|Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh|
Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh were the golden couple of the late 1920's through the 1930's. Most people know the basic facts of their lives. He was the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic. Once they married, the public fervor surrounding their lives has been compared to that focused on Princess Diana with equally disastrous results. In what was termed at the time as the "crime of the century," their first child, Charles Jr., was kidnapped and murdered when he was a toddler.
They survived this tragedy and went on to have 5 other children together. In the years before World War II, Lindbergh disappointed his admirers when became a Nazi apologist, a believer in racial purity and an isolationist. Anne was even persuaded by her husband to aid his cause with writing of her own.
Later, Anne Morrow Lindbergh redeemed herself by renouncing her lapse in judgment and authoring a timeless book, The Gift from the Sea. No doubt like many of you reading this, I read The Gift of the Sea long ago and loved it, but that book and the sketchy facts outlined above were the extent of my knowledge of the Lindberghs.
|(Delacorte Press, 2013, 402 pages)|
This fictionalized account of the Lindbergh's life together fills in some of the emotional landscape of their relationship. I wasn't surprised that I didn't care for Charles Lindbergh as I read this novel. After all, the title of the book is The Aviator's Wife so we know it will be from her perspective, but I was surprised to discover that I didn't find Anne herself to be a sympathetic character in this book, though she is obviously meant to be. At the first of the book Anne was so full of doubts and angst that I found her tiresome. When she finally became her own person in the book, the transition was rather abrupt.
Charles Lindbergh would leave his wife and family for months at at time. Later the world would discover that he had three other families and fathered 7 children by women in Germany. Two of the women were sisters, one was his secretary in Europe. In this novel, Anne discovers his other families at the end of his life and confronts him and they achieve some measure of peace as he dies.
I did find the author's notes at the end of the novel to be interesting as she described some of the events she fictionalized and what she gleaned from the biographical documents of the Lindbergh's lives. Reading The Aviator's Wife has made me curious enough to want to read more about Anne Morrow Lindbergh so I can judge her character for myself.