I have not read this book, it's amazing that it's about love, marriage, and aging. I read the reviews about it and people say "this is still relevant". It just goes to show how forward thinking she was and how brilliant she was.
Some people would read this and just focus on all you can learn from the historical aspect of their lives. Certainly, that was also an amazing part of this book - to have their perspective of the world at that time, both personally and internationally. But I relished the opportunity to learn about a woman's navigation of her marriage through decades of "standing by her man".
If I were an English lit professor, I might pair this book with Loving Frank and compare/contrast the role of women/wives as they are portrayed. That would be a really fun conversation!
He was the first one to fly non-stop solo across the Atlantic in 1927. She was the first licensed female glider pilot in the US. This is their life story full of exciting achievements, but not so much of love and warmth.
1927. Anne Morrow, a college student, is visiting her parents and siblings in Mexico City for Christmas break. Her mother is excited to host Colonel Charles Lindbergh and to be able to push the oldest daughter, the beauty, into his arms. But it is the shy Anne that catches his attention.
A year earlier, Anne heard his name for the first time, when he flew across the ocean. Now, she shares the sky with him as he takes her flying. Two shy people break the silence to share their dreams. He wants to improve aviation’s future. She wants to write a book.
Once the ice is broken, he proposes. Her marriage rubbed of feelings is full of structure, charting new paths and navigating. She loves the part of excitement of something different over ordinary dull life. They break the records; take pictures of “the ruins of Chichen Itza (Mexico) for the first time from the air, and in doing so we’d discovered other ruins as well.”
I enjoyed the character of Anne very much. She comes from family who values education highly. She comes from privileged background, but with her siblings they “never were allowed to feel rich or special.” Despite all that, she constantly feels in the shadow, first of her family, and later of her husband. She dreamed of becoming a writer, instead she charts new routes for her husband. She was expecting warmness in her marriage, instead she receives commends from her practical husband, lacking affection. How does she handle what is missing in her life and what overshadows her? She is a complacent wife and caring mother, but at some point she needs to do something for herself. And this classy and resilient woman does it phenomenally.
Charles, the great hero in aviation, is not so much of a hero in his private life. He is pretty cold and very demanding. He is all about structure, without any room for affection and warmth.
I was engrossed by the storyline and prose from the very beginning to the very end. Fully developed characters add much depth to the story. We know what Anne thinks and how she feels. Even those characters on the sidelines or appearing briefly bring something that defines them and add a punch to the story. Incredible and compelling writing.
This book is turning out to be both a serious drag and a disappointment. Poorly edited, with lots of bad grammar unbefitting an ambassador's daughter and a Smithie in the 1920s.
I doubt very much at this point that I'll bother with finishing it. But we'll see...
...Apparently the story was sticking with me more than I thought, and I kind of wanted to at least get to the kidnapping part of the story, and that's when the interest level kicked in for me.
Anne Lindbergh still made me want to slap her on every other page. She's smart and bright and articulate and from a socio-economic background that could let her accomplish *anything* and she wastes her life complaining to herself that she lets her husband control her and push her away and mistreat both her and her children. I had so very little patience for her.
She could write, she could fly, and there wasn't a door in the world that wouldn't have opened to her. Instead, she lurks in her husband's shadow, utterly incapable of forming her own opinions of things, incorporating his isolationist, anti-Semitic feelings into her own worldview, despite knowing otherwise.
On the other hand, she was often a sympathetic character: the kidnapping of her first born, the utterly foolish and asinine way her husband dealt with the kidnapping, and having to live the rest of her life with grown men writing to her, pretending to be her missing son. It was truly a life where heartache balanced out her privilege.
So I have to wonder if maybe that's exactly what Melanie Benjamin intended all along: to present a problematic character and invoke reader sympathy. If so, then well done.
I eagerly awaited the arrival of 'The Aviator's Wife' by Melanie Benjamin, it sounded like a great book that might be perfect for my book club. We generally like books with strong female protagonists that examine women's issues. I'd never read anything about the Lindbergh's but I enjoy fiction set during the 1920s which is when this story begins. I'd read other readers' reviews and everyone gave the book high marks, though some said the beginning was a bit slow.
I don't have any aversion to books that start slow, I think certain stories take time to lay the proper ground work before they can begin to be told properly. I'm always willing to invest my time in a slow start when there is a good chance for a satisfying pay off in the form of a great story in the end. Unfortunately this book didn't just have a slow start it had clunky, redundant, dull and uninspired writing throughout.
