Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wish You Well” as Want to Read:
Blank 133x176
Wish You Well
David Baldacci
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wish You Well

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  17,481 Ratings  ·  2,030 Reviews
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
Published October 1st 2000 by Grand Central Publishing (first published September 30th 2000)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not a Baldacci fan...never read another of his books. But this is not characteristic of his legal thrillers. This is a beautiful story about 2 children learning what is really important in life...and it's NOT money. I've heard that in many places this is becoming required reading at the junior high/high school, level and it should be. It would be most impactful for this age. I loved it and will remember it long after I forget many of the other books I have read. I wish everyone would read t ...more
Jan 22, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 13, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Tricia
I laughed and I cried (mostly cried)...I would not typically read this type of book, but this story of hope and triumph of the human spirit had me hooked to the very end. It was well written; the characters were deep and engaging and the setting beautifully described.

This is the story of Louisa May (Lou) Cardinal; a precocious 12 year old from New York. Her father is a famous (albeit underpaid) writer and she has a caring mother and a younger brother named Oz. When the whole family is in a car a
Dec 27, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club, 2016
I really enjoyed this book. I loved being transported to another time and place. I loved the characters and the writing made me feel as if I was there.

"The place smelled of coffee, wood smoke, and baking fruit pies. Umbrellas for sale hung from the ceiling. There was a bench down one wall, and three swivel chrome barstools with padded green seats were bolted to the floor in front of a waist-high counter. Glass containers filled with candy rested on the display cabinets. There was a modest soda a
Shobhit Sharad
Apr 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: david-baldacci
There are a lot of books which make you feel things- sometimes happy, sad the other times, and much more. Then there are some books which grab you by the scruff, shake all emotions out of you and refill you with a new experience of things which you never felt before.

This is one of those books for me.

I won't dare to say this book is perfect. This is a story of a struggle, of how humanity works, of how you should live, of how you can improve, and I can go on listing things which the book very subt
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a complete departure for Baldacci and I really enjoyed it. He showed a completely different side of him and his writing skill were shine. I cried, and learned about the hardships of people living in the nountains of Virginia just before WWII, with no power and hard life farming. ENJOY
Jun 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really a touching story and a stark departure from his normal books. This tells of life in the mountains of Virginia and appreciation for the "simple" life.
Nov 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never read any other David Baldacci books, so I can't comment on how this is a departure from those plots, even though it's very obvious that it is.
The story itself is well-written, with two main children characters who are forced to grow up and learn to rely on each other after they are faced with tragedy. They move from the city to a rural town in Virginia, where they first meet their Great-Grandmother, the woman responsible for raising their father.
The story follows the two children, Lou
Aug 28, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
TLDR: David Baldacci read "To Kill A Mockingbird" and thought he could write the same book just as well. He was wrong.

“You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons.” –Gene Wilder, Blazing Saddles

Apropos of nothing, I’ve been thinking of Italian Western epics a lot lately, so I thought I’d do this review with a Sergio Leone flavor.

The Good: In truth, I enjoyed Wish You Well more than I thought I would
Barbara Seda
Nov 14, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is really a hard review for me to write mostly because those I know who have read it liked it and most of the reviews I have read loved it. I just don't understand WHY! I feel like I did not read the same book.

First, I think that it did not help that I read this book at the same time we were reading To Kill A Mockingbird. I do feel like this was a poor homage to To Kill A Mockingbird on some level -- two precocious kids, court room drama, evil protagonist. Sadly, David Baldacci is no Harper
Wish You Well.
This is a book that made me cry, and pulled at my heart, but at the same time made me smile and really appreciate what I have before I loose it. The emotion in this book was powerfully written and motivating. It’s about an everyday family, everyday people who loose everything, but slowly learn to live in their new world and cope to the emotional turmoil that has happened upon, a young brother and sister.
I’m glad that I was encouraged to read this book, with this book’s setting bei
Sep 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am going to make this one short and sweet. I have never read anything by David Baldacci before as the only books I saw by him seemed to be legal-type books which I don't read much of. But after seeing Wish You Well on the shelf at the local library, it sounded like a book I could not pass up.

