Thursday, December 27, 2012

308 (212 #53). The Aviator's Wife

by Melanie Benjamin

I read Melanie Benjamin's Alice I Have Been, historical fiction about Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland, back when it was an advance reader edition, and loved it, so I was excited to get Benjamin's third novel through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program (I haven't read her Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb yet, but I'm going to!).

The Aviator's Wife is a fictionalized account of the life of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, author and wife of the famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, from their meeting shortly after his record-setting flight to Paris in 1927, to his death in 1974.

Anne narrates her story, starting just before Charles' death in 1974 and flashing back from there, returning to 1974 periodically.  I didn't know much about Anne Morrow Lindbergh before reading this novel.  I knew about Charles' Paris flight and his Nazi sympathies, their baby being kidnapped, and that she was an author, and that was about it.  Like all good historical fiction, this book makes me want to read more about her (and his) life (and read some of her own writings).

Just as Alice I Have Been taught me some things I didn't (necessarily want to) know about Lewis Carroll, I also learned some surprising things about the Lindberghs.  She had (apparently at least two) affairs and was a pilot in her own right; he had three additional families with seven illegitimate children in Germany, and was a control freak.  They were perhaps the first celebrity couple, hounded by the press and paparazzi, and Benjamin hints that might have been the cause of some of their troubles.

Nevertheless, it's all fascinating and highly recommended. The book will be published in January 15, 2013.

© Amanda Pape - 2012

[An advance reader's edition was received through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program.  The book will be passed on to someone else to appreciate.]

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