Benjamin writes the story as if Anne Morrow Lindbergh is looking back remembering the events of her life with her famous husband as he is about to pass from this world. She begins with Anne and a very ill Charles flying in a commercial aircraft with some of their children. They are all aware that Charles is dying and Anne is recalling their relationship and marriage of over forty years.
The first thing that struck me about the voice that Benjamin gives Anne Morrow was that her word choices, characterizations and articulation of emotions were very immature and unsophisticated. It didn't sound like the voice of a privileged, well educated, author and that was distracting, it gave the whole story a lack of authenticity.
The other thing that was distracting to me was the redundancy of certain characterizations without any elaboration or variation. I wish the author had limited the number of times she has Anne refer to her own grin, her tomboy grin, her jaunty grin, the grin she never believed herself. Other characterizations were repeated word for word as well.
The characterization of Anne Morrow Lindbergh as a door mat just didn't ring true to me. I felt that the author was judging Anne and characterizing her while looking through the lens of today's modern expectations of women and marriage. But Anne Lindbergh was a bride in the year 1929. Women were expected to follow where their husband lead them back then, it wasn't unusual or noteworthy. I thought the author failed to depict Anne in the context of the time period when she lived.
Overall I didn't care for this author's style of storytelling or writing. At her hand both Anne and Charles Lindbergh are unlikeable and unsympathetic characters and I did not enjoy reading about them.
This was a well written book about Anne Lindbergh and her marriage to the ultimate hero, Charles. The author gives us lots of insight into Anne's personality and of course fills her novel with the true picture of what Anne's life was like being married to an American hero. Certainly, it was not an idyllic experience and surely the death of her first child made for such a tragic start to their marriage at such a young age.
From Ms Benjamin's descriptions, Anne was a woman so fashioned by the man she married. She was Charles' wife, co pilot, and crew and he seemed to need her to be subservient to his will and his wishes. One oftentimes felt great sorrow for Anne and the children as Charles oftentimes was tyrannical and forced his needs always to the forefront in their marriage and their family. Charles, in this novel, certainly does not come off as the lily white American hero we so often have read of. The author explores his Nazi sympathy as well as the anti Semite stance he oftentimes took.
However, with all his faults, Anne continued to care for him in the hope that one day he would recognize her as his partner and his equal. As often is the case in historical novels, I learned a great deal about this golden couple. Their lives were not the stuff of fairy tales and although one might think their existence was charmed, the opposite was certainly true.
One felt very sorry for Anne and the children. She was left to raise six children while Charles went off looking to conquer the next windmill as he searched for that bit of bravura he found in his virgin trans Atlantic flight to Paris. It was very sad to find out that this hero was really not so heroic and that his family took a distant second place to what he wanted. All heroes may not necessarily be so when it is their family who is left neglected. Such was the life of Anne and her children. They were always to suffer for a father who could not see their worth because his star was always the one that had to shine the brightest.
2/21/13: I'm starting this book with great trepidation and am ready to put it down and stop reading it if necessary. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is one of my heroes. I've read many of her books of diaries and letters and Gift From the Sea. I think she was a remarkable woman for her time. She dealt with fame and heartbreak in the public eye her whole married life. At least that's how I've always seen her, so if this book starts to tilt me in a different direction I will stop reading. I would rather know and remember her through her own writings than someone's fictionalized account of her life.
2/24/13: If you want to read about Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life, please, please read it in her own words and not this greatly fictionalized account. We are so lucky to have her story written in her very moving letters to her mother-in-law, mother and sister, and in her diaries. Starting with Bring Me a Unicorn and Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead, it will tell you all of her thoughts and feelings upon meeting, marrying and adventuring with Charles, and takes you through the horrible experience of her baby's kidnapping. I don't need someone portraying Charles as unloving and unsympathetic when I can read Anne's own thoughts about his grief and loving sympathy towards her. I don't need an author telling me how horrible Charles' mother was when I can read Anne's loving letters to her. DID NOT LIKE THIS BOOK!
