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The Aviator's Wife: A Novel

Benjamin, Melanie

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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

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  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.

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

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Review:

Melanie Benjamin on The Aviator’s Wife

What was I thinking, writing a novel about Anne Morrow Lindbergh?

That is a question I asked myself every time I sat down to work on The Aviator’s Wife.

For Anne Morrow Lindbergh guarded her privacy fiercely and, at times, I felt she was eluding me just to make that point! My other heroines—Alice Liddell in Alice I Have Been and Lavinia Warren Stratton in The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb—gave up their secrets easily, almost eagerly. Anne, however, did not.

But that was what attracted me to her story in the first place—because of how elusive Anne remains to this day. She is known in fragments but never completely. Some are aware of her child’s horrific kidnapping and murder. Others remember her chiefly as the shy, pretty bride of the most heroic man of his time. Many women revere her as an early feminist writer.

But few know her entire story, including her major accomplishments as an aviator in her own right, her grit and determination, her inner strength. Always she seems willing to stand in the tall shadow of her husband, Charles Lindbergh. And it was her marriage that fascinated and obsessed me; this marriage between two extraordinary and very different individuals under the relentless glare of the spotlight. This operatic life they led, through dizzying heights of accomplishment and celebrity to the devastating lows of what Anne always saw as the price they paid for flying too close to the sun.

It seemed to me, as I studied her, standing always slightly behind her husband, that there was a sly smile, a gleam in her eyes that she was always suppressing; a secret strength hidden from the world and even, at times, herself. This was the Anne Morrow Lindbergh whose story I wanted to tell. It’s time for Anne to step out from behind her husband’s shadow once and for all and be the heroine in her own epic story.

Photos from The Aviator's Wife

Charles A. Lindbergh and Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Courtesy of SDAM

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Anne Morrow Lindbergh with Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. at Next Day Hill, NJ.

Copyright: Lindbergh picture collection, 1860-1980 (inclusive). Manuscripts & Archives, Yale University

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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.

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Book Description Delacorte Press, 2013. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: "The history is exhilarating. . . . The Aviator's Wife soars."- USA Today "Delivers another stellar historical novel based on the experiences of an extraordinary woman . . . fictional biography at its finest." -Booklist (starred review) "Talented historical novelist Benjamin has a knack for picking intriguing, if somewhat obscure, women in history and making them utterly unforgettable. . . . In true Benjamin style, it's Anne who captures us all in this exquisite fictional take on an iconic marriage."- Publishers Weekly (starred review) "What happens when you marry the greatest superstar of his time? Beneath the boyish persona of the beautiful aviator Lindbergh is a driven man, impossible not to love and yet impossible to live with. In this compelling portrait of a marriage between the nave young Anne and her world famous husband, Anne will overcome tragedies and betrayals to evolve into a strong woman and writer; even then when she has gained so much, she cannot entirely put aside the man she loves. This soaring novel of a woman's journey through a difficult marriage to self-discovery is sure to be a book club favorite."-Stephanie Cowell, author of Claude & Camille "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 "An unflinching exploration of the most intriguing, public, and tragic marriage of the twentieth century."-Francine Mathews, author of Jack 1939 "Offers a fascinating glimpse into the uneasy marriage of one of America's most intriguing couples. Be prepared to question all you know about the Lindberghs."-Cathy Marie Buchanan, author of The Painted Girls From the Hardcover edition. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0345528670

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