THE AVIATOR'S WIFE by Melanie Benjamin

The Aviator's Wife
Melanie Benjamin

Delacorte Press
416 pages

hard back, e-books and audio

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.

My thoughts:

Where to start is always the tough part for when I'm writing about books! I don't want to gush too much over the ones I love and I don't want to trash the one's I don't love quite so much.  So this should be an easy book to write about, as I really enjoyed it!  The Aviator's Wife is written so well that you forget, at times, that you are reading fiction. Now, it is fiction based on history, but the conversations and situations are  crafted so brilliantly that you are swept up in Melanie Benjamin's story telling.  Benjamin has become one of my new favorite historical fiction authors, right up there with Susan Elis Macneal, in her attention to detail, and obviously well researched back ground on the Lindbergh's and their world.

A lot of the time when I read historical fiction, I do a little searching around on the "inter webs" so I can see what the world was like then, what people wore, what the houses were like, what movies, songs and books were popular.  While I did do some poking around on the net, I didn't have to. Benjamin paints a good picture of what was going on and I had no problem at all reading about a world that existed when my parents were little.  One of the things that I  had forgotten about Anne Morrow Lindbergh was that she had been the daughter of the American Ambassador to Mexico and what a different world that was !

Melanie Benjamin realistically seems to write from Lindbergh's heart, or at least the character's heart, as she smartly captures the aging process and the different ways of thinking and reacting to life. What makes the character of Anne Morrow Lindbergh so dang believable is that Benjamin balances the woman, and also the "co-pilot" of Charles Lindbergh. She deftly gets us, the readers, through the horrible kidnapping of their baby, that also keeps Anne, the mother, struggling.

Bottom line, a well written and engaging book.  I worried that the back and forth of the time periods wouldn't flow easily and I was dead wrong.

I give The Aviator's Wife 4 out of 5 stars.  I hope you'll enjoy it for the fictionalized story that Melanie Benjamin tells. Then do so some digging about the real Anne Morrow Lindbergh, I don't think you'll be disappointed by any of it

And, I hesitate adding this, but Benjamin does add some info at the end of the book that separates the fact from the fiction. Don't skip to the end.

*This e-galley was provided to me by the publisher, though NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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