Book Recommendation: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Posted By on Feb 4, 2013 | 5 comments

The Aviator's Wife






The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Publisher: Delacorte Press, January 15, 2013

416 pages, hardcover



From Goodreads:

“For much of her life, Anne Morrow, the shy daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico, has stood in the shadows of those around her, including her millionaire father and vibrant older sister, who often steals the spotlight. Then Anne, a college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family. There 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 celebrated 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. Hounded by adoring crowds and hunted by an insatiable press, Charles shields himself and his new bride from prying eyes, leaving Anne to feel her life falling back into the shadows. In the years that follow, despite her own major achievements—she becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States—Anne 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.”

A tale about the Lindberghs is not one I’d thought I’d ever read but I’m so glad I did. How sad that the only one in that family that got the spotlight was Charles. Anne’s life as a wife and mother during this specific time period was much like many other women; she put other’s needs and desires before her own. What makes that so remarkable was that here was a woman who served as co-pilot and help chart navigational routes for the airline industry. She had learned to navigate by the stars. She was the first woman in America to earn a glider pilot’s license plane. She had done so much herself but yet, never considered those things really hers. She did them for Charles.

Anne Morrow’s life was envied by so many women but little did they know what really went on behind the tightly shut curtains hiding the real Lindberghs. Reading this story from Anne’s viewpoint was very enlightening and while I know this is a work of fiction, the emotional merit Melanie gives Anne makes it seem as if I was reading an autobiography. Her heart had taken such an emotional beating with the tragic kidnapping and death of her first born, the whirl wind life her husband demanded of her while leaving her children behind, as well as the constant abandonment by her own husband. Her compliance in the beginning almost drove me nuts but considering the times and how she grew up along with magnitude of her husband, I understood her behavior. As I neared the end, I ached for her for all the years she missed out on living her life.

My favorite part of the book is the ending where she finds herself flying solo, metaphorically as well as literally, finally finding peace with her life. It was a monumental moment for her as a character and it read like I was watching a movie. This novel would make a brilliant film, telling the story of the incredible woman behind the American legend. I look forward to doing some research of my own to learn more about this extraordinary family, which is always signals a great historical fiction read in my eyes.

Melanie did a beautiful job creating Anne’s voice as well as highlighting what made her an exceptional woman by her own merit and strength. She incorporated so many historical elements into the story from cameos by famous historical figures to each and every place the Lindberghs called home. (And there were many!) If this story doesn’t make you vow to live a more “true” life, I don’t know what will.

It’s a wonderful tale of historical worth and I highly recommend it.

{I received this advanced reader’s copy via Netgalley}

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