This book was completely different from what I was expecting, in that it was much better. I thought it would be a lighter book about a perfect marriage with the tragedy of the kidnapping to deal with. What I got was a great historical novel that showed me how much I didn't know about Lindbergh and his times, shown through the eyes of his wife Anne. Aside from the aviation genius and hero that he was, Charles Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer, an outspoken anti-semite, a cold and demanding father, and an unfaithful husband. He actually had 3 other mistresses and families in Germany, with 7 illegitimate children in addition to the 6 he fathered in his marriage. The story is told through the eyes of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, an aviatrix on her own, a beloved writer, mother who lost her first child tragically in the famous kidnapping in 1932, and raised her 5 later children virtually alone. Despite being a strong, brave, intelligent woman, she could never manage to stand up to her husband. The Lindberghs were the first couple to be hounded unmercifully by the press, giving birth to our modern papparazzi. I found something on every page to surprise me. (Norman Schwarzkopf's father was the lead investigating officer in the kidnapping, for instance.) Anne refused to be buried in Hawaii next to her husband, preferring to be cremated instead. She outlived him by almost 20 years. The emotions in this book seemed very real, the story was well told, and I enjoyed this read immensely.
The events in this book read like a novel. Wait this is a novel! The historical events are all true, but did Anne Morrow Lindbergh really think the way “The Aviator's Wife” thought?
Are Melanie Benjamin's characters' traits just speculation; a narrative to try to explain Anne’s actions? Making what seemed irrational decisions match with fictional internal dialog? According to Virnell Ann Bruce, who wrote a one-woman play on Mrs. Lindberg, Anne’s thoughts would not have turned out this way.
Several books containing Anne’s reflections, in the form of letters, diaries and journals have been published. As a source of research for The Aviator’s Wife, they would have been of great value. Benjamin read them, but points out in her author's notes that they were "helpfully" formed and edited by Charles himself, and seemed written to keep his legacy alive. Benjamin has written the emotional side of things from her imagination.
I have to remember that The Aviator's Wife is a work of historical fiction. The two main characters, Charles and Anne are both studies in the dichotomy of human thought. At times endearing, at others dreadful. All sewn into the chronological fabric of two remarkable lives.
Anne Morrow the quiet, unassuming daughter. Anne Morrow the shy sister of Elisabeth Morrow who hid in Elisabeth's shadow. Anne Morrow the woman no one thought would marry before her beautiful sister, Elisabeth married. Anne Morrow.....who did marry and who married a famous man....Charles Lindbergh, behind whom she continued to be a shadow.
Anne's life was beautifully detailed by Ms. Benjamin in terms of Anne's feelings and personality especially during the kidnapping. The era was nicely portrayed as well. It covered how women from wealthy families went to prestigious schools and never used their education, but were expected to be the perfect wife and mother. Ms. Benjamin will definitely get you involved in the story through her outstanding, exceptional, in-depth writing style.
I enjoyed reading about the era and about Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh. I would not have wanted to live Anne's life, though...she had no life of her own per say. She had to follow Charles on his adventures, be his wife, be in the public eye, and heartbreakingly leave her children. Despite all of this, she willingly allowed him to control her and willingly backed him no matter what. Anne did come out of the shadows as she aged and was actually a very strong woman.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, but don't think a man would enjoy it simply because of the domestic factors and the details of Anne Morrow's family and all of their lives. It is more geared toward women and the feelings and beliefs we as women share and that we like to know about other women's lives....especially famous ones. Anne, Charles, and the Morrow family led very interesting lives. I, as I am sure you will do, found myself looking up information on the life of the Morrows and Lindberghs just as the author said we would. :) ENJOY!!! 5/5
I won this book in a giveaway on LibraryThing with no compensation and simply a request for an honest review.
This book covers events that are known history, some of which will be discussed in this review. In the event that you are not familiar with the Lindbergh kidnapping, this review might seem a bit spoilerish. Consider yourself warned.
Anne Morrow is the daughter of the US ambassador to Mexico, and as such she's gently raised and well-educated, but life takes a bit of a turn when she catches the eye of aviator Charles Lindbergh and her quiet, ordered life is gone forever. Crossing the Atlantic solo wasn't enough for Lindberg, and he brings Anne along on other adventures in flight as his co-pilot and navigator. Lindbergh's fame and the paparazzi follow them everywhere, and it takes a terrible toll on their lives and their first born son.
