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Wish You Well [Kindle Edition]

David Baldacci
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (582 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.01 (33%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

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.

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Editorial Reviews Review

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

From Publishers Weekly

Baldacci is writing what? That waspish question buzzed around publishing circles when Warner announced that the bestselling author of The Simple Truth, Absolute Power and other turbo-thrillers—an author generally esteemed more for his plots than for his characters or prose—was trying his hand at mainstream fiction, with a mid-century period novel set in the rural South, no less. Shades of John Grisham and A Painted House. But guess what? Clearly inspired by his subject—his maternal ancestors, he reveals in a foreword, hail from the mountain area he writes about here with such strength—Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet, an utterly captivating drama centered on the difficult adjustment to rural life faced by two children when their New York City existence shatters in an auto accident. That tragedy, which opens the book with a flourish, sees acclaimed but impecunious riter Jack Cardinal dead, his wife in a coma and their daughter, Lou, 12, and son, Oz, seven, forced to move to the southwestern Virginia farm of their aged great-grandmother, Louisa. Several questions propel the subsequent story with vigor. Will the siblings learn to accept, even to love, their new life? Will their mother regain consciousness? And—in a development that takes the narrative into familiar Baldacci territory for a gripping legal showdown—will Louisa lose her land to industrial interests? Baldacci exults in high melodrama here, and it doesn't always work: the death of one major character will wring tears from the stoniest eyes, but the reappearance of another, though equally hanky-friendly, is outright manipulative. Even so, what the novel offers above all is bone-deep emotional truth, as its myriad characters—each, except for one cartoonish villain, as real as readers' own kin—grapple not just with issues of life and death but with the sufferings and joys of daily existence in a setting detailed with finely attuned attention and a warm sense of wonder. This novel has a huge heart—and millions of readers are going to love it. Agent, Aaron Priest. 600,000 first printing; 3-city author tour; simultaneous Time Warner Audiobook; foreign rights sold in the U.K., Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Holland, Turkey; world Spanish rights sold. (One-day laydown, Oct. 24)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 801 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0446527165
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 1, 2000)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FA5QMM
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,342 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
93 of 94 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TAKE ME HOME...COUNTRY HOME... August 25, 2002
Format:Audio Cassette
Having read a number of David Baldacci's books, most of which are well written, engrossing thrillers, this one is quite different. It is not a thriller but, rather, a beautifully written, human drama, most of which takes place in the mountains of Virginia. In this unabridged, audiobook edition, the richness of the drama and the beauty of the writing is brought to life by the wonderful narration of Norma Lana, who manages to convey the down home sense of feeling that is palpable in the book.
This is a coming of age story. It is the story of the Cardinal family, as seen throught the young eyes of twelve year old Louisa Mae Cardinal, known as Lou, a precocious twelve year old, whose father is a highly acclaimed writer of note with great literary distinction but little commercial success. She lives with her beloved father, her mother, and her younger brother, Oz, in New York City. The year is 1940. The family is on the brink of moving to California, when tragedy strikes, and the lives of Lou, Oz, and their mother are forever changed.
Lou, Oz, and their now catatonic mother go to live with their paternal great-grandmother, Louisa, for whom Lou is named. This no nonsense, strong willed, loving matriarch lives high up in the the Appalachian mountains of Virginia, where Lou's father grew up, and that is where Lou and Oz will now grow up. They are strangers in a strange land, big city children now living on a farm without electricity, running water, or central heat. It is there that Lou comes of age and, together with her brother, Oz, has many new experiences. They are experiences that provide rights of passage and life lessons in friendship, loyalty, loss, and redemption. She gets a large dose of the good, the bad, and the ugly in life.
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57 of 61 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A change from the author's usual books November 8, 2000
When I picked up David Baldacci's "Wish you Well" I didn't know what to expect. I had read "The Winner", "Total Control" and "Saving Faith" so I think I was expecting something more along those lines. Instead, what I got was a touching book about hope and love. The kind of love that a child has for a parent. Pure love. The description of the mountains of Virginia where the story takes place was so real, that I could literally visualize it. At various points in the story I wanted to reach out and give Lou and Oz hugs...something I felt they were so desperately needing.
The outcome of the book was what I expected to a degree. The story does not disappoint and is now one of my favorite books of the year!
Well done Mr. Baldacci. You have impressed me again.
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36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Out of Character December 26, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm reading what I think is a really wonderful book now. Its called Wishing You Well by David Baldacci. He normally writes thrillers like Absolute Power, however, this time he steps out of his genre to write a really beautiful character novel. If you've read his other stuff as I have, it will take you 50 - 75 pages to realize that this is a special book. It's one of the best books I've read in a long time. I like character novels now so take my praise in that light. It's a wonderful read. The characters touch something way down inside of me. Maybe because I spent some time in Appalachia growing up and knew a lot of transplanted coal miners that this story is special, but I think it has a lot to say to everyone.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hooks you from the first page November 4, 2000
In 1940s New York City, twelve-year-old Louisa Mae "Lou" Cardinal hero-worships her father, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer. Lou's dream is to become as highly regarded as he is, but she is unaware of how little money her dad Jack earns. Considered by critics one of the best authors of his generation, Jack is considering Hollywood in order to feed his family of four.

