The Aviator's Wife

( 147 )

Overview

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.
 
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. ...
See more details below
Hardcover
$18.35
BN.com price
(Save 29%)$26.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (24) from $3.00   
  • New (10) from $14.00   
  • Used (14) from $3.03   
The Aviator's Wife: A Novel

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

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.
 
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 Ambassador’s Daughter 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 MELANIE BENJAMIN
 
The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb
 
“By turns heartrending and thrilling, this bighearted novel recounts a fictionalized life of this most extraordinary of women in prose that is lush and details that are meticulously researched. I loved this book.”—Sara Gruen
 
Alice I Have Been
 
“This is magic! Childhood, sensuality, love, sorrow, and wonder, all bright and complex as the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope.”—Diana Gabaldon

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Talented historical novelist Benjamin has a knack for picking intriguing, if somewhat obscure, women in history and making them utterly unforgettable. Told from the perspective of Anne Lindbergh, wife of the famed aviator Charles, her third novel (after TK) doesn't disappoint. When Anne first meets Colonel Charles Lindbergh in 1927 he's a hero, world-famous after completing his cross-Atlantic flight; Anne is a simple college girl living in the shadow of her radiant older sister Elisabeth. To everyone's surprise, then, it's Anne who catches Charles's eye. And so begins their enthralling journey together. Intimately depicting their marriage of duty and partnership in the air, as well as the horrific kidnapping and murder of first child Charles Jr., this is less love story than voyeuristic glimpse at one of the 20th century's most captivating men through the eyes of the woman who knew him best. In true Benjamin style, it's Anne who captures us all in this exquisite fictional take on an iconic marriage. Agent: Melanie Jackson, the Melanie Jackson Agency.
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Library Journal
Benjamin (Alice I Have Been; The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb) examines the life of a woman whose story has frequently been overshadowed by that of a more famous man. A starstruck Anne Morrow is thrilled when Charles Lindbergh proposes marriage shortly after his famous transatlantic flight. Initially overjoyed to serve as the dashing young aviator's "crew," she soon discovers a dark side to her husband's ambitions and yearns to break free of his rigid expectations for her. Benjamin's primary focus is on Anne's evolution from submissive helpmate into the author of the feminist classic Gift from the Sea. Her extremely unsympathetic portrayal of Charles may startle readers expecting more of a love story. Anne's life provides plenty of material to hold interest, including on her days as a pioneering aviatrix, her heartbreak following the kidnapping and murder of her infant son, and the controversy surrounding Charles's unpopular political views during the buildup to World War II. VERDICT Well-researched and paced, this novel will certainly spark readers' interest in learning more about this famous couple.—Mara Bandy, Champaign P.L., IL
Kirkus Reviews
Biographical novel of Anne Morrow and her troubled marriage to pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh. Anne, self-effacing daughter of a suffragette and an ambassador, is surprised when Charles, already a celebrity thanks to his first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927, asks her--instead of her blonde, outgoing older sister Elisabeth--to go flying with him. And it is Anne whom Charles will marry. At first, the glamorous couple's life consists of flights all over the world: Anne becomes a pilot and navigator and Charles' indispensable sidekick. However, when in 1932 the Lindberghs' first child is kidnapped from his nursery, the resulting press furor almost destroys Anne. In addition to her grief over her lost firstborn, a grief that Lindy doesn't appear to share, Anne suffers the downside of fame as public adulation turns to prurient sensationalism. The couple takes refuge abroad, where they enjoy the orderly routine and docile press of the Hitler regime, as long as Charles is willing to accept a Nazi medal and attend rallies. However, Kristallnacht proves too much even for Lindbergh's anti-Semitism, and he and Anne return to the States as war threatens. As more children arrive, Anne is beginning to bridle at Charles' domineering ways, however the aspiring author is too insecure to contradict him even as he offends her liberal friends and family by siding with right-wing groups who claim that the Jews are trying to force America into war. At Charles' behest, and against her own principles, she pens The Wave of the Future (1940), an isolationist screed which renders her anathema to the intelligentsia: Even her alma mater, Smith College, disowns her. In 1974, after 47 years of wedlock, Anne must decide whether to finally confront her husband. Although the portrayal of such a passive character could easily turn tepid, Benjamin maintains interest, even suspense, as readers wonder when Anne's healthy rebellious instincts will burst the bonds of her dutiful deference. A thoughtful examination of the forces which shaped the author of Gift from the Sea.
From the Publisher
“The history is exhilarating. . . . The Aviator’s Wife soars. . . . Anne Morrow Lindbergh narrates the story of the Lindberghs’ troubled marriage in all its triumph and tragedy.”USA Today

