Book Reviews of Wish You Well

Wish You Well
Wish You Well
Author: David Baldacci
ISBN-13: 9780446527163
ISBN-10: 0446527165
Publication Date: 10/2000
Pages: 401
Rating:
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.
 148

3.9 stars, based on 148 ratings
Publisher: Warner Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

123 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

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Helpful Score: 8
Well written, awesome story, I didn't want it to end! Totally out of Baldacci's norm, it's quite inspiring and touching. I highly recommend this book!
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Helpful Score: 7
I loved this book! Good voice, great characters, and believable storyline.

I aquired this book from my mother and was not thrilled about reading it from the jacket blurb, but after a few months of it sitting on my bedside table I finally cracked it open. Once I actually read this book I found I had a hard time putting it down. I felt as if I knew the characters and grew along with them. I could actually hear the Virginia accent. And I truely felt for all the characters as if they were friends and neighbors of my own. A wonderful book.
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Helpful Score: 7
The book starts off in 1940. A family tragedy in New York sends a 12 yr. old girl and her 7 yr. old brother to live with their great-grandmother in rural W.Va. A great story about adaptation, family, and friends. It takes you back to an age when kids were kids and went exploring in the woods without fear of anything, just having fun. It'll have you laughing - and getting all choked up. I have never been disappointed in a Baldacci book.
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Helpful Score: 6
Usually my husband reads the David Baldacci books, but this one is different. In this book, he has written about his roots in the mountains. Drawing on his family history, Baldacci writes about two children from NYC who lose their parents and go to live with their great-grandmother on her farm. They meet numerous 'characters' and learn a lot about live and loving people. This was a heartwarming, endearing story.
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Helpful Score: 6
Loved this book by Baldacci. It was so very different from his normal mystery/suspense novels. It was a beautiful, well written book!!
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Helpful Score: 6
This is one of the warmest, sweetest books I've ever read. Two small kids from NYC during the '30s wind up in the W. Virginia mountains. Great story!
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Helpful Score: 5
It's hard for me to part with this book. I really love this story, my favorite part is the setting in the Appalachian Mountains and the descriptions of life in the surrounding rural areas. Beautiful book.
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Helpful Score: 4
Really good read - nice story - not overly complicated or invloved but had family secrets and wonderful story to it. Highly recommend. Story was beautifully written
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Helpful Score: 4
A sort of coming-of-age story - but with Baldacci's wonderful twists, turns, and humor.
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Helpful Score: 4
Very good story about very strong characters. Loved the setting, hurt by the tragedy, rejoiced with the children and felt the sting of the hunger and hardscrabble exhistance of the central characters. I know these people, as I live in the Appalachian Mountains. Very worthwhile read. I fought against it when our book club read it but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it.
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Helpful Score: 3
wonderful, heartfelt touching book about the love of siblings.
warning: make sure you have tissues.
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Helpful Score: 3
I love, love, loved this book. In some ways it reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird. It was certainly different from any other Baldacci book. It is a story of love, caring and deep friendship in hard times. You must read it!
reviewed Wish You Well on
Helpful Score: 2
The story draws you in and paints an interesting picture of life in the Virginia mountains. I've enjoyed his other works and found this to be an interesting change of pacing and character. Honestly I think he is stronger at the mystery genre but this is a story told with love and a real sense of place.
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Helpful Score: 2
After an accident that kills her father, 12-year old Lou - along her brother Oz and and their invalid mother - go to live with her namesake and great-grandmother Louisa May Cardinal on a farm in the mountains of Virginia. There, they learn the value of family, and friends and hard work as they eke a living out of the soil and grow to love the mountains. But just when it seems their life is getting settled again, it is threatened by an outside force that thinks to take advantage of a tragedy in the family. The book ends in a nail-biting trial that will determine the fate of the children and the farm.

David Baldacci normally writes thrillers and bestsellers, so this novel set in early 1940's Virginia Appalacian mountains is a bit of a departure for him. But his family is from this area of Virginia, so it's a setting near and dear to his heart - and this comes through loud and clear in the novel.

This book reminded me a lot of To Kill a Mockingbird. But there are many plot elements in common - the Southern setting, the two siblings, the older and wiser relative, the trial, the practical lawyer standing on the side of justice, and the overall tone of the book are all similar. And it's not a bad thing at all to be compared to such a classic novel. but be assured that the plot of this book is different and stands by itself very well. Although I've been to the Appalachians, it's been a while and this book made me want to go again so that I can take in their beauty once more and appreciate the strength of the people who live there.

