The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
Benjamin (The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom thumb, 2012) brings us a fascinating, historical, perspective focusing on a woman often eclipsed by her husband.
The Aviator’s Wife, reminiscent of The Paris Wife (McClain, 2011) showcases the struggles and triumphs of Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The novel opens with Anne’s early struggles to stand strong within her own family, who set such high standards that she was never certain of her own strength or abilities. Benjamin takes us through the tender emotions of a young girl thrust into situations with world-class players. Not quite ready, Anne, unexpectedly accepts Charles Lindbergh’s invitation to fly. Their course was set. Charles Lindbergh was good at one thing – setting aviation records – and yet the world expected him to be so much more. He was placed on a world stage when the thing he wanted most was to work on his plane and his flying records. Anne’s efforts enable him to continue with this one-track life. Through poignant snapshots of their marriage, we see that the young Anne was more often than not the power behind the man, but was never allowed to come first. She set many of her own aviation records, reared the children, and suffered the horrible nightmare of losing a child. Benjamin’s insight into the publicity surrounding the disappearance of the young Charles Lindbergh and the toll it takes on the family is riveting. The book focuses on the powerful ways fame, tragedy, and over the top expectations both shape and destroy a family. Readers can’t help but root for Anne as she faces one challenge after another and eventually surfaces as a much stronger woman than first suspected. We celebrate her triumphs over the air, weep over her personal tragedies, and applaud her courage to see things through to the end. Anne Morrow Lindbergh comes out as the unexpected hero in this powerful book about one of America’s first ladies of flight.
Personal strength, integrity, and a belief in family surround Anne Morrow Lindbergh as she lives her life as the aviator’s wife.