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The Aviator's Wife
Cover of The Aviator's Wife
The Aviator's Wife
A Novel
Borrow Borrow Borrow
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
When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, 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. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she 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.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.
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
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
When Anne Morrow, a shy college senior with hidden literary aspirations, travels to Mexico City to spend Christmas with her family, 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. In the years that follow, Anne becomes the first licensed female glider pilot in the United States. But despite this and other major achievements, she 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.

Look for special features inside. Join the Random House Reader's Circle for author chats and more.
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
Available formats-
  • Kindle Book
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  • EPUB eBook
Languages:-
Copies-
  • Available:
    3
  • Library copies:
    6
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.5
  • Lexile:
  • Interest Level:
    UG
  • Text Difficulty:
    5

Recommended for you

 
Awards-
Excerpts-
  • From the book

    Benjamin / THE AVIATOR'S WIFEchapter 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,...

About the Author-
  • 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.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from January 14, 2013
    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 The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb) 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: Laura Langlie, the Laura Langlie Agency.

  • Kirkus

    December 15, 2012
    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.

    COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    December 1, 2012

    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

    Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • USA Today

    "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."

  • The Denver Post "Remarkable . . . The Aviator's Wife succeeds [in] putting the reader inside Anne Lindbergh's life with her famous husband."
  • The Dallas Morning News "[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."
  • Booklist (starred review) "Fictional biography at its finest."
  • The Washington Post "Utterly unforgettable."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "An intimate examination of the life and emotional mettle of Anne Morrow."
  • Isabel Wolff, author of A Vintage Affair "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."
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