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

“[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
 
“Melanie Benjamin inhabits Anne Morrow Lindbergh completely, freeing her from the shadows of her husband’s stratospheric fame.”—Isabel Wolff, author of A Vintage Affair

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345528674
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/15/2013
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 199,449
  • Product dimensions: 6.02 (w) x 8.38 (h) x 1.34 (d)

Meet the Author

Melanie Benjamin
Melanie Benjamin is a pseudonym for Melanie Hauser, who has written two contemporary novels. She is the author of the nationally bestselling Alice I Have Been and The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb. Benjamin lives in Chicago, where she is at work on her next historical novel.
Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

Benjamin / THE AVIATOR'S WIFE

chapter 1

December 1927

Down to earth.

I repeated the phrase to myself, whispering it in wonder. Down to earth. What a plodding expression, really, when you considered it—­I couldn’t help but think of muddy fields and wheel ruts and worms—­yet people always meant it as a compliment.

“ ‘Down to earth’—­did you hear that, Elisabeth? Can you believe Daddy would say that about an aviator, of all people?”

“I doubt he even realized what he was saying,” my sister murmured as she scribbled furiously on her lap desk, despite the rocking motion of the train. “Now, Anne, dear, if you’d just let me finish this letter . . .”

“Of course he didn’t,” I persisted, refusing to be ignored. This was the third letter she’d written today! “Daddy never does know what he’s saying, which is why I love him. But honestly, that’s what his letter said—­‘I do hope you can meet Colonel Lindbergh. He’s so down to earth!’ ”

“Well, Daddy is quite taken with the colonel. . . .”

“Oh, I know—­and I didn’t mean to criticize him! I was just thinking out loud. I wouldn’t say anything like that in person.” Suddenly my mood shifted, as it always seemed to do whenever I was with my family. Away from them, I could be confident, almost careless, with my words and ideas. Once, someone even called me vivacious (although to be honest, he was a college freshman intoxicated by bathtub gin and his first whiff of expensive perfume).

Whenever my immediate family gathered, however, it took me a while to relax, to reacquaint myself with the rhythm of speech and good-­natured joshing that they seemed to fall into so readily. I imagined that they carried it with them, even when we were all scattered; I fancied each one of them humming the tune of this family symphony in their heads as they went about their busy lives.

Like so many other family traits—­the famous Morrow sense of humor, for instance—­the musical gene appeared to have skipped me. So it always took me longer to remember my part in this domestic song and dance. I’d been traveling with my sister and brother on this Mexican-­bound train for a week, and still I felt tongue-­tied and shy. Particularly around Dwight, now a senior at Groton; my brother had grown paler, prone to strange laughing fits, almost reverting to childhood at times, even as physically he was fast maturing into a carbon copy of our father.

Elisabeth was the same as ever, and I was the same as ever around her; no longer a confident college senior, I was diminished in her golden presence. In the stale air of the train car, I felt as limp and wrinkled as the sad linen dress I was wearing. While she looked as pressed and poised as a mannequin, not a wrinkle or smudge on her smart silk suit, despite the red dust blowing in through the inadequate windows.

“Now, don’t go brooding already, Anne, for heaven’s sake! Of course you wouldn’t criticize Daddy to his face—­you, of all people! There!” Elisabeth signed her letter with a flourish, folded it carefully, and tucked it in her pocket. “I’ll wait until later before I address it. Just think how grand it will look on the embassy stationery!”

“Who are you writing this time? Connie?”

Elisabeth nodded brusquely; she wrote to Connie Chilton, her former roommate from Smith, so frequently the question hardly seemed worth acknowledging. Then I almost asked if she needed a stamp, before I remembered. We were dignitaries now. Daddy was ambassador to Mexico. We Morrows had no need for such common objects as stamps. All our letters would go in the special government mail pouch, along with Daddy’s memos and reports.

