Despite the fact that I know Charles Lindbergh as a famous pilot, I know little else about this aviation icon. When I saw that the The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin focused on Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Charles' wife, I was instantly intrigued. This type of novel is becoming popular following along the example set by Nancy Horan's Loving Frank.
Anne Morrow Lindbergh was a woman who grew up in privilege, the daughter of a diplomat. Although she always felt as though she were not able to live up to her older sister's beauty, she was the one chosen by Charles Lindbergh to be his bride.
The Aviator's Wife spans Anne's college days and courtship to Charles, their marriage, the kidnapping of their firstborn son, Charles, Jr., the birth of five more children, and their later years as their children eventually grow up and have families of their own. I found Anne immensely likeable, and Charles a difficult man. Because I knew next to nothing about Lindbergh before reading this book, I was surprised by his politics and even more stunned by the way he treated his wife and children.
Benjamin's research must have been extensive and I appreciated her ability to re-create America in the time of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life, even sprinkling in appearances by various influential and famous people that knew Anne and Charles. Also of note was that while Charles was famous for his accomplishments, Anne also was an accomplished pilot herself and often Charles' partner. Despite the fact that The Aviator's Wife is a fictional account of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's life, she is certainly an intriguing person and someone I am anxious to learn more about.
Although this book won't be published until February 2013, it is well worth putting on your radar now.