January 16, 2013

Review: The Aviator's Wife by Melanie Benjamin

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 celebrated 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.

My Thoughts:
I really wanted to love The Aviator's Wife but sadly the book fell very short of my expectations. Historical fiction has just recently become a genre that I've fallen in love with and when its fiction including a well known historical figure I thought I would enjoy this read. There was not one single thing about Anne that captured my attention. I kept waiting for more and more to happen but the whole story was  flat lined. Nothing about her courtship, subsequent life with Lindbergh or raising her children was interesting to me. Even when her first born son was kidnapped I felt no connection with Anne or any of the characters.

The one interesting thread in the book is just a few lines of spark hinted at when the book is set in Hawaii in 1974 but even that could have been expanded on. I was more interested in the Wikipedia version of that incident than Ms. Benjamin's.

My Recommendation:
It's hard for me to say who might like this one. Reader's who gave this a 5 start rating love that the book gave Anne a voice instead of just being an Ambassador's daughter or a great aviator's wife so maybe this is a must read if you enjoy reading about striving to make your own mark in life.


bermudaonion said...

Oh, I'm disappointed to see you didn't enjoy this one since I have the audio version.