That's as far as I'm going. If like me you don't know the rest of the story you don't want to be spoiled, and if you must know what happens, a visit to Wiki will reveal it all. I have to admit this was a bit of a slog at first, Anne was such a wimp doing whatever Lindbergh wanted, she really was just a shadow behind her famous husband, and I almost threw in the towel. Glad I didn't give up, because there's a lot more to Anne's story and her later years after Charles tucked her and their children away in the country and he kept on gallivanting around the world. And what do you do when you are stuck in the country after the children are grown and your husband is still off gallivanting? Hats off to Benjamin for telling Anne's story, and thanks for the author's notes at the end telling us what events were real and what were not - those are always appreciated. Boy, do I wonder if Anne really did find out about ... (info you would find on the Wiki page).
I was excited about getting the chance to read The Aviator's Wife before the official release. Really excited. What I wasn't expecting was how much I would outright enjoy Melanie Benjamin's interpretation of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
From the moment her engagement was announced in the papers, the real Anne Morrow was defined by her relationship with Charles. Even today her story lives largely in the shadow of her legendary spouse. Benjamin's book is of course a fiction, but it still offers an interesting glimpse at the hurdles she must have faced.
The Aviator's Wife begins when Anne was a college student. Privileged but insecure, unsure of the path she wanted to forge. Then, she meets Lindbergh. The plot charts a course through the early years of their marriage, her struggle with his expectations and her efforts to live up to them. It continues on, the young couple become parents, lose a child, and piece together a life while combating the specter of their own celebrity. The book culminates in Charles' death, Anne's reflections on their marriage and the revelation and personal acceptance of her own legacy.
In short, Benjamin packs some pretty powerful stuff into of one of the most recognizable marriages in American history. And she does it well. I loved this piece, this story of a woman who lost herself in the roles she felt she had to play: daughter, sister, wife, aviator, author, celebrity, mother. The Aviator's Wife is really about the strength the real Anne exhibited to the world, the courage and fortitude that kept her and Charles together even as the most private moments of their lives graced headlines around the globe. Fiction though it is, Benjamin's work really captured that.
I swear the book isn't as touchy-feely as I make it sound in this review. Benjamin presents a very dynamic characterization of an incredibly fascinating individual and the events that shaped her life. From the first page to the last, I was absolutely blown away by The Aviator's Wife.
This is a wonderful literary fiction. I knew a little about Charles Lindbergh and after this book I have a different perspective of him. He seemed to be a difficult man who had to have everything his way. Even if he wasn’t home, things had to be ran the way he wanted it. The kids had to follow very detailed schedules, they had books they were supposed to read and Ann was supposed to keep inventory of everything in the house including how many shampoo bottles there were while he flew around the world having affairs and children out of wedlock. Ann was an amazing person on her own. She was a pilot, she flew many different kinds of planes. She also survived the kidnapping and killing of her first born. She also ran things while Charles was gone. But she also seemed to put Charles before anything else including herself. This is beautifully written and really pulled me into the story making me want to know more about this family, more than I already knew.
Anne Morrow, the quiet daughter of a U.S. ambassador, was thrilled to be invited for a plane ride piloted by Charles Lindbergh. He was a famous American hero after his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927. After they were married in 1929, Charles brought adventure into Anne's life as she earned her pilot's license and flew as co-pilot on many important flights with him. But their marriage was far from ideal since Charles was very cool and regimented, always wanting to be in charge of any decisions. After the tragic kidnapping of their first baby, they had to cope with their grief while being dreadfully hounded by the press. (The book made me think about the pressures of always being in the public eye during difficult personal times, and brought Jacqueline Kennedy and Princess Diana to mind.)
The story shows Anne's emotional journey through a challenging marriage, and the childhoods of their children. "Charles Lindbergh, the hero" was a different man than "Charles Lindbergh, the husband and father" who often neglected his family. As Anne reached middle age she learned to create her own happiness, and find her own voice as an author.
Melanie Benjamin really brought Anne Morrow Lindbergh to life in her well-written book. "The Aviator's Wife" kept my interest all the way to the end.
I was so looking forward to reading this fictional account of the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I have long admired her writing, and have read much of her history, as laid down in her own words. Unfortunately, I think there was more of fiction than of history in this historical fiction by Melanie Benjamin. Of course, some creative license is expected, but I was appalled at how far askew of the facts Benjamin was willing to go. What made it more irritating was that the life of Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh needs no enhancement to make it interesting or compelling.
What struck me the most was how little of the essence of Anne Benjamin seemed to capture. I did not get the feeling that the girl she was describing was anything like the one I encountered in Anne’s diaries, nor could I catch a glimpse of the woman I found in Gifts From the Sea. I have, sitting on my bookshelf, an unread biography of Anne, and I am anxious to read that and see if my impressions are borne out by the biographer in a way they were not by Ms. Benjamin.
