The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Aviator's Wife, Melanie Benjamin, Book Journey, Anne Morrow, Lindbergh

When Charles Lindbergh visited the Morrow home, everyone thought of the two sisters, surely the famous pilot would fall for the pretty well spoken Morrow sister Connie.  To everyone’s surprise, Charles took a liking to the quieter more reserved of the two sisters, Anne who was home for the holidays from college.

Anne not only became the wife of Charles Lindbergh, but also the first licensed female glider pilot in the USA.  She also becomes a mother, a mother of not only the sad and well-known story of the Lindbergh child kidnapping, but also went on to have 5 more children.

The Aviator’s Wife tells the Lindbergh story from Anne’s point of view.  What was it like to be in the shadow of the man who everyone knew?  What was it like to carry on as the happy Mrs. Lindbergh when Charles was away more than he was home and eventually the truth of where he was spending all of his time comes out in the end?

Charles and Anne Lindbergh
Charles and Anne Lindbergh

We chose The Aviator’s Wife as a book club read.  Having grown up about 30 minutes from Charles Lindbergh’s childhood home, I honestly knew little of the man beyond the famous flights and the kidnapping and death of his first-born.  This book seemed like an opportunity to learn a little more about Charles, but even more so, his wife, Anne.

I really enjoyed this read and learned much about the famous first family of the air.  While this is a historical fiction read and some liberties are taken with Anne, the basic underline of the true story is there. I did not know about her pilot’s license, the other children, or the fact that she was also an author of several books, including editing Charles own book for him.  Engaging.  I was surprised by how little I really knew about the Lindbergh’s.  I came out of this read with a lot of respect for Anne who had a hard role to play and from this read at least, did the best she could with the life she chose.

I plan to read more on this famous woman, including the book her daughter Reeve Lindbergh wrote, No More Words, which tells the story of her mother’s last years.



  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; 10/27/13 edition (November 26, 2013)


20 thoughts on “The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

  1. Her diaries (5 volumes) are wonderful. Something she said in the first one (I think) was something like “I never feel an experience is complete until I’ve written about it.” Not an exact quotation, but that’s the gist of it.

  2. I loved this book, and I believe it’s been optioned for a movie starring Jennifer Garner. I had NO idea that Anne Marrow Lindbergh was an accomplished aviatrix herself, and had only read, “Gifts from the Sea,” one of my favorite books. To think her had THREE mystery families in Germany!

  3. I read this, too. It is good historical fiction because it makes the reader want to know more. I want to read the books that Charles Lindburgh and Ann Morrow Lindburgh wrote.

    But good historical fiction can also be dangerous. Because this is so well written, the reader can too easily forget that she is reading fiction, that this is not biography but is partly, maybe even largely, right out of the author’s imagination. Although Ann’s contributions to Charles’s life and reputation should be recognized, the reader should also remember that much (or most) of this book is fiction and is not what Ann, herself, said or wrote.

    Even if you remember this may not be true, THE AVIATOR’S WIFE is difficult to read. It concentrates on the Lindberghs’ horrible marriage, Charles’s eccentricities, and Ann’s compliance with whatever Charles mandated. It claims that, until the latter part of the marriage, Ann acted the way she did, said what she said, and wrote what she wrote because Charles did. For nearly 45 years, Ann was a sap. For nearly 400 pages of this book, Ann was a sap.

    So Ann may aggravate you throughout the book. But you may also be glad to know that she really did fly airplanes and act as Charles’s crew on so many flights he, alone, took credit for. Maybe Ann, the sap, is fiction.

    1. Great comment. You touch on much of the discussion my book club had. Some did not like the fictional liberties the author took in this read – it made for excellent discussion. I, like you mention, enjoyed it because it makes me want to know more about the non fiction Lindbergh’s. 🙂

  4. I’ve been thinking about getting this in audio so I’m glad to see that you enjoyed the read. I know very little about Ann and this sounds like a good way to get more interested in her. I hope you enjoy her daughter’s book. Thanks for sharing! I’m looking forward to getting to this one.

  5. This one has been on my TBR list for over a year. I was first introduced to the Lindbergh story when I found a worn blue book in my father’s bookcase, titled simple WE in gold. I was mesmerized, by the look of the book. I don’t know why, except as a 7 year old I was convinced my father knew Charles Lindbergh. He did not of course. Thanks for reminding me of this book, that is on my list.

  6. Got to hear Benjamin talk about this book last fall and it was really interesting to hear her talk about her research and the response from the family.

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