Because I really didn't know what I was in for, the first chapter or so didn't have me convinced, but once I got to about the third chapter I was totally captivated!! This was such a beautiful story! I c
Jun 09, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: b-the-good
Not going to lie, I didn't really have high expectations for this book. Perhaps if I didn't it wouldn't have been as good as I thought it was. You know how that happens? You set yourself up for something really great and then end up being disappointed when it's not as good as you thought it was going to be? Well, whatever, with Wish You Well I was not disappointed.

The only problem with the book was that it was a little clichéd at times, not a big deal, but a little annoying. Most common cliché w
Wonderful book about a girl and her brother who get sent to her grandmothers in the 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, ...more
Jun 15, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Halfway through I thought I would have to put the book down forever (forever ever? yes. forever ever) because it felt like the book was taking a godly turn a.k.a a Milla-will-put-down-the-book-forever-ever turn, because I really don’t want to read about how God saves everything, because, yeah, I don’t do sci-fi, okaay? Anyhow…

The book is about a sister and brother who lose their parents in a car-wreck, and gets sent to live with their great-grandmother on a mountain.. Well, they lose their fathe
Feb 05, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is not your usual Baldacci, legal and crime writer. It's a story about two kids, 12-year old Lou and 7-year old Oz, who loose their father in a car accident in New York area, leaving their mother in a coma.
They move to their great-grandmother Louisa to live with at her Virginia Mountain farm. Quite another life, to get used to, and on top of that Louisa's farm is threatened by gas companies who try to take over her land.
Entertaining, easy to read, good feel of the times, culture and the mou
Nov 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: my UTA book club girls
This is a heart felt story about people, about family. Lou and her younger brother Oz find themselves alone as their father has passed away and their mother has entered a catatonic state. They head up the hills in Virginia to live on the mountain with their great grandmother Louisa, whom they have never met, but heard frequently about from their father's stories. Their experience there is filled with trials, opposition, danger, learning, growth, understanding, friendship, love, and faith. I grew ...more
Jun 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a sweet story about a couple of kids that are given more hard knocks than they deserve. I normally don’t like it when authors switch genres (see: James Patterson, Patricia Cornwell), but this was wonderful writing from Baldacci. The ending is a little sugary-sweet-fairy-tale-ish, but it’s forgivable.

I felt a little bit of an extra connection to this story because it is set where I live. I’m not quite in coal country, but I’m on the cusp of it. People around here hold on to their way of
Michael Dipietro
Dec 19, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Alright, I'm not going to be eloquent about it, but I HAVE to add my two cents because there are just too many glowing reviews of this book. It is so so sooooo cliche, every plot device comes straight out of made-for-TV movies, which several reviewers have commented. Makes me think of Umberto Eco's essay on Casablanca, "The Cliches are Having a Ball," because the whole thing is a mishmash of courtroom drama and wistful 'long-lost simple life' tropes. The ending is ridiculous. I think I have an e ...more
Feb 22, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing books is not my forte, so all I will say is that I enjoyed this one more than I had thought I would at first. The first couple of chapters I was, through tears of heartache, wondering what I had just gotten myself into. So, in order to calm my troubled heart, I read the end first. At least enough to enable me to keep reading. And I'm glad I did (keep reading and read the end first). It was a touching tale. It read very easily and was captivating - I stayed up until after 2am reading it ...more
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely, homespun and poignant tale of mountain folk and simpler times and ways. (Probably the kind that would survive and prosper in dystopian times). Well narrated (some done by the author). This isn't like authors usual story. Thoroughly enjoyable for any age and most genre-lovers. Highly recommended.
Majo's Library.
Baldacci, who wrote "The Camel Club" saga (the legal thriller) among other things, has a very interesting voice. I enjoyed this book and thought the characters were well-developed. The plot line was interesting, with lots and lots of emotional and physical baggage.
Asghar Abbas
Dec 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

A departure
and what a departure it was
a book about books, love of writing,
and family
facing everything as one
and standing together
Feb 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s a wishing well in David Baldacci’s novel, Wish You Well. There are children with deep wounds and wishes. There are adults worn down by care, worn out by pain, and worn to warmth by love. And there’s a Virginia landscape standing proud against the inroads worn by mankind. The world of the 1940s is very different from today of course, but the greeds, prejudices, loves and concerns of the characters in this book are as real today as they were then.

