BOOK CLUB: Wherever You Go

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Some of you may be already familiar with Monique Mulligan through her children’s picture books published through Serenity Press including “Fergus the Farting Dragon” and “Alexandra Rose and Her Icy Cold Toes” (you may have seen being read by the Duchess of York Sarah Ferguson on Storytime with Fergie and Friends). 

Monique has also published romance novelettes through Serenity Press.  Recently she has joined independent publishing company Pilyara Press and Wherever You Go is her first full-length novel to be published through them.

How do you go on when you have lost everything when the “good” news is that you are alive and both your legs and pelvis are broken, and the doctor isn’t sure you’ll ever be able to have children? And the bad news, the bad news is unbearable, it tears you apart, every minute of every day.

Three years after the car crash in Germany that forever changed Amy’s life, she and husband Matt are moving to Blackwood, Western Australia. Matt is looking for a new life, Amy just wants to escape her old one.  

Three years since she woke from the coma, and Matt had to deliver the news that had turned his blood to ice, three years of learning to walk again, the agony of having to prove the accident was not her fault, her name and face splashed all over the papers, and Pandora, her beloved four-year-old daughter, one minute she was asleep in the back seat of the car, and the next minute in a cacophony of screeching tires and burning rubber, she was gone.

Three years of crumbling marriage as Amy withdraws into herself, three years of Matt trying to support Amy while holding his own grief inside.  Will a tree change save their marriage? Matt has done everything he can to reignite Amy’s love of cooking, the new house has a pantry stocked with everything a chef could possibly want or need, an amazing chef’s kitchen and there’s a small cafe that’s up for sale in Blackwood that would be just perfect; if only Amy could see that it could help her to move on.

Then there’s the little girl next door to their new home, Ashlee, she’s about the same age as Pandora. Matt hadn’t really been conscious of her when they bought the house.  She turned up on their first night in the new house while Matt was out picking up some food for dinner, asking for a glass of Milo!  

Ashlee has her own problems, she lives with her mum Bonnie and Great-Grandmother Irene (Reenie) but lately Bonnie has been spending a lot of time with her boyfriend Jake, who wants Bonnie to move away with him (he doesn’t seem quite so interested in having Ashlee move with them).  

Ashlee seems to sense that Amy is missing something, and attaches herself to Amy as only a small child can. Can Ashlee’s childhood innocence help Amy to heal, and reconnect with her husband?

Slowly Amy starts to enter into life in Blackwood, connecting with a few people, creating “around the world” suppers, finally starting to relax a little. Until an unexpected event causes her life to come crashing back down, triggering flashbacks to the accident.

Meanwhile, Matt finds himself having to deal with his own emotions and confusion. 

Will this be the final straw that tears them apart? Or can they find their way through to a future together?

Mulligan handles this topic with sensitivity and realism, the impact of a child’s death can often be the catalyst that tears relationships apart as each parent blames themselves for what has occurred, and confusion occurs as each tries to deal with their grief in their own way. 

In Wherever You Go, Matt has (as so often men do) bottled up his feelings to try and support Amy, but nothing he tries to do seems to help, Amy is not the person she was before the accident.  Amy wants to heal, but doesn’t know how to, she wants to respond to Matt, but her fear won’t let her, she doesn’t understand how Matt can go on functioning, apparently as normal, when she can’t because things are no longer normal.

Wherever You Go is a beautifully written novel that showcases Mulligan’s coming of age as a novelist.  It will tear at your heartstrings, while paradoxically providing you with amazing recipes to try and enjoy! I recommend having a box of tissues on hand when reading.

Definitely a 5 star read.

ISBN: 978-0-6483089-1-1 / Copy courtesy of: Monique Mulligan and Pilyara Press

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Wherever You Go by Monique Mulligan. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

11 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Wherever You Go

  1. I read an e-copy of ‘Wherever you Go’ and could not put my iPad down!
    This was one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, I highly recommend it.

    Without giving too much away, it is the story of Amy and Matt and their move to a country town in the hope of repairing their relationship after a tragedy in their lives.
    Each chapter is told from a different characters perspective so you feel like you really get to know them.
    Amy is a Chef but has lost her passion until she buys a cafe in town and things start to change in hers and Matts lives. She has a big secret that weighs her down. Matt is an ever supportive husband, however he has his own secrets.
    Their neighbour’s lives are also woven into their story and the characters are all relatable or feel like real people.
    The book is beautifully written and addresses heart break, love and loss.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Monique Milligan. I will be keeping my eye out for any other novels written by Monique Milligan!

  2. I completely agree with Beck, this is one of the best books I have read! Thank you Monique Mulligan and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read this! I will definitely be buying a hard copy for my bookshelf!