As for Charles Lindbergh, I think he was in a terrible position, as those who are worshiped as beyond human so often are, to find any happiness with his fame and fortune. I hope he was not as despicable a person as Benjamin has painted, although it does not take knowing much of his story to realize that his heroics were more of the bravery and courage realm than the moral one.
Anyone trying to imagine what life must have been like for these two people after the sensationalized events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of their first child must certainly have some difficulties. It would be hard to grasp an event like this without all the outside agitation, dealing with it in the face of so much adulation and insanity from the public is impossible to envision. What is fairly easy to comprehend is the difficulty of trying to have even a semblance of a normal life afterward. Few marriages survive such an ordeal, and in today’s environment, divorce would be an expected outcome. The strain of living with the memory alone would be insufferable. That they had the fortitude to bring five other children into this world is amazing.
To anyone reading this without a background in the actual history of Charles and Anne Lindbergh, I would only caution that you take what you are reading with a grain of salt. In an effort to be sensational, I fear Ms. Benjamin has also been unfair.
READ THIS BOOK I found this book remarkable from the beginning to the end. It's the story of a woman trying to find her own voice and her own life. She wanted more than to be the "Ambassador's Daughter", the "Aviator's wife" or the mother of her six children. She accomplished many things on this road and endured tragedy beyond comprehension. In the end, she took charge of her life and responsibility of her actions. She became a mature, grown-up woman.
Anne married a hero and that was a tough choice. The Lindbergh's were hounded by the press in a way that only Princess Di could have empathized with them. She virtually became a prisoner in her own home unable to go out to the theater or to shop. The only time they were free of scrutiny was when they were flying. In the earliest of airplanes, Anne became a pilot, a navigator and Charles' trusted one man crew. The soared before there were Tower controls, other planes, or radio communication. They planned airline routes and explored places that were hard to get to. They were a close couple and Charles called all the shots. Anne just obeyed.
Then children came along and Anne wanted to be with them. Her first child was kidnapped from her home and found murdered months later. They were innudated by well wishers, charlatans, police and, of course, the press. It was an event that marked their lives and forever changed them. They fled America and moved to England. Then Charles became enamored of Germany and Hitler. He spoke out in support of the Nazis and briefly flirted with the idea of living there. By the time the Lindberghs returned to America disillusioned of the Nazis they were shunned. His repeated requests to assist the government were denied until Henry Ford came to his aid.
That's only a drop in the bucket of event lived by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Through it all she struggled to find her own voice and turned to writing. She raised five kids. She supported the "hero" who came to depend on her more and more. And, most wonderfully, she found herself. She made a life she wanted that was in no one's shadow.
I believe all women should read this book and young women need to know women heroes like Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
I feel the author fails to capture the intelligence, spirit and courage of Anne Morrow Lindbergh - aviator, author and wife of the famed Charles Lindbergh. For this reason I cannot give more than two stars. Anne is drawn as weak, without self-reliance and totally dominated by her husband. The author acknowledges to a small extent Anne’s growth and self-reliance when she reaches her fifties. I base my belief in Anne’s strength having read articles on internet and the two books Lindbergh and Gift from the Sea. The latter is written by Anne. The former is Lindbergh’s authorized biography.
The writing is ordinary.
The book includes the latest information about Charles Lindbergh’s
There is an author’s note that explains what is fact and what fiction. I felt that the fictional elements played too heavy a role. Their first flight together is fictional. This is drawn in such a way to increase the novel’s romance. I feel this distorts the picture of their relationship.
The book is written by a contemporary author for today's readers, particularly women readers. Contemporary views of feminism color the writing. Romance too. The narration by Lorna Raver enhances the author’s message. Readers are to sympathize with Anne, to be infuriated by Anne’s domination by her husband.
In summary, I do not feel this book gives an accurate picture of Anne. I do recommend the two books mentioned above.
