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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

Critic Reviews

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • John
  • Aylmer West, Ontario, Canada
  • 06-07-07

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.

34 of 34 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joy
  • Annapolis MD United States
  • 11-11-08

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.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

So close and yet so far...

The book had the potential to be incrediable, the plot had so much to give... but it felt overworked and almost like two parts were written sparely and others with flourishes. The omniscient point of view jerked me around and I was irritated by the lack of situational reality. For example, you have a comatose woman who needs fed, turned, changed, bathed, oral cares and movement done to limbs daily in the cabin for the entire novel... yet her care is barely mentioned and it is almost like she is placed in a closet for the year until her amazing cure can fix all problems. I have never read Baldacci, so can't compare to his other writing. Kinda felt like Newberry material... and would be a good children's book. I did enjoy it... loved the setting, the work, the community and the family values.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

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.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Belle
  • Southampton, NY, USA
  • 04-19-07

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.

9 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 05-21-16

Wish You Well made me cry!

David Baldacci is an amazingly talented and versatile writer who is known mostly for his thrillers, but he actually has written books in several genres. Wish You Well, set in 1940, is historical fiction. It starts with Lou and Oz living with their invalid mother and father in New York City. The father dies and Lou is forced to go with her brother and mother to the mountains of western Virginia to live with her great grandmother. The book is about the lives of Lou and Oz with their great grandmother. It is a wonderful and touching story, a great listen! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Barbara
  • sand springs, OK, USA
  • 07-10-07

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Darlene
  • Bethel, NC, United States
  • 04-23-12

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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful