West Australian author, Monique Mulligan, is a wife, mother, successful children’s author, former publisher, newspaper and magazine editor, children’s curriculum writer and short romance writer. Monique has had a successful and varied career but her burning desire has always been to publish a novel. This September her dream has come true with the release of her heartwarming novel, Wherever You Go, which has been published by Pilyara Press. This debut novel, the first in a series, launches here in Australia on September 18. She Society were lucky enough to receive an advanced reader copy for review.
Amy and Matt Bennet are a loving couple who have experienced a life – shattering tragedy which threatens to tear apart their marriage. Desperate to save their love, they move to the country town of Blackwood to start afresh where no one knows them. Yet problems have a habit of following wherever you go and even in their newly renovated , neat as a pin cottage and with a new job for Matt, the pair are floundering.
Amy turns to what she knows best – cooking. She opens a regional café showcasing the best seasonal produce and forms the Around the World Supper Club, serving mouth watering themed feasts to new friends and neighbours. As her passion for food returns, she finds success and a place for herself in Blackwood. But when a Pandora’s Box of shame and blame is unlocked, Matt gives Amy an ultimatum that takes their marriage to the brink.
You will fall in love with this richly drawn couple and be willing their marriage to succeed in spite of their heartache. You will also come to love the quirky inhabitants of Blackwood, many of whom become friends and confidantes to the initially reticent pair. I enjoyed meeting next door neighbour Irene who looks after her precocious but loveable great granddaughter, Ashleigh. Ashleigh worms her way into Amy’s house and heart with surprising insight and charm. The regulars to the Supper Club will disarm and surprise you.
Monique Mulligan has written a heartwarming tale to make you laugh, cry and gasp in surprise. She takes her readers on an emotional journey and it was such an interesting premise to begin with a couple in trouble. As a reader it kept you wondering- Will they or won’t they make it?
Amy’s character is multi- layered and it is her struggle that initially keeps you reading. Matt is her rock, stoic and patient, but as time goes on even he must ask, “ What about my feelings and my dreams? “ You will be wondering what you would do and how you would handle events throughout the story. It makes for an emotional and compassionate journey and ultimately this novel is a story of healing, friendship and learning to live again.
I loved the descriptions of food smattered throughout the book and you will find yourself salivating over the café’s baked goodies and the ingenious and mouth watering menus Amy devises for the Around the World Supper Club.This story takes you travelling around the world through food ; to Morocco, Italy, Vietnam, Greece and more. ( I am already planning my own themed feast.)
It is also through food that Amy shows her love and kindness. It helps to banish even her darkest moods and provides comfort and solace. It is clear that Monique’s own love of cooking shines throughout the story and she has kindly included several recipes in the back of the book.
Monique Mulligan’s love for travel, cooking, community, gardening and nature peppers the story and I can’t help but think there is a little of her to be found in the character of Amy. Wherever You Go is the first tome in Monique’s Around the World Supper Club series and she has certainly whetted my appetite for more. I found myself immersed in the town of Blackwood and it’s inhabitants and didn’t want this lovely story to end.
Monique Mulligan has filled her story with warmth, empathy and heart and I know this beautifully written debut novel will appeal to all those looking for an escape from the woes of 2020. You can purchase a copy of Wherever You Go from Pilyara Press, through online stores or preorder a signed copy from Monique’s website. A little gem from a brand new voice in Australian contemporary writing!
Freelance writer, wife and mother of three sons, occasional supply teacher and aspiring romance author, Michelle Beesley can be most often found in a coffee shop chatting with friends or beside a rugby field cheering on her favourite teams.
Michelle is a prolific—albeit reluctant—traveller, keen walker, bookworm and yoga enthusiast who loves anything pink or sparkly (including champagne!).