Well-written book about Chinese history. Well narrated. If you're interested in a mystery story, however, it's not with the introductory price of $9.95 and definitely not worth a credit.
Tana French wrote a good novel, but Steven Crossley, normally a proficient narrator, narrates this audiobook way...too...slow. While the audiobook is about 20 hours long, Crossley could have easily cut down the time by at least two hours by merely reading in a consistent conversational pace. There are inexplicably many, many long pauses, leaving the listener with a lot of dead air, and painfully slow-paced reading as if the narrator thinks he is reading to an audience who doesn't understand English very well. Nevertheless, Steven Crossley is blessed with a great vocal quality, and Tana French knows how to write a good story. If Crossley had had a speed-up button I could have pushed, this might have been a great audiobook.
"Wish You Well" could have been a fairly credible story about two young children from New York who, through tragedy, are brought to live on an impoverished farm in Virginia and who encounter the stereotypical Southerners who live in the surrounding area. I am generally a Baldacci fan, but I cannot recommend this book. The narrator, who is actually blessed with good vocal quality, unfortunately reads "Wish You Well" in a flat, tedious monotone throughout the story and saps any energy Baldacci may have written into the script. The death of a main character, potentially humorous incidents the two children encounter during their first days on the farm, and the ending of dramatic court scene are all read in the same, unvaried, lackluster tone. Further, the narrator's egregious rendering of a Southern accent is almost an insult to those of us who have lived in the South. The core of the novel is about the Southern way of life and its people, but the narrator reads the dialogue as if it were a foreign language whose dialect she had never encountered. Baldacci, himself, seems to recognize that "Wish You Well" is not one of his better novels; through the narrator, he spends significant time at the beginning of the story explaining what the novel is about, and he preaches at the end of the narration about the current plight of modern America. Take your children to the park or learn a new hobby; you'll get far more out of it than you will with "Wish You Well".
The author deftly leads the reader into a small Southern town to watch and ultimately understand the way two boys -- one black, one white -- interpret friendship and loyalty, both as youths and later as adults, and how the judgment of the town's residents can destroy one of the boys' life. Plenty of action, with surprising twists all along the way, keep the story intriguing and unique.
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