  3. I wish the blurb or cover of this book had made it clear that the grief the central characters are dealing with centres on the loss of a child. It would have enabled me to choose to read the novel at an appropriate time. Readers of this review, therefore, need to know that it will touch on the death of a young child. I’m aware how sensitive this can be at times.

    Matt and Amy have moved to relatively small Blackwood for a new start. They lost their young daughter in a car accident that also horribly injured Amy. They need to come to terms with that grief, work on their weakened marriage, and escape the unwanted notoriety that the accident brought to them. “Wherever You Go” focuses largely on these emotional journeys.

    Mulligan has a good theoretical understanding of grief, but I didn’t feel that it was strongly conveyed emotionally. However, I may have been subconsciously distancing myself from a triggering subject.
    Mulligan is good at conveying multiple viewpoints; Matt, Amy, and their neighbour Irene are all portrayed vividly and in ways that let us understand each of them. When they’re in conflict, it’s not always because one is right and one is wrong. Mulligan is particularly good at letting readers come to an understanding of each.

    I did feel that perhaps some of the minor characters were a little stereotypical. However, Mulligan does make an effort to give them some dimension, so this is probably in part a simple practical factor: there’s only so much room in any novel.

    Perhaps the other flaw with this novel is that at times the moral is just a little bit too obvious, and Mulligan does tend to make her point very explicitly. This didn’t really appeal to me, but other readers may not be as bothered by it.

    Overall, this was a well written story that accurately depicted conflict in a relationship and the process of resolving some of that conflict. Although also intended as an exploration of grief, I’m not sure it was as successful on that front. However, as noted, a better awareness of the subject matter might have led me to read it on a different day, and I might have had a different reaction as a result. It’s readable and generally engaging. I didn’t exactly enjoy it – as you can tell, this subject matter can be triggering for me – but I did appreciate it. Other readers may enjoy it more.

  4. Wherever you go by Monique Mulligan is a truly confronting story of Amy and Matt, a young couple that relocate to Blackwood as they face serious marriage issues. They have experienced a devastating loss and move to start anew though neither has properly dealt with their grief. Amy is a chef and opens a cafe in Blackwood as one step in moving on with their lives. The seachange causes the couples troubles to come to a head. The novel is a first for Mulligan who tackles several heavy topics while also referencing many of the different foods Amy makes and shares, tantilising the readers tastebuds just with the descriptions.

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace, Monique Mulligan and Pilyara Press for the opportunity to read this first novel of Mulligans.

    I especially loved the addition of the recipes at the end!

  5. I didn’t get any sleep the night I started this, as I read this fabulous book from cover to cover!.
    A powerful story of love, grief, fear, abandonment, trying to move on, and growing from all of those experiences, to enable love to win out, and new beginnings.
    Beautifully written with such raw emotion at the loss of a child. The struggles the couple go through to find their way out of their grief, with help from a new community, over delicious food.
    The narrative around the food had you almost tasting it as the descriptions of it’s ingredients, and humble beginnings, bounced from the pages.
    I absolutely loved everything about this story. I smiled at how real the characters are. I laughed at Frank. I laughed at the innocence of a child and her ‘Henry’, and I cried over the unbearable pain Amy and Matt fought so hard to get through, how they not only lost their child,, but in the process of their grief, nearly lost each other.
    Highly recommended read!

  6. Thanks for the opportunity to read this e-book – I couldn’t put it down!,

    It was beautifully written to really encompass and reveal the true feelings of both partners in this story. I loved how the story intertwined Matt and Amy into their community, but also held them apart and kept their grief separate, yet interfering and included in their everyday life.

    I got totally engrossed in the characters second guessing where things may lead to.
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Monique Mulligan for the chance to read and enjoy this e-book.

  7. Thank you to Monique Mulligan and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

    Wherever You Go is a heartfelt story of love, loss and grief. Amy and Matt have suffered an unbearable loss and both have different ways of coping and living afterwards. Throughout the story we see others who have had similar losses and continued to move forward in different ways. These insights help Amy and Matt to work through their own grief and try to help them find their way back to each other.

    This is a well written story. I look forward to reading more from the author in the future.

  8. I loved this book, I found it a little hard to get into at the start, but quickly found it became hard to put down.

    I really enjoyed and felt for the main characters Amy and Matt, as the author took you through their grief. I also really like that she involved others within the community in the story.

    I look forward to any future novels by Monique.

    Thank you to Monique Mulligan and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read this book.

  9. Thank you to Monique Mulligan and Beauty & Lace for the opportunity to read ‘Wherever You Go” It is a touching story of love and loss. Beautifully written with the characters telling their version of the story. I stayed reading it long after my allotted reading time.
    The subect being the death of a young child in a car accident, may be too confronting for some.
    I think Mulligan did an excellent job of portraying grief and how it impacts differently on different people.
    I would highly reccomend this and have suggested it for our book group

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