Cover image for Wish you well
Title:
Wish you well
ISBN:
9780446527163
Publication Information:
New York : Warner Books, c2000.
Physical Description:
viii, 401 p. ; 21 cm.
Reading Level:
840 L Lexile
Summary:
In 1940, tragedy forces Lou, her little brother Oz, and their invalid mother to move to the mountains of southwestern Virginia to live with their great-grandmother, but a courtroom battle could determine the fates of the entire family.
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Summary

Summary

Following a family tragedy, siblings Lou and Oz must leave New York and adjust to life in the Virginia mountains--but just as the farm begins to feel like home, they'll have to defend it from a dark threat in this New York Times bestselling coming-of-age story.

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.

Suddenly Lou finds herself growing up in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and experiencing adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. When a dark, destructive force encroaches on her new home, her struggle will play out in a crowded Virginia courtroom...and determine the future of two children, an entire town, and the mountains they love.


Author Notes

David Baldacci was born in Richmond, Virginia on August 5, 1960. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Virginia. He practiced law in Washington D.C. as a trial and corporate lawyer.

His first novel, Absolute Power, was published in 1996. It won Britain's prestigious W.H. Smith's Thumping Good Read award for fiction in 1997 and was adapted as a movie starring Clint Eastwood. His other works include Total Control, The Winner, The Simple Truth, Saving Faith, True Blue, One Summer and End Game. He writes numerous series including King and Maxwell, Freddy and the French Fries, the Camel Club, Will Robie, Shaw and Katie James, John Puller, Vega Jane, and Amos Decker. He also published a novella entitled Office Hours and has authored five original screenplays.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

HBaldacci 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-thrillersDan author generally esteemed more for his plots than for his characters or proseDwas 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 subjectDhis maternal ancestors, he reveals in a foreword, hail from the mountain area he writes about here with such strengthDBaldacci 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? AndDin a development that takes the narrative into familiar Baldacci territory for a gripping legal showdownDwill 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 charactersDeach, except for one cartoonish villain, as real as readers' own kinDgrapple 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 heartDand 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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Booklist Review

Baldacci, a popular writer of thrillers, now writes a more "literary" novel; the results, however, are mixed. Adolescent Louisa May Cardinal, called Lou, is living with her mother, father, and brother, Oz, outside New York City in 1940. An automobile accident results in her father's death, her mother's withdrawal into a catatonic state, and Lou and her brother's move to rural Virginia to live with their paternal great-grandmother. How different life becomes: Lou and Oz are not only answering to someone new but also leading day-to-day lives utterly unlike what they are used to. Food is heavy but all homemade; they learn to ride a horse; school is in a schoolhouse down the road, a long walk away; and chores involve rising early in the morning and turning brown in the hot sun. But Lou and Oz flourish. Then a crisis arises seemingly out of nowhere. The local coal-and-gas company comes sniffing around their great-grandmother's property, conniving to seize it. Baldacci tells a moving story, and he certainly understands rural Virginia and the people who love living there. Unfortunately, his tale is marred by an overwrought prose style. Nonetheless, if readers can overlook the writing style (and that's a big if), the story might appeal not only to the author's fans but also to readers of coming-of-age fiction. Brad Hooper


Kirkus Review

A best-selling thriller author turns to down-home melodrama—with mixed results at best. Louisa May Cardinal (Lou) is only 12 when she and her brother Oz survive a car crash that kills their beloved father and leaves their mother Amanda mute and partially paralyzed. Kindly Great-grandmother Louisa insists that all three come back to the Appalachian homestead that has sheltered so many generations of their poor but honest clan—and they do, having nowhere else to go. The children, who grew up in New York, are bewildered by the strangeness of it all, while a family friend and lawyer, Cotton Longfellow, helps out whenever he can. He patiently reads aloud to the barely responsive Amanda and explains country customs to Lou and Oz. But soon the venerable Louisa suffers a devastating stroke—just as a local schemer comes up with a plot to sell her land to the powerful coal company that has ravaged the beauty of the mountains and left its supposed beneficiaries with nothing but black lung disease, crippling debt, and the certainty of early death. The saintly Cotton battles in court on Louisa’s behalf, but the jury finds for the coal company since the stricken matriarch can’t speak in order to tell her side of the story. All seems lost with Louisa’s death, but—with a snap of the fingers—the silent Amanda springs back into full consciousness and the villains are foiled. Political thrillers may be his strength, but Baldacci (Saving Faith, 1999, etc.) here is somewhere between middling and graceless. Drawing on his own rural Virginia heritage, he attempts various styles—backwoods dialect, homespun philosophizing, small-town courtroom theatrics—but his tin ear for dialogue and cloudy eye for metaphor stand in the way of success. Well-meant but not very well-written family saga.


Library Journal Review

Baldacci (Total Control) turns from political thrillers to historical fiction in this affecting novel whose richly textured setting of southwestern Virginia in the 1940s draws on the reminiscences of his mother and grandmother. After a car accident kills their father and leaves their mother unresponsive, 12-year-old Lou Cardinal and her younger brother, Oz, go to live with their great-grandmother Louisa. Wrestling a living from the mountain farm is hard work, but slowly a love for the mountains seeps into Lou's being. The novel's villains are corporations that plunder the mountains' coal and lumber resources before seeking profits elsewhere. Louisa's refusal to sell her land pits her against her impoverished neighbors as well as a powerful company. Defended by a local lawyer and family friend, her case appears hopeless. The denouement may be too tidy, but readers won't object. Whether Baldacci's fans will enjoy this change of pace remains to be seen, but readers of historical fiction will welcome his debut in the genre. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/15/00.]DKathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

#1 New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci has always delivered great stories, authentic characters, and thought-provoking ideas since his powerful debut novel, Absolute Power. Now this versatile writer movingly evokes rural America as he makes us believe in the great and little miracles that can change lives--or save them.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. Suddenly Lou finds herself coming of age in a new landscape, making her first true friend, and experiencing adventures tragic, comic, and audacious. When a dark, destructive force encroaches on her new home, her struggle will play out in a crowded Virginia courtroom?and determine the future of two children, an entire town, and the mountains they love. Excerpted from Wish You Well by David Baldacci All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.