The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin
(Delacorte Press, 2013, 416 pages)
The Aviator’s Wife focuses on Anne Lindbergh, wife of the noted aviator, Charles Lindbergh. Told from her point of view the reader relives Anne’s last days with Charles while she reflects back on their life together. We see the relationship between the Lindberghs grow and change from the beginning of their courtship to the end of Charles’s life. Key historical elements of their life are highlighted and offer the reader a glimpse into what went on behind the camera flashes. We go through what it was like being an obsession of the public, the kidnapping of their firstborn son, Charles’s anti-Semitism and Nazi “sympathizing,” Anne’s famous book A Gift from the Sea, etc. Charles was very much the head of the household and he wanted things to be “just so.” He was also very aware of himself as a public figure which only seemed to lend itself to his greater need for control.
As far as historical fiction goes, I think this did a wonderful job in making the reader want to learn more about the individuals portrayed. I was so intrigued by Anne and Charles, but particularly Charles. Until reading this book the only thing I really thought about him was his famous flight across the ocean and the kidnapping of his child, but I knew nothing about his intense personality and how it impacted his marriage and family life. If you enjoy historical fiction, particularly that which revolves around lesser-represented famous people, you’ll appreciate this book. I certainly enjoyed it.