This book probably won't become a classic, but it's a great novel and I highly recommend it.
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Helpful Score: 2
After a death, a young family must leave New York to live with family in the hills of Virginia. This is my favorite David Baldacci book. If you like Atticus Finch then you will love the book's character Cotton Longfellow (also a lawyer) and if you like Huck Finn then you will love the protagonist Lou Cardinal. Aside from being a wonderful story, the book gives a true history of life in the deep south. I won't be reposting this book as my sons want to read it and then I'm bound to read it again.
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Helpful Score: 2
A very touching bok. I liked this one a lot.
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Helpful Score: 2
A moving story about two children and their comatose mother moving to the Virginia mountains to live with their great-grandmother. They learn innumerable life lessons through their grandmother's teachings and love and from the land itself. A fast and enjoyable read.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book is so enjoyable and it's a great one to give as a gift to others.
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Helpful Score: 1
I love how this book focused on values and family and the things tying them together that don't cost money. A great book that greatly varies from Baldacci's regular plot.
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Helpful Score: 1
Precocious twelve-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.

"A touching tale...a love letter to a rural world." -- Entertainment Weekly

"Utterly captivating...what the novel offers above all is bone-deep emotional truth...Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet." -- Publishers Weekly

This is a wonderfully written book my wife and I thoroughly enjoyed. Our usual reading is espionage, cop books or courtroom novels but this book really captivated us. *****!
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Helpful Score: 1
WISH YOU WELL...is the story of Louisa Mae Cardinal, a precocious twelve-year-old girl living in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her acclaimed but sadly underpaid writer father, her compassionate mother, and her timid younger brother, Oz. For Lou, her family's financial struggles are invisible to her. Instead, she is a daughter who idolizes her father and is in love with the art of storytelling.
Then, in a single, terrifying moment, Lou's life is changed forever, and she and Oz are on a train rolling away from New York and down into the mountains of Virginia. There, Lou's mother will begin a long, slow struggle between life and death. And there, Lou and Oz will be raised by their remarkable great-grandmother, Louisa, Lou's namesake.
Suddenly a girl finds herself coming of age in a landscape that could not be more foreign to her. On her great-grandmother's farm, on the land her father loved and wrote about, Lou finds her first true friend; learns lessons in loyalty, tragedy, and redemption; and experiences adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. When a dark, destructive force encroaches on their new home, Lou and her brother are caught up in another struggle-a struggle for justice and survival that will be played out in a crowded Virginia courtroom.
In WISH YOU WELL David Baldacci has written a tale laced with touching passages evoking the charms of rural Virginia, imbued with graceful humor, and enriched by with unforgettable characters. The novel is a heart-wrenching yet triumphant story about family and adversity from times past that resounds forcefully today. WISH YOU WELL is a breathtakingly beautiful achievement from an author who has the power to make us feel, to make us care, and to make us believe in the great and little miracles that can change lives-or save them.
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Helpful Score: 1
What mystery lies when Lou and Oz go to live wth their greatgrandmother?
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Helpful Score: 1
As with all of David Baldacci's books you cannot put them down. This book came to me by way of 4 previous readers of the book, all of whom stated it was well worth their reading tim.
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Helpful Score: 1
I did not know what to expect when I got this book from a friend, but I loved every second of it. The writing is both stark and deeply descriptive. The characters were interesting and really draw you into the story. The story itself is one that holds your attention and makes you feel for the characters. A good book that is well worth the reading time!
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Helpful Score: 1
A book about two children from the city who move in with their hillbilly grandmother whcn their father dies.
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Helpful Score: 1
Louisa Mae Cardinal,a precocious twelve-year-old girl living in the hectic New York City of 1940 with her acclaimed but sadly underpaid writer father,her compassionate mother,and timid youger brother.
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Helpful Score: 1
A great story to take you back to the simple life - even if you weren't raised in the area, Mr. Baldacci does an excellent job of taking you there. I couldn't put it down (unless I had to of course) and was sad it ended but happy I took the opportunity to read something I normally wouldn't have.
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Excellent read. As always Baldacci tells a great story.
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This is a great book. Baldacci is one of my top authors. It is a bit of a step away from his usual subjects, but thoroughly enjoyable. Quick, easy read.
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This is an excellent book! Would love to find more like it. A great people book!
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A different kind of story line than usual from David Baldacci. Loved it!
