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4.4 out of 5 stars154
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 15 December 2000
'Wish You Well' is a superb novel written by a man normally associated with stories of mystery and intrigue. The theme is simple but beautifully portrayed and is obviously the result of some studied and in-depth research, combined with a degree of personal experience. It takes the reader into a world of hardship, joy, love and personal triumph, somtimes in the face of the harsh realities of the 1940's and the prejudice's that existed during that time. One can't help but re-live the lives of the two young children, whilst at the same time experience the anguish suffered by the more elder members of the mountain community, who live with nature and are dependent on it's mercy. This is a book of sheer escapism combined with a compelling story-line. Absolutely brilliant.
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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.
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.
While there, big business threatens their way of life and pits the townsfolk against each other in a struggle for survival. It is a struggle that sees Louisa take a stance that will, ultimately, be the death of her, leaving the children to cope with their mother, who is physically sound, but locked in her own mind since the tragedy that changed their lives forever. The interests of big business and those of the Cardinal family clash in a Virginia courtroom in a riveting drama that is not easily forgotten. With the help of a family friend, a humble and kindly, country lawyer, things are, eventually, put to rights.
This well written book has richly drawn characters and a sensitive and descriptive narrative that transports the reader to another time and place. It is so evocative of the hardscrabble, mountain existence, so as to make the readers feel as if they, themselves, were experiencing it. It is a sentimental journey that is calculated to tug at one's heartstrings. It is a journey, however, well worth taking. With this book, the author has set himself apart from the pack and proclaimed himself a true literary talent.
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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, audio book 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 through 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 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.
While there, big business threatens their way of life and pits the townsfolk against each other in a struggle for survival. It is a struggle that sees Louisa take a stance that will, ultimately, be the death of her, leaving the children to cope with their mother, who is physically sound, but locked in her own mind since the tragedy that changed their lives forever. The interests of big business and those of the Cardinal family clash in a Virginia courtroom in a riveting drama that is not easily forgotten. With the help of a family friend, a humble and kindly, country lawyer, things are, eventually, put to rights.
This well written book has richly drawn characters and a sensitive and descriptive narrative that transports the reader to another time and place. It is so evocative of the hardscrabble, mountain existence, so as to make the readers feel as if they, themselves, were experiencing it. It is a sentimental journey that is calculated to tug at one's heartstrings. It is a journey, however, well worth taking. With this book, the author has set himself apart from the pack and proclaimed himself a true literary talent.
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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. The richness of the drama and the beauty of the writing manages to convey the down home sense of feeling that is palpable in throughout 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.
While there, big business threatens their way of life and pits the townsfolk against each other in a struggle for survival. It is a struggle that sees Louisa take a stance that will, ultimately, be the death of her, leaving the children to cope with their mother, who is physically sound, but locked in her own mind since the tragedy that changed their lives forever. The interests of big business and those of the Cardinal family clash in a Virginia courtroom in a riveting drama that is not easily forgotten. With the help of a family friend, a humble and kindly, country lawyer, things are, eventually, put to rights.
This well written book has richly drawn characters and a sensitive and descriptive narrative that transports the reader to another time and place. It is so evocative of the hardscrabble, mountain existence, so as to make the readers feel as if they, themselves, were experiencing it. It is a sentimental journey that is calculated to tug at one's heartstrings. It is a journey, however, well worth taking. With this book, the author has set himself apart from the pack and proclaimed himself a true literary talent.
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on 23 January 2013
As a long standing follower of David Baldacci I found this book to be very different to his usual plots. I enjoyed it and gave it four stars but if it had been the first one I had read by this author I might not have become such an avid fan.
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on 7 August 2014
I've consumed DB's FBI,CIA, action packed novels by the dozen and thoroughly enjoyed them. This was radically different. It's clear from his work that his home state of Virginia is important to him. This novel, set in the years just before WW 2 wallows in that locality. I would say that in places, his description of the landscape and the people toiling within it, resonates with Thomas Hardy. I do not say that lightly. David is a huge talent.
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on 27 April 2015
I found this story started in a gripping fashion but then slowed for the majority of the novel. For much of the time I felt nothing really happened other than descriptions of the life Lou and Oz faced on the mountain with their great grandmother. Much of the book revolved around daily chores tending to the animals and the farm..not very exciting. There were moments of action, a school fight, a birth, a mining explosion..but it all seemed rather long winded. The last few chapters set in the courthouse were however gripping..as the first few chapters had been...and when the book ended I did feel lose ends had been tied up and the book had reached a satisfactory conclusion. For me the book was too slow and I often wanted to give up.
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on 29 July 2013
I have just finished reading Wish You Well and am feeling a sense of loss already as it left me wanting more of these wonderfully rounded characters who came to life on the pages for me.
This book is one I will always remember and I wish there was a way to find out what happened to some of the other characters in the book to see if they got their just rewards or punishments.
But perhaps to continue where it left off would be to spoil the magic because it would no longer contain the magnificent Louisa Mae at its centre.
Well done to David Baldacchi and much as I love his thrillers he has a gift for this type of novel also and I hope to read more like it.
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on 27 May 2015
An excellent read which is both enlightening and humbling. The reader cannot help but "live the lives" of the two children who have been dealt such an unfair blow in their lives. The strength of character of the girl is amazing and the protection that she gives to her sibling is amazing given the awful circumstance that has befallen them. Notwithstanding all the trials and tribulations of their young lives they persevere and survive. As I said at the start of this review it is humbling and at times very emotional. An excellent diversion from your usual intrigue and suspense DB. THANKYOU .
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on 8 March 2013
What a refreshing change of genre from David Baldacci. This is no fast paced thriller but a well crafted tale of city child to primitive hill life, with tough characters, plenty of humour and quite a few tears - and a wicked mining company to unite the lot in the end. The spirited heroine of this tale is sensitively drawn - having tragically lost her father, who she idolised, she has to come to terms with growing up with his grandmother in the hills he loved and left and finding her own path in life. A good read, let's hope David Baldacci tries his hand at something like this again.
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