It was rumored that Colonel Lindbergh himself would be taking a mail pouch back to Washington with him, when he flew away. At least, that’s what Daddy had insinuated in his last let- ter, the one I had received just before boarding the train in New York with Elisabeth and Dwight. We were in Mexico now; we’d crossed the border during the night. I couldn’t stop marveling at the strange landscape as we’d chugged our way south; the flat, strangely light-­filled plains of the Midwest; the dreary desert in Texas, the lonely adobe houses or the occasional tin-­roofed shack underneath a bleached-­out, endless sky. Mexico, by contrast, was greener than I had imagined, especially as we climbed toward Mexico City.

“Did you tell Connie that we saw Gloria Swanson with Mr. Kennedy?” We’d caught a glimpse of the two, the movie star and the banker (whom we knew socially), when they boarded the train in Texas. Both of them had their heads down and coat collars turned up. Joseph Kennedy was married, with a brood of Catholic children and a lovely wife named Rose. Miss Swanson was married to a French marquis, according to the Photoplay I sometimes borrowed from my roommate.

“I didn’t. Daddy wouldn’t approve. We do have to be more careful now that he’s ambassador.”

“That’s true. But didn’t she look so tiny in person! Much smaller than in the movies. Hardly taller than me!”

“I’ve heard that about movie stars.” Elisabeth nodded thoughtfully. “They say Douglas Fairbanks isn’t much taller than Mary Pickford.”

A colored porter knocked on the door to our compartment; he stuck his head inside. “We’ll be at the station momentarily, miss,” he said to Elisabeth, who smiled graciously and nodded, her blond curls tickling her forehead. Then he retreated.

“I can’t wait to see Con,” I said, my stomach dancing in anticipation. “And Mother, of course. But mainly Con!” I missed my little sister; missed and envied her, both. At fourteen, she was able to make the move to Mexico City with our parents and live the gay diplomatic life that I could glimpse only on holidays like this; my first since Daddy had been appointed.

I picked up my travel case and followed Elisabeth out of our private car and into the aisle, where we were joined by Dwight, who was tugging at his tie.

“Is this tied right, Anne?” He frowned, looking so like Daddy that I almost laughed; Daddy never could master the art of ty- ing a necktie, either. Daddy couldn’t master the art of wearing clothes, period. His pants were always too long and wrinkled, like elephants’ knees.

“Yes, of course.” But I gave it a good tug anyway.

Then suddenly the train had stopped; we were on a platform swirling with excited passengers greeting their loved ones, in a soft, blanketing warmth that gently thawed my bones, still chilled from the Northampton winter I carried with me, literally, on my arm. I’d forgotten to pack my winter coat in my trunk.

“Anne! Elisabeth! Dwight!” A chirping, a laugh, and then Con was there, her round little face brown from sun, her dark hair pulled back from her face with a gay red ribbon. She was wearing a Mexican dress, all bright embroidery and full skirt; she even had huaraches on her tiny feet.

“Oh, look at you!” I hugged her, laughing. “What a picture! A true señorita!”

“Darlings!”

Turning blindly, I found myself in my mother’s embrace, and then too quickly released as she moved on to Elisabeth. Mother looked as ever, a sensible New England clubwoman plunked down in the middle of the tropics. Daddy, his pants swimming as usual, his tie askew, was shaking Dwight’s hand and kissing Elisabeth on the cheek at the same time.

Finally he turned to me; rocking back on his heels, he looked me up and down and then nodded solemnly, although his eyes twinkled. “And there’s Anne. Reliable Anne. You never change, my daughter.”

I blushed, not sure if this was a compliment, choosing to think it might be. Then I ran to his open arms, and kissed his stubbly cheek.

“Merry Christmas, Mr. Ambassador!”

“Yes, yes—­a merry Christmas it will be! Now, hurry up, hurry up, and you may be able to catch Colonel Lindbergh before he goes out.”

“He’s still here?” I asked, as Mother marshaled us expertly into two waiting cars, both black and gleaming, ostentatiously so. I was acutely aware of our luggage piling up on the platform, matching and initialed and gleaming with comfortable wealth. I couldn’t help but notice how many people were lugging straw cases as they piled into donkey carts.

“Yes, Colonel Lindbergh is still here— ­oh, my dear, you should have seen the crowds at the airfield when he arrived! Two hours late, but nobody minded a bit. That plane, what’s it called, the Ghost of St. Louis, isn’t it—­”

Con began to giggle helplessly, and I suppressed a smile.

“It’s the Spirit of St. Louis,” I corrected her, and my mother met my gaze with a bemused expression in her downward-­slanted eyes. I felt myself blush, knowing what she was thinking. Anne? Swooning for the dashing young hero, just like all the other girls? Who could have imagined?

