Author Guest Post
Melanie Benjamin on The Aviator's Wife
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 Aviator'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 heroines—Alice Liddell in Alice I Have Been and Lavinia Warren Stratton in The Autiobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb—gave up their secrets easily, almost eagerly. Anne, however, did not.
But that was what attracted me to her story in the first place—because of how elusive Anne remains to this day. She is known in fragments but never completely. Some are aware of her child’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. It’s time for Anne to step out from behind her husband’s shadow once and for all and be the heroine in her own epic story.
About The Author
Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
Melanie Benjamin ~ The Aviator's Wife ~ Virtual Book Tour Page ~ Pump Up Your Book!
Publisher: Delacorte Press / Random House Publishing
Publication Date: January 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover - 416 pages / Kindle - 1342 KB / Nook - 3 MB
Genre: Historical Fiction / Women's Fiction
BUY THE BOOK: The Aviator's Wife
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Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.
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.
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 Book:
“Vivid and mesmerizing, The Aviator's Wife takes us behind the scenes and into the heart of the woman who loved and married Charles Lindbergh. That was her destiny – a life that took her soaring into the skies and then plunged her to earth, a story of both triumph and pain that will take your breath away.” —Kate Alcott, author of The Dressmaker
My Book Review:
The Aviator's Wife is a riveting historical novel written in first person narrative from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's point of view. The story begins in 1927 when Anne, the shy young daughter of the Ambassador to Mexico meets the famous pilot Charles Lindbergh in Mexico City, and then it alternates back and forth from 1927 to the present time of 1974.
Anne was the daughter of the Ambassador to Mexico, she was an accomplished writer, a mother, and an aviatrix in her own right. Through Anne's eyes we learn of her life and marriage to the world's most famous aviator, Charles Lindbergh, and their family. During the course of her marriage to Charles Lindbergh, aka "Lucky Lindy," she suffered unimaginable heartbreak when her first child was kidnapped and murdered, confusion about her role in her rigid husband's life, and inconceivable betrayal by him. The deferential, idealistic and submissive Anne at the beginning of the novel is not that Anne at its end.
Author Melanie Benjamin's in depth research and understanding of the Lindbergh family is phenomenal. The raw emotions Anne experiences throughout her married life jumped right off the pages and tugged at my heartstrings. The author does a wonderful job of portraying the life and marriage of Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh, as well as the emotional toll that her husband's notoriety and the kidnapping and death of their oldest son took upon them both personally and as a couple. As their story unfolds, the reader learns about their courtship, their travels with her as the co-pilot, their first child's abduction and murder, the press relentlessly hounding them, Charles' isolationist and anti-Semitic views prior to WWII, and the post-war years leading up to 1974 when Charles is dying of cancer. The author is adept at capturing the growth of a woman from her early twenties through her sixties, as she changes from a shy woman defined by the men in her life (first her father, then her husband), to a confident individual and accomplished writer. The author also captures the true persona of Charles Lindbergh, a hero and celebrity, this man was also a deeply flawed man who was controlling and narcissistic.
The Aviator's Wife is a wonderful historical fiction story of a woman who grew from a naive young bride dominated and overshadowed by her famous husband, into a woman who had a life with many accomplishments of her own. This story is reminiscent of The Paris Wife and Loving Frank.
RATING: 5 STARS *****