Lou's idyllic world crashes when her beloved father dies in a car accident. With her mother in shock, Lou and her younger brother Oz are displaced and move to their great-grandmother's remote Virginia farm. The two siblings begin to heal, but a new fight to save their new home is on the horizon.

WISH YOU WELL is a powerful character-driven historical novel that provides the audience a look at the bone marrow of emotions of the key players during tragedy. Readers will take to heart Lou, Oz, their mom, and their great-grandmother. The support cast augments the tale with even deeper glimpses of the Cardinals. Although David Baldacci overdoes the melodrama and reverts to a well-written courtroom climax, WISH YOU WELL is a great look at daily survival during a period of intense grief and displacement.

Harriet Klausner
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45 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good commercial fiction October 27, 2000
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm still not quite sure what to make of Baldacci's WISH YOU WELL. Despite the hype, this is not a literary novel, although it does sometimes come close, but rather is commercial mainstream fiction aimed to sell well and not to challenge our preconceptions of the world. As long as you view it as just that - a commercial novel - you will be satisfied with this book.
In 1940, Jack Cardinal dies in a car accident that leaves his wife Amanda in a coma and his two children, Lou (short for Louisa) and Oz (Oscar), without a caretaker. Lou acts on her parents' last conversation and suggests the surviving family members go to Virginia to live with great-grandmother, Louisa, whom none of them has met. So off the three go: Lou, Oz, and comatose Amanda. There, Lou and Oz discover a hard but rewarding existence in the mountains where coal and poverty rule. They come to love Eugene, also known as "Hell No", Diamond who is a resourceful but uneducated orphan, and, most of all, Louisa herself, who has many lessons to teach the children.
Although the plot is somewhat predictable and Baldacci populates his Virgina mountains with a supporting cast of types (the greedy coal company men, the abusive man who tends to his mare's foaling despite his wife's difficult - and simultaneous, of course - labor, the black man who gets respect only from the good guys), Baldacci goes further with his main characters. Pre-teen Lou is well imagined, even if she sometimes acts too old for her age. Louisa, Lou's great-grandmother, has the most commanding presence of all the characters, with her mountain hardness tempered by a generous heart; her past and present all feel real, true to life.
You'll enjoy this book as long as you don't expect high literature.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This was a beautiful story, I loved every minute of it
This was a beautiful story, I loved every minute of it. Got copies for my adult granddaughters to read it was so good.
Published 3 days ago by millie
5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE this book
I LOVE this book. I did not want it to end. I have never been disappointed in David Baldacci . This book proves he can write on any subject!
Published 6 days ago by Leah
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow to a strong finish
I am a true Baldacci fan but I was not to impressed with this story. I love his legal mind but I n this story I fealt the back story y was a bit too long.
Published 7 days ago by Jim Smallwood
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book!
I am in the process of reading all of the books by this author. I really enjoy them. This book however is my most favorite. It is completely different than his political thrillers. Read more
Published 8 days ago by jun@0212
5.0 out of 5 stars Different from other Baldacci books
An interesting and inspiring book. Very different from his other mystery-oriented books. A story of children sent to the backwoods to live with a grandmother who had no running... Read more
Published 9 days ago by Kcosper
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent read.
Published 10 days ago by Tom Monda
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved This Book!
Oh, how I wish this story would never end. I've read so many wonderful books throughout the years and this one has to be one of the best I've ever read. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Linda
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The best book David has written...... had to read twice straight away - thank you for a great read....
Published 12 days ago by Diane of Christchurch
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book.
This is an excellent book. I Enjoyed learning about that time in history and the way of life. Well written.
Published 13 days ago by Sandra Shell
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding
A tale of family, history, heart break and achievement. It has such a feeling of reality that it could be any of our families. Well worth the time to read.
Published 13 days ago by Chris Roberts
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More About the Author

David Baldacci made a big splash on the literary scene with the publication of his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER. A major motion picture adaptation followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 27 novels, all of which have been national and international bestsellers; several have been adapted for film and television. His novels have been translated into more than 45 languages and sold in more than 80 countries; over 110 million copies are in print worldwide. David has also published four novels for children.

David received his Bachelor's degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and his law degree from the University of Virginia School of Law, after which he practiced law in Washington, D.C.

While David is involved with several philanthropic organizations, his greatest efforts are dedicated to his family's Wish You Well Foundation®. Established by David and his wife, Michelle, the Wish You Well Foundation supports family and adult literacy in the United States by fostering and promoting the development and expansion of literacy and educational programs. In 2008 the Foundation partnered with Feeding America to launch Feeding Body & Mind, a program to address the connection between literacy, poverty and hunger. Through Feeding Body & Mind, more than 1 million new and used books have been collected and distributed via area food banks.

David and his family live in Virginia.

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