“Yes, of course, the Spirit of St. Louis. And the colonel has agreed to spend the holidays with us in the embassy. Your father is beside himself. Mr. Henry Ford has even sent a plane to fetch the colonel’s mother, and she’ll be here, as well. At dinner, Elisabeth will take special care of him—­oh, and you, too, dear, you must help. To tell the truth, I find the colonel to be rather shy.”

“He’s ridiculously shy,” Con agreed, with another giggle. “I don’t think he’s ever really talked to girls before!”

“Con, now, please. The colonel’s our guest. We must make him feel at home,” Mother admonished.

I listened in dismay as I followed her into the second car; Daddy, Dwight, and Elisabeth roared off in the first. The colonel—­a total stranger—­would be part of our family Christmas? I certainly hadn’t bargained on that, and couldn’t help but feel that it was rude of a stranger to insinuate himself in this way. Yet at the mere mention of his name my heart began to beat faster, my mind began to race with the implications of this unexpected stroke of what the rest of the world would call enormous good luck. Oh, how the girls back at Smith would scream once they found out! How envious they all would be!

Before I could sort out my tangled thoughts, we were being whisked away to the embassy at such a clip I didn’t have time to take in the strange, exotic landscape of Mexico City. My only impression was a blur of multicolored lights in the gathering shadows of late afternoon, and bleached-­out buildings punctuated by violent shocks of color. So delightful to think that there were wildflowers blooming in December!

“Is the colonel really as shy as all that?” It seemed impossible, that this extraordinary young man would suffer from such an ordinary affliction, just like me.

“Oh, yes. Talk to him about aviation—­that’s really the only way you can get him to say more than ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ and ‘pass the salt,’ ” Mother said. Then she patted me on my knee. “Now, how was your last term? Aren’t you glad you listened to reason af- ter all, when you thought you wanted to go to Vassar? Now you’re almost through, almost a Smith graduate, just like Elisabeth and me!”

I smiled, looked at my shoes—­caked with the dust of travel—­and nodded, although my mouth was set in a particular prickly way, my only outward sign of rebellion. After almost four years, I still wished I’d been allowed to go to Vassar, as I’d so desperately wanted.

But I swallowed my annoyance and dutifully recited grades and small academic triumphs, even as my mind raced ahead of the two sleek embassy cars. Colonel Lindbergh. I hadn’t counted on meeting him so soon— ­or at all, really. I’d thought his visit was merely an official stop on some grand tour of Latin America and that he’d be gone long before my vacation started. My palms grew clammy, and I wished I’d changed into a nicer frock on the train. I’d never met a hero before. I worried that one of us would be disappointed.

“I can’t wait for the colonel to meet Elisabeth,” Mother said, as if she could read my thoughts. “Oh, and you, too, dear.”

I nodded. But I knew what she meant. My older sister was a beauty—­the beauty, in the parlance of the Morrow family, as if there could be room for only one. She had a porcelain complexion, blond curls, round blue eyes with thick black eyelashes, and a darling of a nose, the master brushstroke that finished off her portrait of a face. Whereas I was all nose, with slanty eyes like Mother’s, and dark hair; while I was shorter than Elisabeth, my figure was rounder. Too round, too busty and curvy, for the streamlined flapper fashions that were still all the rage this December of 1927.

“I’m sure I won’t be able to think of a thing to say to him. I’m sure I won’t be able to think of a thing to say to anyone. Oh, what a lot of bother this all is!” Gesturing at the plush red upholstery, the liveried driver, the twin flags—­one of the United States, the other of Mexico—­planted on the hood of the car, I allowed myself a rare outburst, meeting Mother’s disapproving frown without blinking. Christmas was special. The rest of the year we might all be flung about, like a game of Puss-­in-­the-­Corner. But Christmas was home, was safe, was the idea of family that I carried around with me the rest of the year, even as I recognized it didn’t quite match up with reality. Already I missed my cozy room back home in Englewood, with my writing desk, my snug twin bed covered by the white chenille bedspread my grandmother had made as a bride, bookshelves full of childhood favorites—­Anne of Green Gables, the Just So Stories, Kim. Stubbornly, I told myself that I would never get used to Daddy’s new life as a diplomat, his ability to attract dashing young aviators notwithstanding. I much preferred him as a staid banker.

“Anne, please. Don’t let your father hear you say this. He’s very fond of the young man, and wants to help him with all his new responsibilities. I gather Colonel Lindbergh doesn’t have much of a family, only his mother. It’s our duty to welcome him into our little family circle.”

I nodded, instantly vanquished; unable to explain to her how I felt. I never was able to explain—­anything—­to my mother. Elisabeth she understood; Dwight she entrusted to my father. Con was young and bubbly and simply a delight. I was—­ Anne. The shy one, the strange one. Only in letters did my mother and I have anything close to true communion. In person, we didn’t know what to do with each other.

And duty I understood all too well. If a history of our family was to be written, it could be summed up with that one word. Duty. Duty to others less fortunate, less happy, less educated; less. Although most of the time I thought there really couldn’t be anyone in this world less than me.

“Now, don’t worry yourself so, Anne,” Mother continued, almost sympathetically; at least she patted my arm. “The colonel is a mere mortal, despite what your father and all the newspapers say.”

“A handsome mere mortal,” Con said with a dreamy sigh, and I couldn’t help but laugh. When had my little sister started thinking of men as handsome?

But at her age, I had started to dream of heroes, I recalled. Sometimes, I still did.

The cars slowed and turned into a gated drive; we stopped in front of an enormous, showy palace—­the embassy. Our embassy, I realized, and had to stifle an urge to giggle. I followed Mother and Con out of the car and hung back as Daddy marched up a grand stone staircase covered in a red carpet. A line of uniformed officers stood on both sides of the staircase, heralding our arrival.

“Can you believe it?” I whispered to Elisabeth, clinging to her hand for comfort. She shook her head, her eyes snapping with amusement even as her face paled. The flight of steps seemed endless, and Elisabeth was not strong, physically. But she took a deep breath and began to climb them, so I had no choice but to follow.

I couldn’t look at the uniformed men; I couldn’t look at the landing, where he was waiting. So I looked at the carpet instead, and hoped that I would never run out of it. Of course, I did; we were done climbing, finding ourselves on a shaded landing, and Mother was pushing Elisabeth forward, exclaiming, “Colonel Lindbergh, I’m so glad for you to meet my eldest daughter, Elisabeth!”

Elisabeth smiled and held out her hand, so naturally. As if she was meeting just another college boy, and not the hero of our time.

“I’m happy to meet you, Colonel,” she said coolly. Then she glided past, following Daddy into the embassy.

“Oh, and of course, this is Anne,” Mother said after a moment, pushing me forward as well.

I looked up—­and up. And up. Into a face instantly familiar and yet so unexpected I almost gasped; piercing eyes, high forehead, cleft chin, just like in the newsreels; a face made for statues and history books, I couldn’t help but think. And here he was suddenly right in front of me, amid my family in this unexpected, almost cartoonish, opulence. My head swam, and I wished I had never left my dormitory room.

He shook my hand without a smile, for a smile would be too ordinary for him. Then he dropped it quickly, as if it stung. He took a step back and bumped into a stone pillar. His expression never changed, although I thought I detected a faint blush. Then he turned to follow Elisabeth and Daddy into the embassy. Mother bustled after them.

I stood where I was for a long moment, wondering why my hand still tingled where he had held it.

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. The  epigraph for this novel is from Antoine de Saint-Exupéry who, like Anne Morrow Lindbergh, was both a celebrated author and a noted aviator. Do you agree with his statement, “One must look with the heart”? What do you think that means? And do you think it means something different to an artist (author) as opposed to a scientist (aviator)?

2. One of the recurring themes is how Anne will choose to remember Charles. How do you think she concludes she’ll remember him by the end? How does it change?

3. Anne ’s father says, “And there’s Anne. Reliable Anne. You never change, my daughter.” (page 11)  How does Anne change over the course of this novel? Or does she?

4. How does Anne ’s nomadic lifestyle as the daughter of an ambassador later influence  her concept of “home” with Charles? What do you think defines home?

5. Anne seems to think of herself as an outsider—someone too shy and insular to make a big impression. Do you agree, or do you think Anne misevaluates herself? Do you think this insularity made Anne appealing to Charles, or do you think he was drawn to her because he saw past it? Is Charles an insular character himself, whether by nature or because he was forced into a “celebrity bubble”?

6. “Had there ever been a hero like him, in all of history?” (page 16) Anne starts her description of Charles with hero worship, comparing him to Columbus and Marco Polo. How does her opinion evolve as she comes to know him better? How did your opinion of Charles Lindbergh evolve throughout Anne’s story?

7. The title of this book is, of course, The Aviator’s Wife. Do you think that’s how Anne views herself upon marrying Charles? Do you think she sees that as a role she ’s playing, or as a defining characteristic of who she is? Does it change over the course of the book?

8. Have you ever been up in a biplane? Do you think you would ever go, even with an expert aviator at the controls?

9. Compare the relationships Anne has with the men in her life: her brother, Dwight; her father; and Charles.

10. What right to privacy do you think a public figure should have? Can a public figure decide what parts of his or her life stay private?

11. Have you ever met someone famous? Did he/she live up to your expectations?

12. Do you think Charles and Anne were in love? Why or why not? Did that change over time?

13. Do you think you could keep the secrets that Anne keeps from her children? Why or why not?

14. What do you think flying represents to Anne? How does it compare with writing? Which do you think is more important to Anne?

15.  Do you think Charles Lindbergh was a good husband in any ways? What do you think makes for a good partner?

16. Is Anne a hero? Why or why not?

17. If you could ask Anne one question, what would it be?

18. How does Anne ’s relationship  with her family change after she marries Charles?

19. How would you react to the scrutiny by the press that Anne and Charles endured? Would you want to be famous if it meant being constantly under the microscope? Would you answer differently if there weren’t social media outlets but the same type of newspapers and newsreels from Anne and Charles’s lifetime?

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 147 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(63)

4 Star

(56)

3 Star

(16)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(7)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 147 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 16, 2013

    This is an amazing novel, it packed the most emotional punch of

    This is an amazing novel, it packed the most emotional punch of any book I have read in years.

    11 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2013

    A wonderfully told story of the journey of an American icon thro

    A wonderfully told story of the journey of an American icon through an incredible life. This is the first novel by the author I have read, it was one of those books you begin to read very slowly because you don't want it to end.

    10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2013

    Excellent!!!

    It kept my attention and made me want to read more - about thd Lindbergs - more from this author. I have read her other books and this one is a great read - like her others. A job very well done.

    10 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 24, 2013

    Historical Fiction at its BEST!!! Historical fiction is a great

    Historical Fiction at its BEST!!! Historical fiction is a great way to learn about events, much more so that reading out of a history book. It truly assists you in relating to this historical persona; allowing insight into their emotions and personalities. If the novel is accurately written, you gain the desire to delve into the history itself, to study more and understand the lives they lead....The Aviator's Wife is such a novel.

    You could have put my "Lindbergh" knowledge in a thimble before reading this fabulous book. 1. He flew the Spirit of St. Louis in a transatlantic flight. 2. Their first child was kidnapped and murdered. Wow! That is so embarrassing to admit.

    This couple accomplished so much as both individuals and as a team, that it is incomprehensible, and yet I don't remember once ever hearing of these achievements.

    Anne is such a strong woman and yet this reveals her weaknesses in a very humble way. I appreciated the candid view of a life full of achievement, but also of loss. It is sad to think that someone had to live a life with no freedom, to live their life without constant scrutiny and bombardment from the press. They were shameless!!!

    Since finishing this book last night, I began reading "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I wanted to read something in her words, just to hear her voice a little longer. In the near future, I will read "Lindbergh" from Scott Berg. I want to get a perspective of Charles' view on his life events.

    I'm not going to give you a breakdown on every aspect of this book. You need to read it for yourself...it is a journey well worth the flight.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    It is 1974, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her children have brou

    It is 1974, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her children have brought Charles Lindbergh, Lucky Lindy, home to die. As Anne sits with him in his final days, she reflects back on their lives and what sharing a lifetime with such a famous man has been like. Anne is a senior at Smith College when they meet, while Lindbergh has already completed the solo transatlantic flight from the United States to Paris that made him a hero wherever he goes. He takes her flying, and she instantly adores the sensation. She can't believe that such a man has chosen her as his wife, and agrees, unable to believe her luck. Anne feels she is living a fairy tale.

    But there is a dark side to hero worship. The couple is mobbed wherever they go, the photographers and reporters fighting to get an inch closer, to get their shouted questions answered. They print every detail of the Lindbergh's lives that they can discover. When the couple's toddler son, Charles Junior, is kidnapped and killed, the press is unbearable. Anne can't help but feel that they played a part in the tragedy by singling them out and reporting every detail of their lives.

