The Aviator's Wife

Anne Morrow was a shy, bookish ambassador's daughter until Charles Lindbergh, fresh off the triumph of his famed solo flight to Paris, chose her for his wife. Melanie Benjamin (Alice I Have Been) traces the arc of their long, difficult marriage through nearly five decades in the rich, heartbreaking novel The Aviator's Wife.

Speaking from Anne's perspective, Benjamin explores the complications and contradictions of the man known worldwide as "Lucky Lindy." Adored as a hero and respected for his pioneering aviation work, he could also be cruel, demanding and distant. Although Anne always marveled that Charles chose her to be his partner and "crew," she struggled not only with living in her husband's shadow, but against his personal demons.

In roughly chronological order, with occasional flashforwards to 1974 (near the end of Charles' life), the novel presents a complex mosaic of the Lindbergh marriage: the perfect communion of early flights when Anne served as Charles' navigator, the horror of their firstborn son's kidnapping and death, the political and personal fallout in the 1930s from Charles' anti-Semitic views. As Charles continues to fly around the world, leaving Anne to raise their five surviving children, she gradually reclaims her identity as a mother, a writer and, finally, a woman capable of love.

At once sweeping and intimate, this is a riveting portrait of a woman both shaped by and separate from her relationship with her extraordinary husband. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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