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Not Lucky in Love

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Posted: Sunday, March 24, 2013 8:09 pm | Updated: 12:44 pm, Fri May 3, 2013.

Charles Lindberg—“Lucky Lindy,” they called him—an explorer and adventurer. Lindberg’s flight from New York to Paris in 1927 catapulted him into the limelight of fame and fortune, making it impossible for him to show his face without attracting a bevy of admirers hounding him for his autograph, or just a nod from the illustrious “Lone Eagle.”

A hero of his time, this complex man was in actuality a study in contrasts, difficult and moody, a Nazi sympathizer who rubbed shoulders with Hitler, and in later life somewhat of a recluse with secrets his wife only learned about on his deathbed.

After reading “The Aviator’s Wife,” a novel by Melanie Benjamin, one can hardly imagine being married to Lindberg, yet shy Anne Morrow Lindberg persevered for forty-five years.

At the end of his life, when Lindberg was dying of leukemia, he told Anne, “All I wanted to be was your hero,” but all Anne wanted was a husband who wouldn’t pull her close one minute and push her away the next, a partner who wouldn’t control her every move, and one who’d allow her to have feelings and express them, especially after their first son was kidnapped and murdered.

Far be it from Charles to have a simpering mate—or even to talk about the heartbreak both he and Anne experienced during that tragedy.

This hero admired by the throngs had feet of clay. Yet despite all of his faults, Anne Morrow Lindberg loved him. Riveting and readable, “The Aviator’s Wife,” is a work of historical fiction that imagines the life of a woman overshadowed by her famous husband, but talented in her own right—Lindberg’s copilot, a loving mother, the first woman to earn a glider’s license, and a gifted and acclaimed writer.

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