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This was a very interesting book from David Baldacci. It is not a mystery/thriller, but it was a wonderful fiction story of a young girl and her little brother, who become orphaned for all practical purposes and have to go live with their aunt who has a farm way back in the mountains. This takes place in the 30's, and is just absolutely a great read, especially if you like historical fiction. I was disappointed at first to see that it wasn't a mystery, but knowing David Baldacci as a wonderful storyteller, I had to read it and I am so glad I did!!
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This is a departure from his usual thrillers, but I really enjoyed it.
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This book took a short time to get into it. But then once I did it was difficult to put it down. This was my first read by Baldacci and I will definitely be looking for another.
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A jump from the expected Grisham
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A very good book about rural life, family, big business and people. It was a slow start for me, but I enjoyed it greatly.
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This is very different from Baldacci's other books and an excellent read, proving he can write in any genre.
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A captivating novel that offers some bone-deep emotional truths. Well worth reading!
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Wonderful book about a girl and her brother who get sent to her grandmothers in the W. Virginia Mountains after her father is killed in a car wreck and her mother goes into a catatonic state. Very different from what Baldacci usually writes but very enjoyable. It is 1940 and the accidental death of their father sends two children, Lou and her younger brother Oz, along with their invalid mother, from New York City to the rugged mountains of southwestern Virginia to live with their great-grandmother, Louisa Mae Cardinal. Life is different in Virginia where food is homemade, school is a long walk down the road, and chores involve rising early in the morning. The children flourish. Then the local coal-and-gas company comes around, conniving to seize the property. The climactic courtroom battle, which will decide the fates of Lou, Oz, and their mother, is as unpredictable as it is relentless.
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Really enjoyed this book was a little slow moving at first, but once I got into it I really enjoyed it Would give it an A-
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Not up to Baldacci's other novels of suspense. Ending is very weak.
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I had to read this for school a few years ago because David Baldacci was coming to speak about it. It was enjoyable and I was glad I was forced to read it because it got me reading his other novels and I am now a fan. Plus, he is a fellow Virginian and so that is where his novels take place and that is nice.
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From the very first chapter to the very last word, I found this to be one of the most beautifully written novels I've read. The brother and sister are very special and very loving children. Their tenderness toward each other touched me deeply. I identified with this book as I too was raised on a mountain in Eastern Ky and have know communities like this one. I consider this a must read.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this audio cd while driving to work. Everytime I arrived at work, I didn't want to turn off the engine to go into work. I was so addicted to listening to the story.
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This unabridged version is approximately 10 hours long and includes 7 cassettes. It is read by Norma Lana with an Afterword by the author.
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Starts slow, but excellent story. Good listening.
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Good author, good story.
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A boy and girl have been essentially orphaned when their father is killed and their mother is injured in an accident go to the mountains of Virginia and discover the love of thier great-grandmother. Family history and roots are explored in this touching novel.
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A very touching story about children who have suffered loss and found new love and friendship on their road to recovery. I enjoyed it very much and reminded me of my own mother who told me stories of growing up in the south and the hardships of the times.
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This is very well written and I felt it was the best (next to "The Christmas Train") that he has written. Hope that he will write more like this.
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A delightful, well written story.
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Very well written and touching. Definitely a tear jerker.
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This is an amazing book...I love the characters. A book you may want to read twice.
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this is a bit different story for this author. More of a personal interest story which is very well done.
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I truly enjoyed this book on many levels. A great accounting of life in the coal fields and the poverty that often accompanied it. Add to that the story of a family facing life altering tragedies and finding their roots and you have a wonderful read in Wish You Well.
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I loved this coming of age story set in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1940's. Easy to read and moves along. Wonderful characters.
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This was a book we read in our book club. Everyone loved it!
