Wish You Well
Publication Date: April 2007
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It is 1940 and a tragedy sends two young children, Lou and Oz, along with their invalid mother, from New York City to the rugged mountains of Southwestern Virginia to live with their great-grandmother. The portraits of the land and its people are described with an extraordinary eye for detail as the story flows through swells of prejudice, innocence, greed, and faith, and the question of whether one can ever really wish another well.
Baldacci is known for his thrillers, but after WISH YOU WELL the real mystery is why he doesn't write more stories like it. He shows strong insight into the minds of children by telling the story of 12-year-old Lou and her 7-year-old brother, Oz, who are learning to live with their great-grandmother in Virginia after the death of their father. Norma Lana brings so much vigor to the story the listener will be tempted to stand up and cheer, or reach for a tissue. This is one of those performances that make us late for work. Lana speaks in the mountain tongue so well that there's no question of its authenticity. There's a lot of Baldacci in the story--he comes from the same mountains-- and it shows in the sheer joy of the writing. M.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine [Published: OCT/ NOV 07]
Lana reads with less of a mountain drawl than might be strictly true to life, but for the sake of most listeners' ability to understand, that's probably a good thing. She does make each of her main characters a distinct individual, an advatage not to be underestimated.