The author offers insights into backstories
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dawn Michelle
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ANYONE
This was a really good book! Not your typical David Baldacci book that is for sure.

"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
Mom (Tash)
Jul 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a surprise! David Baldacci has written a novel without a "killer-thriller" suspense story line! Though I have liked most of his other books I've read, Wish You Well was really a refreshing change. Baldacci stated, "Ironically, as a writer, I've spent the last twenty years or so hunting relentlessly for story material, and utterly failed to see a lumberyard within my own family (he is a native Virginian)...writing this novel was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life." It is about ...more
Scottsdale Public Library
I just finished re-reading "Wish You Well" by David Baldacci. It is even better than the first time I read it last year. In fact, this is one of the best books I have ever read. It is a story of Louisa (Lou) May Cardinal who lives in NYC with her brother Oz, and her parents. Her father is a writer, but he doesn't make much money from his books. He wants to go to California. There is an auto accident, and Lou’s father is killed, and her mother is in a coma. The family is sent to the mountains of ...more
May 28, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every summer the town I live in does a "one book--one community" thing where everyone that chooses to reads the same book and then has the option to go to discussion groups, etc., to talk about and often, to meet the author. David Baldacci is from VA and came to meet us! It was great--he is one of my favorite authors. The story is filled with imagery of the southwestern corner of Virginia--a very special and unique place. It also made me tired just reading sometimes...the hard work that was nece ...more
Eizzah Azman
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: must-read
I'm 14 and i love this is very interesting and sad at the same time. At first i though it was boring then i read it and it's very good.

A girl name Louisa Mae Cardinal (lou) and her brother Oscar Cardinal (oz) are on a car ride with their parents and suddenly they had a car accident. her father die and her mother is in a coma. They moved to their great grandmother house at Mountain Virginia with her mother. they had to fit themself into the current condition and Lou find it very difficul
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
What's The Name o...: 1950s coal mining era story [s] 2 30 Dec 22, 2013 05:12AM  
  • I'll Watch the Moon
  • The Girl from Charnelle
  • Critical Mass
  • The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come
  • She, Myself & I
  • By the Rivers of Babylon
  • Letters for Emily
  • The Good Journey
  • The Winner by David Baldacci Summary & Study Guide
  • Letters in the Jade Dragon Box
  • A Playdate With Death (A Mommy-Track Mystery #3)
  • Sarah's Quilt (Sarah Agnes Prine, #2)
  • The Ballad of Tom Dooley (Ballad, #9)
  • Seven Miracles That Saved America: Why They Matter and Why We Should Have Hope
  • Spandau Phoenix (World War Two #2)
  • Balance of Power (Kerry Kilcannon, #3)
  • The Ensign, November 2013
  • The Kingmaker (Sean Drummond, #3)
David Baldacci has been writing since childhood, when his mother gave him a lined notebook in which to write down his stories. (Much later, when David thanked her for being the spark that ignited his writing career, she revealed that she’d given him the notebook to keep him quiet, because “every mom needs a break now and then.”) He published his first novel, Absolute Power, in 1996; one year later ...more
More about David Baldacci...

Share This Book

“Most folks here got rules 'bout trespassing. Warning shot's fired right close to the head. Get they's attention. Next shot gets a lot more personal. Now I'm too old to waste time firing a warning shot.....” 11 likes
“As my father wrote, one's courage, hope, and spirit can be severely tried by the happenstance of life. But as I learned on this Virginia mountain, so long as one never loses faith, it is impossible to ever truly be alone.” 9 likes
More quotes…