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Wish You Well [Mass Market Paperback]

David Baldacci
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (200 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Sept. 1 2001
David Baldacci has always delivered great stories, authentic characters, and thought-provoking ideas since he burst on the literary scene with Absolute Power. Now this versatile writer movingly evokes the charms of rural America as he makes us believe in the great and little miracles that can change lives -- or save them.

Precocious twelve-year-old Louisa Mae Cardinal lives in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her family. Then tragedy strikes -- and Lou and her younger brother, Oz, must go with their invalid mother to live on their great-grandmother's farm in the Virginia mountains. Suddenly Lou finds herself coming of age in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and experiencing adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. But the forces of greed and justice are about to clash over her new home...and as their struggle is played out in a crowded Virginia courtroom, it will determine the future of two children, an entire town, and the mountains they love.

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From Amazon

David Baldacci has made a name for himself crafting big, burly legal thrillers with larger-than-life plots. However, Wish You Well, set in his native Virginia, is a tale of hope and wonder and "something of a miracle" just itching to happen. This shift from contentious urbanites to homespun hill families may come as a surprise to some of Baldacci's fans--but they can rest assured: the author's sense of pacing and exuberant prose have made the leap as well.

The year is 1940. After a car accident kills 12-year-old Lou's and 7-year-old Oz's father and leaves their mother Amanda in a catatonic trance, the children find themselves sent from New York City to their great-grandmother Louisa's farm in Virginia. Louisa's hardscrabble existence comes as a profound shock to precocious Lou and her shy brother. Still struggling to absorb their abandonment, they enter gamely into a life that tests them at every turn--and offers unimaginable rewards. For Lou, who dreams of following in her father's literary footsteps, the misty, craggy Appalachians and the equally rugged individuals who make the mountains their home quickly become invested with an almost mythic significance:

They took metal cups from nails on the wall and dipped them in the water, and then sat outside and drank. Louisa picked up the green leaves of a mountain spurge growing next to the springhouse, which revealed beautiful purple blossoms completely hidden underneath. "One of God's little secrets," she explained. Lou sat there, cup cradled between her dimpled knees, watching and listening to her great-grandmother in the pleasant shade...
Baldacci switches deftly between lovingly detailed character description (an area in which his debt to Laura Ingalls Wilder and Harper Lee seems evident) and patient development of the novel's central plot. If that plot is a trifle transparent--no one will be surprised by Amanda's miraculous recovery or by the children's eventual battle with the nefarious forces of industry in an attempt to save their great-grandmother's farm--neither reader nor character is the worse for it. After all, nostalgia is about remembering things one already knows. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Baldacci is writing what? That waspish question buzzed around publishing circles when Warner announced that the bestselling author of The Simple Truth, Absolute Power and other turbo-thrillers—an author generally esteemed more for his plots than for his characters or prose—was trying his hand at mainstream fiction, with a mid-century period novel set in the rural South, no less. Shades of John Grisham and A Painted House. But guess what? Clearly inspired by his subject—his maternal ancestors, he reveals in a foreword, hail from the mountain area he writes about here with such strength—Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet, an utterly captivating drama centered on the difficult adjustment to rural life faced by two children when their New York City existence shatters in an auto accident. That tragedy, which opens the book with a flourish, sees acclaimed but impecunious riter Jack Cardinal dead, his wife in a coma and their daughter, Lou, 12, and son, Oz, seven, forced to move to the southwestern Virginia farm of their aged great-grandmother, Louisa. Several questions propel the subsequent story with vigor. Will the siblings learn to accept, even to love, their new life? Will their mother regain consciousness? And—in a development that takes the narrative into familiar Baldacci territory for a gripping legal showdown—will Louisa lose her land to industrial interests? Baldacci exults in high melodrama here, and it doesn't always work: the death of one major character will wring tears from the stoniest eyes, but the reappearance of another, though equally hanky-friendly, is outright manipulative. Even so, what the novel offers above all is bone-deep emotional truth, as its myriad characters—each, except for one cartoonish villain, as real as readers' own kin—grapple not just with issues of life and death but with the sufferings and joys of daily existence in a setting detailed with finely attuned attention and a warm sense of wonder. This novel has a huge heart—and millions of readers are going to love it. Agent, Aaron Priest. 600,000 first printing; 3-city author tour; simultaneous Time Warner Audiobook; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Turkey; world Spanish rights sold. (One-day laydown, Oct. 24)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wish You Well March 23 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm a huge Baldacci fan and I wasn't sure what to expect this time out since it's such a departure from his other works. But I have to say...I LOVE THIS BOOK! My parents grew up in this era (1940's) in rural KY, with the hills and the "hollers" and the coal mines so these characters were very real to me. You'll fall in love with Lou, Oz, Louisa and Diamond. And you will care how it all works out. One reviewer said the end was "transparent", but who cares? It ended exactly the way it should. READ THIS BOOK!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book! March 16 2004
Format:Hardcover
Maybe I should be sorry for having liked this book so much. But, I prefer this selection to Mr. Baldacci's other fare. Great story with each character a person you'd like to know. If you love Baldacci's thrillers and have no heart, then perhaps this isn't the book for you. But if you like to see the good in people and relish in an emotional book, then this one is for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Wish you well by David Baldacci Nov. 9 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The language of this book is how I would see a 12 year old girl thinking. David has a talent for making every experience fresh and vivid. I am still reading the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read!! July 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Heart and soul truly pours from every page of the book. By the time I was done I wanted to meet all the characters and wished I could go up on that mountain. I was emotional when I read the end my daughter is now reading it! And she hates books like that!
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1.0 out of 5 stars How Predictable May 16 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have never read Baldacci before, and I don't plan to read him again. I was forced to read this sappy, pat story because it was my book clubs book of the month. Lou, the little girl in the story is twelve years old, and I believe Baldacci was confused by this too often. He wrote her thoughts, and contemplations as though she were a very old, very wise adult. So much of this book was the author's dribble. He tried much too hard to describe the sceneries, and left too much lacking in his characters. His characters were way too predictable. I think he may even have copied some of them from other stories, Huck Finn perhaps. Don't waste your time, or your money reading it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT READ! March 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
David Baldacci is truly a great story teller. I lent this book to a friend and she stole it from me after she read it. It is not like his typical thriller books. It is a drama that involves a world before technology took over, involving the tragedies and wonders of two children lives, on their grandmother's farm
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3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining...but lightly so. Feb. 11 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book was my first by Baldacci. I enjoyed it, however, it was very light and airy. Definitely predictable and at times seemed as though it was written for a 4th grader. I wanted to like it more than i did. I have heard that this book is very different from the author's usual writing so i will definitely try out another book of his.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable! Feb. 8 2004
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Not your average Baldacci--talk about changing horses! But it works beautifully. Set in Virginia, this novel brings to mind other books (think McCrae's Bark of the Dogwood or Kidd's Secret Life of Bees). And the writing is as good as those books. The characters in Wish you Well are very well developed and at times the novel seems larger than life. Whether or not you're a Baldacci fan, you'll love this fun, entertaining, wonderfully-written novel.
Also recommended: Secret life of Bees and Bark of the Dogwood
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