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Wish You Well by David Baldacci

Wish You Well (2000)

by David Baldacci

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Precocious 12-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.

I've read all of David Baldacci's series over the years but this was so different from all of those. As I was reading it I kept thinking that it sounded almost like an autobiography, and then at the back of the book were family pictures from Baldacci's grandparents and his mother. So turns out it was a "labor of love".

This book displays what a magnificent story teller David Baldacci really is. It contains all types of surprises mixed with a scene that will bring tears to the strongest of readers. Taking place from the 1930's and 1940's it offers the reader an opportunity to take a vacation to another time and place and share in lives rich in family history. ( )
  Carol420 | Sep 15, 2017 |
As one of the bestselling writers of legal thrillers like n Absolute Powern, David Baldacci is known for his hair-raising plots and fast-paced suspense. But in a significant departure from his usual fare (though the end result is no less compelling), Baldacci slows things down a bit for his latest saga,Wish You Well, a story he culled from his own family's history and experiences. It's a coming-of-age tale reminiscent of that timeless classic, n To Kill a Mockingbirdn, where the setting -- Virginia mountain coal country in the post-Depression '40s -- is as much a character as any of the people who walk the pages.

The lives of 12-year-old Lou Cardinal and her eight-year-old brother, Oscar ("Oz"), are forever altered when an auto accident takes the life of their writer father and leaves their mother in a catatonic state. Used to the hectic bustle of New York City, they find themselves transplanted to the mountain cabin home of their great-grandmother, Louisa Mae Cardinal. Their new home has no electricity or running water, and their food comes not from any grocery store but from the barn and the land. Their new neighbors are simple folk, many of them poor, uneducated, and worked to the bone. But beneath them all is The Mountain, with its power to mesmerize and nurture their minds and their souls.

Though Lou rebels against her new life at first, she eventually grows to appreciate her hardscrabble existence, rising before dawn to milk the cows, attending school in a one-room schoolhouse, and then working till dusk to prepare, plant, and harvest crops. Her great-grandmother's simple lifestyle, boundless spirit, and obvious love of The Mountain become contagious. But there is plenty of ugliness here, too, not the least of which is the pervasive poverty and prejudicial ignorance subscribed to by some. When a greedy corporate entity enters the picture, Baldacci takes his readers into territory more familiar, culminating the tale in a highly satisfying David-and-Goliath-style courtroom battle.

The title is an apt one, a reference to Oz and Lou's childish wishes and their belief in things wondrous and magical, a belief that often slams up against the harsh truths of reality. Yet in the end, something magical does prevail. And although all the characters in this tale may not survive, the mystical allure of The Mountain and its effect on those who come to know it, does. ( )
  cdiemert | Jul 30, 2017 |
I haven't finished this book yet, not sure it's worth my time, but was wondering if anyone else found the southern talk to be completely wrong. I have never heard anyone talk like this, it comes across as more like someone that is just learning english.
  liv_books | Apr 18, 2017 |
A tender story o 12 year old Louisa May Cardinal and her 5 yr old brother Oz who after the death of their father in an car accident, move from New York with her severly injured mother to live with her great grandmother in the mountains of Virginia. This is a story about the love of family and friends and their life on a hardscrabble the farm that will move you. ( )
  lewilliams | Feb 22, 2017 |
There’s a wishing well in David Baldacci’s novel, Wish You Well. There are children with deep wounds and wishes. There are adults worn down by care, worn out by pain, and worn to warmth by love. And there’s a Virginia landscape standing proud against the inroads worn by mankind. The world of the 1940s is very different from today of course, but the greeds, prejudices, loves and concerns of the characters in this book are as real today as they were then.

The author offers insights into backstories with perfect timing, creating depth and breadth without ever distracting from what’s going on. Tragedy melds with hope, wishes just might be fulfilled, and a city girl grows up to love the mountains of her father’s youth. It’s all beautifully depicted with convincing insights into a childs-eye view of friendship, life and love, and it's a lovely novel, convincingly researched, beautifully plotted, and enticingly told despite occasional predictability.

Disclosure: I needed a feel-good read! ( )
  SheilaDeeth | Feb 11, 2017 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Baldacci, Davidprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Saville, GlenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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