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Twelve year old Lou and little brother, Oz, find themselves moving from fast paced NYC in 1940 after a car accident has left their writer father dead and their mother in a catatonic state. With no where else to go, they move to Virginia to live with the Great-Grandmother who raised their father, but whom they have never met. Lou (the girl) is named for her Great-Grandmother Louisa May. Life in the hills is quite different for the children where there is no electricity, no running water, no big stores & very few "comforts". But, they meet extraordinary people like Diamond, a young orphan who shows them how wishes can come true, Eugene, a young black man who lives on Louisa May's homestead and helps her with the farm and, Cotton Longfellow, a lawyer who comes to be the savior of the family when the bad guys -- the coal companies and local bootleggers try to steal the family property. All in all, through trials and tribulations, the children come through this dark period of time and learn many, many life lessons.
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"Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet, an utterly captivating drama". Publishers Weekly
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Great story, well told.
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I really enjoyed this book. It is different from all of his other books, but I found it very interesting and somewhat nostalgic. I think it would make a good movie.
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I thought the first two thirds of this book was a little slow. I did like his descriptive qualities of writing and he made the reader understand the characters emotions. It just took me awhile to get through this half. The last third of the book was exciting and emotionally driven. It ended on a good note.
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Loved this story and I do not like Baldacci. What a great yarn, weaves you right and at the end you will go-what there's no more? Getting this copy to lend out.
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very good
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David Baldacci has always delievered great stories,authentic characters, and thought provoking ideas sinse he burst on the literary sceme with WITH ABSOLUTE POWER. Now this versatile moving envokes the charms of rural America as he makes us believe in the great and little miricles that can change lives-or save them.
Novel
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Different than you may expect from Baldacci, but a good read. A paragraph from the book cover says it all..."Baldacci has always delivered great stories, authentic characters, and thought provoking ideas..... Now this versatile writer movingly evokes the charms of rural America as he makes us believe in the great and little miracles that can change lives - or save them." Two children, precocious twelve-year old Loisia Mae Cardinal and her brother Oz, live in New York, but because of a tragedy must move to Grandmothers farm in the Virginia Mountains... These two kids change the landscape and in the end fight the forces of greed that makes you forget some of your own problems.
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New York City-1940
Tragedy strikes the family of precocious 12-year-old Louis Mae Cardinal. She and her brother, Oz, go with their invalid mother to live on their great-grandmother's farm in the VA mountains. She finds herself coming of age and man experiencing adventures: tragic, comic, and audacious. The forces of juctice and greed clash over her new home and their strugle is played out in a crowded VA courtroom. This will determine the future of the 2 children, an entire town, and the mountains they have grown to love.
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Precocious twelve 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 grandmothers farm in the Virgina mountains. 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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Touching story set in 1940 rural America.
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A good story - I enjoyed reading this book.
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This is a great book. It is one of those stories that you find yourself missing the characters after you finish the book.
Howeve I want to warn regular Baldacci readers that this is not a mystery thriller.
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David Baldacci's departure from his usual style of writing was a pleasant surprise. This is such a heart-warming tale that I had a hard time putting it down. The devastating hardships that the mountain people of Virginia endured is unimaginable for us today. I almost envied them tho, for they truly lived off of the land and not a scrap was ever wasted. As hard as it must have been, they were very proud people and had the satisfaction of knowing, when they laid their weary head on their pillow at night, that an honest day's work had been done. I recommend this book to all.
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Good read
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This book is a vast departure from Baldacci's traditional style. It took a while for me to warm up to, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. This is a heart-rending story.
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This versatile writer movingly evokes the charms of rural america as he makes us believe in the great and little miracles that can change lives or save them. Very good read
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Heart-warming story of two children from New York City, sent to the Virginia mountains to live with their great grandmother. I picked the book up at a workshop for teaching reading and figurative language. Baldacci's use of words is truly superb.
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From the back cover:
Precocious twelve-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, mustgo 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.

