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Wish You Well by David Baldacci

Wish You Well (2000)

by David Baldacci

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book -- both for the story it told and for the richness of the characters. Although my ancestors come from places like the Netherlands and Rumania rather than the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Louisa is as much my great-grandmother as she is Lou and Oz's-- as she is everyone's.... Mostly, I loved the spirit of these people -- their strength, their endurance, their compassion.... It is the story of hardship and loss, but it is the story of triumph and, above all, of family. ( )
  Denise.Jenne | Sep 29, 2015 |
A sweet book written in the nostalgic style of 1950's or earlier (I had to check the copyright to confirm it was from 2000) which takes place before WWII. Two children are left without a guardian when their father dies in an accident which also leaves their mother comatose. They leave NYC to live with the great-grandmother they've never met, in the Virginia mountains. They learn industriousness, milking cows, helping with planting and other chores, make friends and enemies at the local school. Their gr-granmother is well known for her kindness, and charity, but when the local coal company wants to buy her land they stand to lose it all.
With the current controversy over mountaintop mining and other energy extraction, the theme is certainly relevant, tho handled in a manner more reminiscent of Christian novels than one would expect from Baldacci. ( )
  juniperSun | Mar 29, 2015 |
Wonderful, heartwarming story, but not without a shock or two. Haven't read Baldacci, before but this was a good book to start with. ( )
  gogglemiss | Mar 17, 2015 |
A book so unlike other David Baldacci books that I had to make sure it was the same man - and it was. The book was captivating from the clear descriptions of the mountains to the depth of the characters. This was one that I could not put down and made me (almost) wish for such a simple life. ( )
  sunnydrk | Feb 14, 2015 |
The Wishing Well by David Baldacci is a wonderful surprise. I listened to the audio tape cassette version of this book. I have enjoyed his legal mysteries before but this is completely different. His inspiration for this story comes from Virginia where his mother grew up some old family photos and letters. It is his belief that by understanding the challenges that our ancestors went through, we are better able to face our own.

Jack Cardinal is a famous writer but not wealthy. His books are taught more in schools than bought by the general public. He is driving his family to California for a job that promises more money so that he can better support his family. On the way, he and his wife, Amanda get into an argument about the trip. She wants him to spend more time with the children and knows that will not happen with the new job. There is an accident and he is thrown from the car and killed. Amanda is wheel chair bound and does not open her eyes or communicate with anyone. Their daughter, Lou was listening to the argument and tells everyone that they have someone to live with, their 82 year old great grandmother in the mountains of Virginia. The executors of the Jack’s will send Amanda, Lou and Oz, Lou’s eight year old brother to Louisa, the great grandmother.

The children learn their farming chores, adjust to no electricity and no indoor plumbing and begin to have the greatest respect and love for Louisa. This is great story telling at its best. There is drama, a barn burning, a mine explosion and wonderful courtroom scene that. The author tells an unforgettable story of an old woman’s respect for the mountains and sorrow of the mines that rape them. Their life is poor but it actually filled with riches of wisdom of the old woman, of the miracle of nature and the will to survive and love the gift of life. The book was read by Kate Burton and she did the male and female voices and accents with great expertise.

I highly recommend this book. ( )
  Carolee888 | Dec 20, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Baldacci, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saville, GlenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The air was moist, the coming rain telegraphed by plump, gray clouds, and the blue sky fast fading.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446699489, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:14 -0400)

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In 1940, tragedy forces Lou, her little brother Oz, and their invalid mother to move to the mountains of southwestern Virginia to live with their great-grandmother, but a courtroom battle could determine the fates of the entire family.

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