The Aviator’s Wife by Melaine Benjamin is the story of Ann Morrow Lindbergh. Her husband Charles was the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic in 1927. He swept everyone around the world off their feet with his accomplishment, men & women alike, girls swooned over him, but it was shy Ann, a recent Smith College graduate who’s father was the American Ambassador to Mexico, who managed to snag the world’s most eligible bachelor. Ann learned on her honeymoon that she was to be his partner, not only in life, but in the plane as well. She was expected to learn to fly. She became his co-pilot and helped him map a route to the Orient, leaving her year old son at home for 6 months in the care of a nursemaid. Imagine! They had an odd relationship to say the least. Their life together as man & wife was secondary to their life in the plane. Poor Ann. She became nothing more than the Aviator’s wife. The world would not leave them alone. Hounded constantly by the public, the press, and even the famous they cocooned themselves from everyone trying to live a normal life. But it didn’t work. Their first-born son Charlie was kidnapped and killed in what was described as the Crime of the Century. She eventually had 5 other children and was busy keeping the home fires burning while Charles abandoned her to fly off to foreign places while he focused his attention on his career. Ann was a bright, well educated woman, but it was only late in life that she ever received any recognition at all for her accomplishments. This book was a real eye-opener for me. Quite sad and shocking at times. Even jaw dropping! It really is true what they say… “Behind every great man, is an even greater woman.” *****
This book is historical fiction. Melanie Benjamine states in the Authors’s Note that she hoped to make Ann “the heroine of her own story”, and this she did. She wrote an amazing book. I love historical fiction and I’ve read a whole stack of books in the past few years that highlight the exceptional fortitude and character of women standing in the shadows of famous men. This book is probably the best of the lot by far.