The Aviator’s Wife
by Melanie Benjamin
Read: Feb. 10-15, 2013
Challenge: No Challenge
Yearly count: 10
Source: Pump Up Your Book Promotions
Blurb: 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. Then Anne meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh, fresh off his 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. In the years that follow, the fairy-tale life Anne 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.
Drawing on the rich history of the twentieth century – from the late twenties to the mid-sixties – and featuring cameos from such notable characters as Joseph Kennedy and Amelia Earhart, The Aviator’s Wife reveals the dizzying highs and devastating lows of a complicated marriage. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.
Review: Wowzers. This has definitely been a great reading year for me and it’s only February 🙂 This is another book that I absolutely adored!!
Let me start by telling you what I knew about Charles Lindbergh before I began this book.
- He was the first to fly solo across the Atlantic.
- His son was kidnapped and eventually found murdered.
That’s it. That’s where my knowledge of Charles Lindbergh and his family ended. I had no idea what his wife’s name even was. I didn’t know that they went on to have 5 more children (Jon, Land, Scott, Ansy & Reeve).
And do you know what I came away with when I put the book down? The feeling of wanting to know more! And to me (and the author, as she states in her Author’s Note), that is the best part about historical fiction.
So now I suppose I should actually tell you about the book itself. (Other than that you should go buy a copy!)
The book starts out with introducing Anne Morrow and her family. Then it progresses with the short courtship of Anne and Charles. Then it goes on with the marriage, birth of their first child, kidnapping of Charles Jr., and then spends a lot of time of their lives in the aftermath of the kidnapping and murder of little Charlie, and then ends with Charles’ death.
But as Ms. Benjamin explains in her Author’s Note – this is really a book about the relationship between Anne and Charles. And I must say, that the way Charles is depicted in this novel – well, if that’s who he really was in real life, he was one very cold man. And that’s the nicest thing I could say about him. There were many times when I wanted to reach into the book and grab him by the neck to tell him to straighten up and act like a human for goodness sake!
For example, shortly after Charlie’s body was found, Anne was obviously having a very difficult time. Any parent would. But somehow Charles wanted her to throw it all under a rug and forget it. I was absolutely appalled. But I will say that when the book finally reaches its conclusion it makes you realize just how differently everyone grieves.
Throughout the book you are given glimpses into the future, to 1974 when Charles is on his way to his final resting place in Hawaii. And without giving away any spoilers, I can tell you that I was absolutely shocked by what Anne finds out at the end. However, that’s not to say it was completely surprising, giving the way that Charles appeared to be throughout his life and their marriage.
But Anne. Oh, Anne. What a woman she turned out to be. The reader really sees her grow from a shy, self-conscious young woman who is convinced that Charles must be mistaken in wanting to marry her – after all, her sister, Elisabeth was a much better candidate – to a strong mother who finally stands up to her husband once and for all. She really grows into her confidence. She finally writes that book Charles knows she’s capable of writing. She is the best mother she can be. And she stands by her husband, through it all. But when you finish this book, you will really have a great respect for exactly who Anne Morrow was. Because, honestly, I really do think that she was exactly what Charles needed in his life … she was, as he was fond of saying, his crew.
Overall, I highly recommend this book. I’ve definitely got my second candidate for my Top 10 reads list 🙂
Melanie Benjamin is the author of the nationally bestselling Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb.
Her latest book is the historical fiction, The Aviator’s Wife.
Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
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**This review is posted in conjunction with the Pump Up Your Book! blog tour. I received a copy of this book to review in exchange for my honest opinion. I
received no monetary compensation.