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The Aviator's Wife: A Novel
by Melanie Benjamin

Published: 2013-01-15
Hardcover : 416 pages
66 members reading this now
283 clubs reading this now
44 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 36 of 36 members
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.
 
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife ...
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Introduction

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.
 
“The history [is] exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars.”USA Today
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

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  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.
 
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 is a vividly imagined novel of a complicated marriage—revealing both its dizzying highs and its devastating lows. With stunning power and grace, Melanie Benjamin provides new insight into what made this remarkable relationship endure.

Praise for The Aviator’s Wife
 
“Remarkable . . . The Aviator’s Wife succeeds [in] putting the reader inside Anne Lindbergh’s life with her famous husband.”The Denver Post

“Anne Morrow Lindbergh narrates the story of the Lindberghs’ troubled marriage in all its triumph and tragedy.”USA Today
 
“[This novel] will fascinate history buffs and surprise those who know of her only as ‘the aviator’s wife.’ ”—People
 
“It’s hard to quit reading this intimate historical fiction.”—The Dallas Morning News
 
“Fictional biography at its finest.”Booklist (starred review)

“Utterly unforgettable.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“An intimate examination of the life and emotional mettle of Anne Morrow.”The Washington Post

“A story of both triumph and pain that will take your breath away.”—Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker

Editorial Review

Melanie Benjamin on The Aviatorâ??s Wife

Dimitri Maex

What was I thinking, writing a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh?

That is a question I asked myself every time I sat down to work on The Aviatorâ??s Wife.

For Anne Morrow Lindbergh guarded her privacy fiercely and, at times, I felt she was eluding me just to make that point! My other heroinesâ??Alice Liddell in Alice I Have Been and Lavinia Warren Stratton in The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumbâ??gave up their secrets easily, almost eagerly. Anne, however, did not.

But that was what attracted me to her story in the first placeâ??because of how elusive Anne remains to this day. She is known in fragments but never completely. Some are aware of her childâ??s horrific kidnapping and murder. Others remember her chiefly as the shy, pretty bride of the most heroic man of his time. Many women revere her as an early feminist writer.

But few know her entire story, including her major accomplishments as an aviator in her own right, her grit and determination, her inner strength. Always she seems willing to stand in the tall shadow of her husband, Charles Lindbergh. And it was her marriage that fascinated and obsessed me; this marriage between two extraordinary and very different individuals under the relentless glare of the spotlight. This operatic life they led, through dizzying heights of accomplishment and celebrity to the devastating lows of what Anne always saw as the price they paid for flying too close to the sun.

It seemed to me, as I studied her, standing always slightly behind her husband, that there was a sly smile, a gleam in her eyes that she was always suppressing; a secret strength hidden from the world and even, at times, herself. This was the Anne Morrow Lindbergh whose story I wanted to tell. Itâ??s time for Anne to step out from behind her husbandâ??s shadow once and for all and be the heroine in her own epic story.

Photos from The Aviator's Wife

Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Courtesy of SDAM

Click here for a larger image

Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. at Next Day Hill, NJ.

Copyright: Lindbergh picture collection, 1860-1980 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University

Click here for a larger image

Excerpt

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Discussion Questions

Suggested by Members

I used the internet and printed out some quotes from Anne and Charles and we discussed those as they fell in line with the boook
by bookchicks (see profile) 07/22/16

First flight insights
Smithsonian
Other historical figures as noted in the book - Guggenheims
by sandiperkey (see profile) 01/20/16

How would the story be different if written from Charles' viewpoint?
Anne keeps asking why Charles had his affairs but seems okay with hers! Does this raise a double standard?
How does one balance fame, fortune and being a public figure with privacy rights?
by mrblock (see profile) 07/21/15

no
by Carole McDermott (see profile) 11/21/14

Do you think Ann knew about his other children?
by hernanka (see profile) 11/13/13

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

No notes at this time.

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Member Reviews

Overall rating:
 
 
by Maengun52 (see profile) 03/12/20

 
by Hanknlori (see profile) 12/01/19

 
  "Who knew?"by TravelBling (see profile) 08/29/19

The other side of the story...thanks for bringing us such insight into the Lindbergh's life.

 
by jcunningham (see profile) 06/25/19

 
  "The Aviators Wife"by mmbeckham (see profile) 10/30/18

Very interesting and so much I had never known about the Linbergh. Fascinating... Anne was so much more than her husband could even imagine. Lovely writing.

 
by phoebe.terry (see profile) 01/17/18

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