Earl H., Meldrim, Ga.
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Different for Baldacci, but very, very good. Walton-esque.
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Great story by a great story teller. Set in the 1940's it is s touching tale you will enjoy.
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A story of a multi-generation family's difficult life in the Virginia mountains. Good morals win out over greed.
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I loved this book! I have a friend that owns a horse farm near the area that this book was centered around. They are making a movie based on this book and they have filmed on her horse farm. I am so anxious to see if the filming will make it into the movie. I love the time frame in which the book was written. It brings back a lot of memories of my own childhood! I was pleased and captivated throughout the book! It was a wonderful book and I am looking forward to seeing the movie as well!
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I have never read anything by this author. Decided to take a chance one this one and glad I did. Very good story, beginning to end!
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A dear friend gave me this book to read. I was a bit apprehensive because it wasn't my type of read. I decided to read it out of politeness. I was so glad that I did. Will say that it is a top 10 on my list. Being from the mountains of Virginia, I could relate to a lot of the book. I enjoyed it so much that I bought it for myself and bought my boyfriend's grandmother a copy as well. She enjoyed it so much she passed it to her sister who passed it to her daughter who passed it to her daughter. Everyone loved it! One of my all time favorite books.
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Such a great book. The characters come alive! Good read!
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Absolutly loved this book. I was there with the characters, and couldnt put it down. A wonderful story, that I wished continued.
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Enjoyed this book very much. Although I felt that Baldacci could have written a much better ending, it seemed a little hurried.
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This book is for Baldacci as A Painted House was for John Grisham -- a soul enriching read even for young readers!
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This novel presents the life in the rural mountains of Virginia through a riveting story of two children and their experiences to a new life. It is a total different approach from the other works of Baldacci, but thoroughly enjoyable.
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I found this to be a very sad book. The author could have done a better job with the ending--not very realistic, almost like a fairy tale ending.
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Feel good novel
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Precocious twelve-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 mother to live on their greatgranmother'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.
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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 heryounger brother, Oz must go live on thir 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
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This book is unlike other Baldacci books. It takes place in the Virginia mountains. I really enjoyed this book.
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Wonderful story! Great characters! Not particularly original, but I loved it anyway.
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Baldacci fans will enjoy this offbeat story about a young girl who, after her father's death, is sent with her little brother to live with her feisty grandmother in the mountains of Virginia. Along with Louisa's struggles to adjust to the changes in her life and environment, there is a battle ongoing concerning the land itself, played out in the courtroom.
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Excellent book
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This is Baldacci's usual mystery, but a wonderful, wonderful story about a family in the mountains of Virgina. I loved it!
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A change of genre, and an exquisite glance into life in the Virginia mountain regions. The all-but orphaned children of a well-known, but unprosperous writer, find themselves in the care of their great grandmother. From the privileges and conveniences of the city, Louisa and young Oz must adapt to the hard work and beautifully brutal mountain life. Some marvelous characters and eye-opening stories. The simplicity of the lifestyle contrasted to the powers of industry determined to strip the area of resources, and leave the inhabitants with no means of survival. An interesting, enlightening story, with a rather improbable ending. Many scenes are reminiscent of Harper Lee, but Baldacci's brushstrokes paint a slightly different time and circumstance - and do it well.
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Incredible -- I absolutley love this book and I have shared copies with several others. This is a real departure from David Baldacci's normal writing trends. Only an incredible book will bring me to tears -- and this is one of the very few. I loved it.
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A touching tale...a love letter to a rural world. Utterly captivating...what the novel offers above all is bone-deep emotional truth. ORDER THIS BOOK & ONE OTHER....(I will send a third one free, my choice)
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very good
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This is not a typical Baldacci book, but is the story of two young children from NYC, orphaned and sent to live with their great-grandmother in the hills of rural Virginia. It's lovingly written, beautifully descriptive, and will capture your heart.
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Different for Baldacci. Pretty good read.
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Interesting fast read enjoyable.
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I read this book years ago and can't part with it. It is definitely a classic. I believe it should be read in schools along with Tom Sawyer,To kill a Mocking Bird and Red Badge of Courage. I just loved it.A must read.
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very good story
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Good reading
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2 kids must go to the mountans to live with their invlaid mother and grandmother - Lou finds herself learning and making friends but greed may take her away
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Easy read.
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Sweet story of hardship and hope, set in the mountains of Virginia
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Good Read
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New York City in the 1940s
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I didn't think I would like this book, but was pleasantly surprised when I actually got into it....
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Very different from Baldacci's usual style but richly rewarding.
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Just couldn't get into this book, got very tired of trying to read the 'slang' of mountain people or whatever you want to call it, not insult meant just that it was very hard to try to read it and I felt it moved so slow and when it moves so slow it just gets boring waiting for the good part to get there.
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Its a typical story line by David Baldacci. He keeps you guessing and supplies interesting twists. I enjoyed it.
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this is a great book. not like the other baldacci novels but still a great book. much like to kill a mocking bird.i laughed and cried.great ending
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A wonderful story- A must read.
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great summer read!
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have read many of books and think its one his best
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One of the best books I have ever read. Kind of hate to let it go as I would read it again.
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A family comes together on a rural farm in the Virginia mountain and bonds through hardships they share. Not your typical David Baldacci book.
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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.-Amazon.com