Summary and book reviews of Wish You Well by David Baldacci

Wish You Well

By David Baldacci

Wish You Well
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2000,
    416 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2001,
    484 pages.

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Book Summary

Whether it is the story of a young woman on the run in The Winner or a violent intrigue convulsing Washington, D.C., in Saving Faith, David Baldacci has delivered great stories, authentic characters, and thought-provoking ideas since he burst on the literary scene with Absolute Power. Now this versatile writer sets his sights on a new field of fiction.

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.

Chapter One

THE AIR WAS MOIST, THE COMING RAIN telegraphed by plump, gray clouds, and the blue sky fast fading. The 1936 four-door Lincoln Zephyr sedan moved down the winding road at a decent, if unhurried, pace. The car's interior was filled with the inviting aromas of warm sourdough bread, baked chicken, and peach and cinnamon pie from the picnic basket that sat so temptingly between the two children in the backseat.

Louisa Mae Cardinal, twelve years old, tall and rangy, her hair the color of sun-dappled straw and her eyes blue, was known simply as Lou. She was a pretty girl who would almost certainly grow into a beautiful woman. But Lou would fight tea parties, pigtails, and frilly dresses to the death. And somehow win. It was just her nature.

The notebook was open on her lap, and Lou was filling the blank pages with writings of importance to her, as a fisherman does his net. And from the girl's pleased look, she was landing fat cod with every pitch and catch. As...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
This guide is designed to enhance your reading experience of Wish You Well by David Baldacci. This compelling and touching tale of the human spirit, set in the southwest Virginia mountains, reveals the power of family, endurance, and triumph.

Southwest Virginia, 1940. Wish You Well is the story of Louisa Mae Cardinal, a precocious twelve-year-old girl living in the hectic New York City of1940 with her acclaimed but sadly underpaid writer father, her compassionate mother, and her timid young 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, ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews
People Magazine

A master storyteller

Publishers Weekly

Baldacci triumphs with his best novel yet...This novel has a huge heart--and millions of readers are going to love it.

Library Journal

Baldacci 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...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.

Reader Reviews
Rebecca

YA Baldacci
If you are a middle-schooler, then this a good story of triumph with insight into the hard times of mountain living. If you are a critical reader looking for something that is not predictable, trite, and sappy, this is not worth your time.

Killer37

wish you well
This book was awesome. I loved it, especially when they moved in with their grandmother, and the character Oz almost made me cry. Overall this book is amazing!

Sal

Great Book
It was a really good book. Fast paced, lots of unexpected events. The problem was, it was so sad.... :( Nearly cried with the deaths that happened. They shouldn't have happened. And I wish they never did.

broom

Diamond
I enjoyed the book

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