The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel
By Melanie Benjamin
Published: 2013, Bantam Books
Genre: Biographical, Historical Fiction
He is flying.
Is this how I will remember him? As I watch him lying vanquished, defeated by the one thing even he could not outmaneuver, I understand that I will have to choose my memories carefully now. There are simply too many.
I was so intrigued by this book that I happened to find that I had two copies of it on my bookshelf, so I decided that it was time to read it. I didn’t really know much about Charles Lindbergh except what was in the history books; he had been the first man to fly a plane solo over the Atlantic Ocean and that his baby had been kidnapped and murdered. I was curious to find out a little bit more about him, especially from his wife’s perspective and not just the public eye.
It was interesting to me that Anne Morrow Lindbergh had her own famous history that is not known and not recorded in the history books; overshadowed by her even more famous husband. Anne was the first American woman to obtain her glider pilot’s license. She also served as Charles’ copilot, navigator and radio operator on many of his flights; flights that broke records that may not have done so if Anne had not been up there with him. Anne was often overlooked, standing behind her husband who ate up the fame and the spotlight in front of her.
As we journey through the aviator wife’s life with her famous husband, we find out how strong, resilient, perseverant and loyal she was. She really was the backbone of her marriage and her husband. She stayed behind to take care of the children, while he continued to fly in the public eye as the amazing Charles Lindbergh. Anne could have easily exposed him for the person he truly was, but instead she protected the image of her husband. Anne Morrow Lindbergh was truly an amazing woman.
I know the book is historical fiction, but I think that Melanie Benjamin really did her research on this one and was able to get inside the mind and feelings of Anne quite well. I have a new understanding for the woman behind the famous pilot as well as Charles as well.
I will take my duties seriously, just as seriously as I once navigated as his crew. I will be the bridge between who Charles was, and who he was assumed to be. The keeper of the flame. The guardian of his reputation, for much of it deserves to be remembered. And it’s up to me, as the aviator’s wife who was once an ambassador’s daughter, to decide how much.
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is looking for a fantastic historical novel, a more personal perspective on the Lindbergh family or a woman who happens to be the strength and protector of the husband in front of her.