    Anne comes to realise that life with Charles is on his terms. He is the bravest man she has ever met, and he has an unerring sense that he is always right. Distant emotionally, he plans every minute of his day and expects to plan Anne's also. She is his co-pilot and navigator in those early years, leaving behind her babies whenever he wants her to. As the years go on, she begins to resent his assumption that he and only he knows best in every situation.

    Yet Anne stays with him loyally, unable to imagine a life without this man she loves. She sticks with him during the war years, when his hero's mantle is tarnished by his campaign to keep America out of the war, and by his statements that make him appear anti-Semitic. She stays during the war when Charles finally gets involved and leaves her alone to manage the household and children. She stays during the long years after when he stays away for long stretches, leaving her to raise the family while he attends to business. Anne learns to carve out a life on her own terms, with writing as her saving grace.

    Melanie Benjamin has done a masterful job with this novel. Most readers will learn many things they didn't know about the Lindberghs, who will always be defined by his heroic flight and the kidnapping that was one of the first nationally reported crimes. I didn't know Anne was a pilot in her own right, or that after Charlie's death, they went on to have five other children. This is an interesting book sure to catch the interest of any reader. It is recommended for all readers.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    Great read

    I would recommend her novels to anyone! They are informative and entertaining and always leave me wanting to know more about the characters and research them more on my own.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin First the cover attracted

    The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin
    First the cover attracted me then the words as I love to learn about others' careers and this one is not a letdown. There are many narratives and discussions among the characters about planes-the early days. Remember watching the wing walkers on the Walton's show and how they'd deliver mail by air by in the day. I've yet to travel to see the Kitty Hawk area for ourselves and this book is about Anne and Charles Lindbergh' lives. Book chapter alternate from the 1920 to the 1970s. I do want to visit the Smithsonian museum where the original plane is located.
    Best scene so far is when Anne is taken up in the plane for the very first time, sun just rising and just the feeling she gets. I get something similar when the plane leaves the ground that causes my eyes to water. Such as the pressure of everything has been lifted and there are no worries to concern you, to sit back and enjoy and that's what she does. Love learning about her upbringing-father is a US ambassador and what is expected of her as part of the family. I feel the standards are set high and love her dream of being able to put into words something she experiences.
    Sad to learn that the press followed them around as the paparazzi does still today. After they marry he teaches her everything he knows about flying so she can do what he does and loves doing it with him. Such an accomplished woman.
    Love learning new things: rasher of bacon, and all the new places they travel to, whether it be by air or water or land...
    Anne uncovers family secrets and feels she can tell no one...she is also at the end given letters he had written and with little time left she is able to confront him about the letters..
    Tragedy of the child kidnapping and all she went through sounds like more than a nightmare but a treacherous attack on their lives.
    Returning to military life and politics play a key role with their lives..
    Series of essay titles is just perfect with where she is. Such a strong woman to have endured what she did and follow her dream and live her life.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Got bored with it

    A little over halfway through this I was so bored with it I stopped reading. I loved the other books by this author but this one started out interesting and then got progressively duller.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 4, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Being a huge lover of history we all know there are supporting c

    Being a huge lover of history we all know there are supporting characters that elevated those people to the positions they achieved as they made their way into the history books and it's their back stories that make for some interesting reading. We all know about Charles Lindbergh, the man who made his first solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, but we know so very little about his wife, Anne Morrow. If you understand anything about the decade in history up to this point, you should understand the role of the wife was to be supportive and to never really air her opinions about anything to anyone. Most of those conversations were usually conveyed in confidence.

    So with that understanding of what Anne's role in a marriage would have been we know in history that women's rights were a hot topic and had been on the minds of women everywhere as they pushed forward to find a voice in the things in the world. This is apparent even in Melanie Benjamin's novel, The Aviator's Wife. Anne Morrow is a smart and successful women in her own right, but her husband Charles cautions her to make sure that he remains the center of focus on both the public and private eye. Many women readers may be put off by that fact, but again historically it was the accepted role for most women to remain silent and supportive. It doesn't mean she didn't have opinions, just wasn't able to voice them the way we do today.

    I think Anne retained her fantasy of marriage in the fact that she was marrying a successful man with a certain celebrity like status. It made certain aspects of their life easier, but also eliminated the privacy that both of them at times would like to maintain. Anne often times feels like the proverbial doormat by her husband's consistent treatment to her to keep her in her place and in her role as a wife and mother. It does take the reader into the real story of Anne's struggle to deal with the changes not only in marriage but in society as well. It's a story of power, struggle, determination, and grace under fire and in the end, shows that in circumstances though the road may be difficult to travel, we can move forward if we simply have the determination to keep getting up and trying.

