Wish You Well

Most of the time, I read books that provide an escape from the ordinary, everyday.  Occasionally though, I select a book that is meant to be familiar, and that’s the case with David Baldacci’s Wish You Well. The book chronicles the story of two children in the 1930’s who due to a family tragedy are sent to live with their great-grandmother in Southwest Virginia.  The location piqued my interest, particularly after my adopted hometown newspaper ran a story about how Marion was one of several towns under consideration for the movie setting.

The opening pages of the novel set the scene of a happy family, two children and their parents in a car, the whole world in front of them.  But after the accident, the story is confined to a few fictional small towns in Southwest Virginia, each linked by car, by horse, or by foot, with veins of coal running through the mountainside.  The pacing matches the children’s longing to grow up, but never seems to get there fast enough, and the overall plot takes a page from my favorite novel set in the same time, To Kill A Mockingbird.  The children gain a quirky friend; they face scorn in the town; someone dies; and a court case takes center stage.  All the while, they learn that it’s the character of the people in the town that matter.

I’m excited to see how one familiar town in Southwest Virginia takes a step back in history and transforms itself through the pages of Baldacci’s story.

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