Bookstagrammers rave about Lament

Front cover: Lament

After months and years spent writing, authors love nothing more than talking about their labour of love, their finally printed novel, especially to book lovers and bookstagrammers.

This certainly was the case for Nicole Kelly, author of Lament, when she had the chance to chat with two members of the Southcoast Bookclub.

With two popular Instagram, bookstagrammers like @unfoldededges and @halfdesertedstreets in the bookclub, these reviews had some really great insights to share about Lament.

Another great review by Danielle @halfdesertedstreets

Lament by Nicole Kelly is a departure for me. I’ve never been particularly interested in the Ned Kelly legend, perhaps because — as a 100% dyed in the wool first born rule follower — I just didn’t *get* his passionate, rebellious nature.

What a surprise, then, to so thoroughly enjoy this story and be captivated by a fictionalised imagining of what might have been.

It’s an introspective, at times philosophical tale told from the infamous bushranger’s point of view, but it begins at the point where the usual stories end and asks instead: what would have happened if the ambush of the train near Glenrowan was a success — if such a grisly enterprise could have been called a success? What would have come next for Ned and the rest of the Kelly gang?

Painting a new picture of Ned

Lament offers Kelly a gleam of hope, a chance for him to try to set the story straight, have his message heard and understood.

Nicole Kelly (no relation, alas, just a lovely coincidence) paints a sympathetic picture of Kelly as gentle and loyal, less a rebel and more a dreamer and idealist, bound by a sense of duty to pursue what he believes is true justice.

His voice is vulnerable and occasionally wracked with uncertainty as he second-guesses his choices and wonders at the repercussions of his actions for those he loves. 

The story trundles along with a good sense of action, punctuated by flashbacks that reveal Ned’s motives and the fears he carries.

I particularly enjoyed the intelligent, lively female characters, their portrayals sending me running to Google to find out more. And the omnipresent shadow of the noose, which pursues the Kelly gang on its quest, builds a sense of haunting fate and a constant question: in this reimagined narrative, will the boys outrun their deaths? ✨

Thank you to @hawkeyepublishing for sending this review copy my way.

Here’s what Peta from @unfoldededges had to say:

Thank you to @hawkeyepublishing for gifting me with this incredible novel and to @ruralvicwriter (Nicole Kelly) for writing it. 

This was one very enthralling historical fiction!!!I enjoyed it more knowing it was part fiction, part facts! 

‘Lament’, is a very fast-paced story full of action and excitement, making it a very easy read.

It does begin with the journey of Ned Kelly arriving in Glenrowan, planning on derailing the Police Special train travelling from Benalla, robbery, anarchy, right up until the incident at the Glenrowan Inn. But then Nicole has a little literary freedom, giving it a slight twist, and begins a more fiction telling of the story, right until the end. 

I’ve always read stories of Ned Kelly’s ‘boy hood’ and loyalty to his bush rangers, but it was refreshing to read a more human side of Ned. The women play strong roles in Nicole Kelly’s version of the  story, even reimagining Ettie and the relationship she shares with Ned. She also explores the emotional attachment Ned has to his mother, making it more relatable for female readers. 

Even though it is part fact and part fiction, I felt I got to understand a different side of Ned rather than the rebel that we learn about in school. This side is much softer, amore expressive and human, a side I’m sure would have which existed and he’d would want to be remembered by

The two reviewers also met with Nicole to discuss not only Lament, but the story behind creating the story.

We were so lucky to have had an insightful discussion with @ruralvicwriter (Nicole Kelly) about her most recent book ‘Lament’. Nicole Kelly is a primary school teacher who grew up in the town of Glenrowan. It took her 7 years to write, edit and publish her story of Ned which she began on maternity leave. 

It was so interesting learning about how Nicole incorporated a vignette style of writing which worked better for her focusing on the moments of the story. She also succeeded in writing a factual story with an extra twist. 

Where fiction meets the truth

We learnt that some of the dialogue used at the end of the book in the courtroom was the actual dialogue between Ned and the judge according to the transcript. It was only minimally paraphrased for the story. 

The topics of conversation were endless between us. We loved hearing about the people and relatives that Nicole had met on her journey, about the planning and extensive research that’s involved in writing a book and how all this influenced her main themes and motivations that she wanted to portray to her audience.

We loved how Nicole presented various urban myths (which people still don’t know the answer to today).

Plus, we absolutely adored how Nicole gave the females life and existence in Ned’s story. Although they were secondary characters, we were still able to relate and we wanted to learn more about Ettie and Kate.

To finish it off, we asked her for 5 book recommendations. Her 5 historical fictions are;
1. The Foundling by Stacey Halls
2. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
3. The Good People by Hannah Kent
4. The light between oceans by M.L Stedman
5. Dictionary of Lost words by Pip Williams

We tried to convince Nicole to write a prequel to the story of ‘Lament’ following Little Ned, but she is working on new material currently, (another historical fiction). EXCITED!

If you’d like Nicole or any of our Hawkeye authors to appear at your next bookclub or event, contact us here. You just never know who might be in your neck of the woods.

Lament author, Nicole Kelly

Discover why these reviewers loved Lament. You can buy your own copy here.

Read more Lament reviews here.

Learn more about the talented Nicole Kelly here.

You can also find Nicole on Instagram and Twitter @ruralvicwriter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.