    I received The Aviator's Wife compliments of Pump Up Your Book Tours and Delacorte Press for my honest review and while I understood certain historical elements, mostly pertaining to Charles Lindbergh, I was delighted to get a sense of what it meant to be the wife of someone famous during those turbulent times in the 20's. I knew it wouldn't be an easy read and for someone to truly appreciate the story, you really have to understand the role of women back in those time periods. The story of how they dealt with the kidnapping and lose of Charles Jr. is heartbreaking, but again shows the determination of Anne to remain focused on keeping her marriage in tact despite all the odds that come their way. I easily rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Subservient Wife

    Since I loved Anne's book Gift of the Sea, I was interested in reading this book. I like historical novels and since I read that this was well-researched, I decided to buy it for my Nook.
    I did not know anything about their relationship but only the well-known heroic flight, the kidnapping, and the Nazi sympathizer. This book delves into their relationship, which at times, made me want to shake Charles to the core! Ironically, the strong hero becomes the weak and the subservient wife becomes the strong one. After reading this book, I will go back to my Gift of the Sea and read it for a second time, only from a different point of view after reading this book. I thought Melanie Benjamin succintly portrayed the fleshing out of what went on behind close doors.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    You should definitely read this book!

    I really enjoyed this historical fiction novel. It was a very interesting perspective of a famous man's "wife". It's so interesting that the man is extrememly well known and the women who did so many "firsts" in her time was relatively unknown--even to the point that her children didn't know all the amazing things she had done. Well written and a book that I couldn't wait to read each day!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2013

    A wonderful read!!

    I have always been interested in Anne Morrow Lindbergh as she went to the same college as my mother who had all her books. This book told her story beautifully and has led me to read AML's own diaries: "Bring Me a Unicorn" and "Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead". It has been interesting and fun to read in her own words what I have read in Melanie Benjamin's biography! AML was an INSPIRED writer, portraying emotions, sights, sounds etc. with incredible beauty and richness! She also brings back a time in our country that is long gone but always interesting to read about. Her "Gift From the Sea" is another fabulous book which makes a great gift! This is a woman who is complex and deep, who fell in love with the greatest hero of her times and of the life they made for themselves and their family despite being ALWAYS in the public eye (which made everything so difficult).

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    A different perspective of Charles Lindbergh

    Everyone knows about the kidnapping, but this book is told through the eyes of his wife Ann.
    You get a real feel for who Charles really was and how it was to be his wife. I enjoyed the book and would recommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2013

    Well researched and extremely easy to read!

    I have read a number of books and articles concerning the Lindbergh's and this was excellent! Absolutely could not put it down from the moment I started reading it--I hope the author will continue to write about the Lindbergh's and the "other" children fathered by our famous aviator. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the subject!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2013

    The excerpt in Good Housekeeping was a very good read. Worth buy

    The excerpt in Good Housekeeping was a very good read. Worth buying the book! 

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2014

    Charles Lindberg - he admired the Nazi's. Had a secret family i

    Charles Lindberg - he admired the Nazi's. Had a secret family in Germany. Everyone should read the Carpenter and the Airman. Not my hero. Anne Lindberg must have put up with a lot.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2014

    Excellent Read!

    Our book club really enjoyed discussing the author's fictionalized account of the life Ann Morrow led in the shadow of her famous husband. We all learned some disturbing things about Charles Lindberg. She was definitely a lady to be admired and applauded.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2014

    Very enjoyable

    I wasn't familiar with the author or book, but read it on recommendation of a friend. I really enjoyed it and think anyone who is drawn to historical fiction, especially, will, too. The relationship between the main characters is both fascinating and maddening, but in the end, I felt empowered by the strength of character Anne Morrow Lindbergh clearly had.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 7, 2013

    I enjoyed this book, and its premise. Sometimes I thought the pr

    I enjoyed this book, and its premise. Sometimes I thought the prose and the characters were a little flat. Other than the main protagonist, I didn't feel like any of the characters were memorable. But a decent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 26, 2014

    Compelling

    This is a great book club choice offering the reader all the issues and emotional upheavals of life.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 147 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)