The cover immediately drew me to this book—a great Aussie surfing tale with an attractive lead character… But with an author name as intriguing sounding as Michel Vimal du Monteil I should have known the book would be so much more, and it is. Where There is a Will explores relationships: the bonds that link us, and those that disrupt us.
From the moment a man disappears surfing a cyclonic swell we’re introduced to his partner Jill, and their large assortment of godchildren. The story centres on the value of friendship, people’s true colours and morality, the complex events that make up a person’s life span, and how those moments in time touch others. The story is pacey and visual.
I grew up in Redcliffe near Brisbane in Queensland Australia. It’s nestled on the Pacific Ocean, but Moreton and Stradbroke Islands shield it from the wide-open seas, meaning no glorious surf along the coastline of my home town. The stunning surfing landscapes in Where There is a Will are a strength in the novel. I could smell the mix of ocean and sand as waves pummel the shoreline.
Another strength of the novel is the importance of family rituals, which can be as simple as dining together with everyone chipping in to help. Those moments can bring people together and in this beautiful book they are spotlighted.
But then the author throws a curveball: as much as we may want to bring people together, what happens when individual moralities in a group environment are tested?
The author’s story-telling is compelling, and the characters so intriguing that I am left wishing I got to know them even better. Where There is a Will was a day-long read for me. Under 80,000 words is the magic number for publishers taking a chance on debut authors. I hope to see more from this author, and these characters. Sandra in particular… she’s got me intrigued.
The author’s love of Australia is evident in his writing. I was pleased to hear that up-and-coming design talent is also on display with this release. The cover is designed by Ellen Milligan, a Queensland University of Technology student who interned at Hawkeye Publishing during the final year of her Creative Industries degree.
Congratulations to both Michel and Ellen – I give 5 stars to each.
Compelling. Thought-provoking. Subtle. Beautiful. Fast-paced.
You can find this magnificent book at all good bookstores and libraries, or you can purchase directly from Hawkeye here.
More information about Michel Vimal du Monteil here.
Additional review available here.