October 9, 2008

Wish You Well, by David Baldacci

David Baldacci is known for his thrillers, so I was quite surprised when my mom showed me this book that she had picked up at our used book store. It is definitely not a thriller; rather, it is a poignant coming-of-age novel that takes place in the rural Shenandoah Mountains of Virginia.

Wish You Well takes place in the early 1940's and tells the story of 12-year old Lou (Louise) and her 7-year old brother. After their father dies in a car accident that leaves their mother in a catatonic state, they are sent to live with their paternal great-grandmother Louise and her African-American farmhand Eugene. At first, Lou arrives with a chip on her shoulder, and her brother arrives with the hope and dream that their mother will awaken from her coma. But that soon wears off as the children experience the hard life their great-grandmother has, literally relying on the mountain for everything they need for survival.

Along the way they meet a few friends. A boy around their age named Diamond and his dog Jeb, a lawyer named Cotton

Their simple life is shattered, however, when the coal mines shut down and a natural gas company comes through, offering to buy up all the farmland so that they can build a refinery. When their great-grandmother passes away after a stroke, it is up to the children, to take up the fight where their grandmother left off.

I really enjoyed this novel. It was beautifully written and filled with wonderful characters. You could see the mountains, smell the earth, and taste the food Louise cooked in her cast-iron skillets over her stove. I especially enjoyed reading it since it took place in my own back yard, so to speak.

Some parts of the novel were predictable, but overall a very good book to read.

1 comment:

  1. I have read a couple of his thrillers but this one sounds good too.


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