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Wish You Well | [David Baldacci]

Wish You Well

It is 1940 and a tragedy sends Lou and her little brother, Oz, along with their invalid mother, from New York City to the rugged mountains of Southwest Virginia to live with their great-grandmother. The story is told with both heartbreaking elegance and large doses of touching humor as the lives of Lou and Oz are changed forever.
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Publisher's Summary

It is 1940 and a tragedy sends Lou and her little brother, Oz, along with their invalid mother, from New York City to the rugged mountains of Southwest Virginia to live with their great-grandmother. The story is told with both heartbreaking elegance and large doses of touching humor as the lives of Lou and Oz are changed forever.

The portraits of the land and its people are described with an extraordinary eye for detail, and the story flows through swells of prejudice, innocence, faith, and the question of whether one can ever really wish another well. The climactic courtroom battle is as unpredictable as it is relentless and will not only decide the fates of Lou, Oz, and their mother, but also those they have touched.

©2000 Columbus Rose, Ltd; (P)2000 Hachette Audio

What the Critics Say

"Richly textured." (Library Journal)
"Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet, an utterly captivating drama." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (250 )
5 star
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4.3 (120 )
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4.3 (117 )
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  •  
    John Aylmer West, Ontario, Canada 06-07-07
    John Aylmer West, Ontario, Canada 06-07-07 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not your usual Baldacci"

    Those of you who are expecting the usual David Baldacci novel are going to be very happily surprised or incredibly disappointed. This is such a huge departure from his regular fare that I almost thought I had downloaded the wrong book. Thank goodness I was wrong and kept listening.

    While I very much enjoy Baldacci at his normal best, this novel was a whole new look at what a fine author can do with simple storytelling.

    You are transported to the hills of Virginia and literally plopped into the lives of Lou and Oz, two displaced New York children who, along with their invalid mother, are suddenly made to exist in a world so different from what they know that you wonder if they have any hope of adjusting.

    Entwined throughout the slowly developed plot are descriptions of Virginia mountain life that are so real you can feel the morning mist rolling down the mountainside. I found myself repeatedly stopping what I was doing and losing myself in the moment. It was almost a shock to my system to come back to reality and realize that I could live there (indeed it felt as if I had, so real are the pictures painted by the author).

    The narrator has an almost hypnotic affect on you, something she probably found easy to do given the material she was reading - not to diminish her abilities as she has a very pleasant voice and is very articulate. She made the story seem almost Waltonesque.

    All in all, it was a most pleasant experience and deserves high marks for both author and narrator. I had the pleasure of leaving reality for a while, enjoying an alternate existence and returning to my life a bit happier than when I left. Can you ask more of a story teller?

    And lest you think the story is simplistic, rest assured, the ending is awesome, the buildup to it enthralling and the whole experience worth every minute.

    Baldacci has outdone himself and deserves a five star rating.

    21 of 21 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy Annapolis MD United States 11-11-08
    Joy Annapolis MD United States 11-11-08 Member Since 2003
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    "Lovely Story"

    There are a couple of Authors whose books I will purchase without bothering with reviews or even checking out what the story is about. David Baldacci is one of those writers. This story is definitely different than his usual books and I enjoy seeing an Author step out of his/her usual genre and write something different. This story touches the heart and digs deep into the best and worst of human behavior. I listened to this story straight through and was never bored. David does go into great detail to describe the setting and the people and all of it adds to the understanding of what it must have been like to be yanked from the comfort zone of your life and then tossed into surviving in what had to be a culture and lifestyle foreign to most of us. I found myself feeling for the characters and wondering how miserable I might have been under the circumstances. I for one, thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann Denver, CO, United States 11-13-10
    Ann Denver, CO, United States 11-13-10 Member Since 2010
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    "Average novel; pitiful narration"

    "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".

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah Ypsilanti, MI, United States 10-01-09
    Sarah Ypsilanti, MI, United States 10-01-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Wonderful story!"

    I had to read this book for a grad class. I love this story. It's a lovely and complicated coming of age novel. It has all the characteristics of a great story, humor, tragedy, love, and a good message for the listener/reader to come away with. The narrator does a nice job and I'm glad I listened to it instead of read the book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Darlene Bethel, NC, United States 04-23-12
    Darlene Bethel, NC, United States 04-23-12 Member Since 2011

    Darlene

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    "Awesome Story - the best of David Baldacci's!"

    I only read David's books that are not real suspenseful because I don't like high suspense. This was awesome and very entertaining.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dot Juneau, AK, United States 11-17-11
    Dot Juneau, AK, United States 11-17-11 Member Since 2008
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    "Great book Good family book"

    Am sending to my sister (who grew up during the depression) and and my daughter and granddaughter who will be the verbal historians. ONE SUGGESTION I grew up in the south with farm ancestors and in a farming community. .
    When this very good reader says "brogans" it is like chalk on a board. The correct pronunciation is "bro(long "O") ANS (like the word and) emphasis on the ANS. My parents talked about them all the time.

    An thinking when I go to visit my 9 year-old grand-twins for Thanksgiving, we will listen to this book together, They live in Virginia now.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sharon DeMier 08-15-09
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    "Truely a wonderful story."

    "Wish You Well," is heartwarming. Baldacci is truely a wonderful story teller. The book is rich with imagery and detail that makes the story come alive. No movie can capture the characters faces and scenes that came alive in my mind as I listened to Norma Lana read. It is wonderful that Baldacci shared this story of his family. I highly recommend this book.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Belle Southampton, NY, USA 04-19-07
    Belle Southampton, NY, USA 04-19-07
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    5
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    "Literary Classic"

    Very engaging. He should do more from the heart writing. This book is a real literary classic. Very descriptive of life growing up in the virginia mountains.

    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Barbara sand springs, OK, USA 07-10-07
    Barbara sand springs, OK, USA 07-10-07
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    "Must Read"

    This delightful book ranks up with the best books I have ever read (heard). What a wonderful story of love, adaptation, and survival. David Baldacci may be wasting his time on suspense novels. This is his best work.

    4 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joe 11-21-07
    Joe 11-21-07
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    "Interesting subject, disappointing writing"

    I gave up on this book after a couple of hours, a rarity for me. The writing is heavy-handed, over-worked. I just couldn't listen to any more despite a keen interest in stories about mountain life.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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