3.5 Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne are the subject of this new novel by Benjamin. Have to say that she most definitely did not portray Charles in a positive light, in fact he was not a very nice man at all. Very full of himself and his fame. Anne, had always been the good and responsible daughter, when Charles asks her to marry him she thinks she is the luckiest person alive. I tried to remind myself that back then women were subject to the wants of their husbands and divorce in the upper circles was not readily accepted. Despite this I did not much like Anne either, though I did feel sorry for her. The kidnapping of her son was beyond horrific and the bungling of this situation by her husband even worse still. Despite that they go on to have a marriage and more children. The fact that she has made me feel all this while reading this book is to the author's credit. I do think in places the story dragged a bit but all in all this was an interesting story on the life of two famous and interesting people. Love that Benjamin brings to light characters not over written in history, by this I mean Anne not Charles. Looking forward to seeing what this author will tackle next. ARC by publisher.
This is a brilliant account of what very well may have been the life of Anne Morrow Lindburgh. Since it is a novel, we know it isn't all fact. But Benjamin has certainly hit the nail on the head. I will always think of Anne as she is portrayed here.
Many novels are touted to be like THE PARIS WIFE or LOVING FRANK, in that they are as good. But this one truly is.
I can't wait to begin handselling it at the store. My review for Naples Daily News will run closer to pub date.
Cudos to you, Melanie Benjamin. You have hit the jackpot with this one!!
Soția aviatorului este un roman de o frumusețe tulburătoare. Dacă nu ai ști că este povestea adevărată a Cuplului Aerului, ai fi tentat să spui că, și pentru un roman de ficțiune, are prea multă dramă, prea multă durere. Din nefericire, spre rușinea mea, nu știam mai nimic despre viața lui Charles Lindbergh. Știam doar câteva lucruri, mai ales despre cariera sa. Cu ajutorul autoarei Melanie Benjamin, am citit o carte de excepție și am rămas nu doar cu un bagaj de emoții. Am rămas și cu multe informații prețioase, dar și cu dorința de ști mai mult despre Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Melanie Benjamin urmează foarte aproape destinul tragic al celor doi soți. Eu iubesc romanele istorice, dar citesc prea puțină biografie. Dacă toate cărțile care pun pe tapet viața unor personalități ar fi scrise așa, cred că nu mi-aș dori să citesc altceva. Melanie Benjamin a urmărit firul evenimentelor, fără să le modifice foarte mult. Dar a știut unde și cum să îndulcească istoria. A „folosit” tonul potrivit și eu mi-am imaginat-o mereu pe Anne povestind.
Autoarea a știut să evidențieze calitățile și stările personajelor, le-a folosit în povestea sa pe cele dominante. Simți dragostea, supunerea, disperarea, durerea și resemnarea. Întregul proces se desfășoară sub ochii tăi, nu vrei să iei pauză, nu vrei să cobori din povestea asta care zboară sub ochii tăi. Nu pot să redau în cuvinte cât de mult mi-a plăcut. Mai ales pentru că este o poveste adevărată. Nu știu de câte ori am vrut să intru în carte, să o prind pe Anne de umeri și să o scutur bine. Nu știu de câte ori nu am vrut să o cuprind în brațe și să îi spun că nu este singură. Mai ales când i-a fost răpit întâiul născut.
O autobiografie care mi-a placut foarte mult, scrisa cu si din suflet, despre o femeie celebra, iubita si admirata, necunoscuta (spre rusina mea, desi nu e niciodata tarziu sa inveti), despre puterea aparentelor si a unei imagini create in exterior si despre cat de diferita e ea de adevarata persoana din spatele ei. Anne a fost o femeie care s-a lasat modelata de personalitatea dominatoare a sotului ei, care cu siguranta a iubit-o si si-a dorit ce a fost mai bun pentru ea, dar intr-un mod toxic, desi suna paradoxal. Casnicia lor a fost presarata cu multe momente de dragoste, dar si de inselaciune si durere, de abandonare a luptei si de egoism. Chiar merita descoperita povestea sotilor Lindbergh, a aviatorului care si-a facut din sotia lui perechea perfecta, partenera lui de zbor si de viata, mama copiilor lui si propria lui umbra ...sotie care abia dupa ce s-a desprins de el a aflat cu adevarat cine e.
Another really good book. I keep reading books that are so good and I can't put them down. I'm very lucky I read book reviews all the time and I know what I want to read. I love historical fiction and I really enjoy this author She does a lot of research when she writes a book and you get such good insight into the characters she's writing about. I of course knew a lot of things about the Lindberghs. I lived in Hunterdon County New Jersey which was where the child kidnapping took place and the trial was held. I also knew Anne from her book which my mother encouraged me to read when I was younger. This is a beautiful story about a truly wonderful and good person. I definitely recommend.