Review of Lament by Caitie Leigh

The Kelly tale that could have been…

Front cover of Lament by Nicole Kelly.
Photo credit: Matthew Deller, and reprinted courtesy of

‘If it all goes to plan, today could be the day that changes history.’

Lament is the gritty, fictional retelling of the infamous historical figure, Ned Kelly, with a unique twist to the events we are all familiar with. Penned by Nicole Kelly, her story picks up where Ned and his gang are preparing to ambush the train at Glenrowan.

Where once he may have been perceived as a murderous villain, the author has flipped the tale of Ned Kelly on its head and turned it into something truly amazing and unique. Full of bittersweet moments it shines a new light on the bushranger. Lament is like an epic rollercoaster – filled with twists and turns of our own feelings as we follow Kelly on his journey.

‘I want a life and I want freedom.’

As an emerging writer myself, I found Lament an absorbing take on a figure in history who we’ve all learnt or heard about at some point in our lives. Now Lament isn’t something I would normally read, but I am ever so glad that I had the opportunity. I loved how easy Nicole Kelly made it for me to fall in love with Ned Kelly – someone who was identified as both a murderous villain and Australia’s Robin Hood. To see the wheels turn in the bushranger’s head as he tried to make sense of what he thought was right and justified pulled me right into the story of the entire gang.

‘Hope is not all lost yet.’

Lament is clever, wicked, action-packed, thought provoking and satisfying. I highly recommend to all. This book took me on a journey packed with emotions and delightfully bittersweet moments where I couldn’t help but root for the success of Ned Kelly. If you want a story that connects you mind, body and soul then this is a definite read.

And what have I learned by reviewing Lament as part of my final year university internship? – the wonderful experience of broadening knowledge by reading outside our usual genres. A whole new world awaits.

‘An epic story that connects you mind, body and soul. Highly recommended’… Catie Leigh.

Caitie Leigh is an aspiring writer in her third and final year at QUT in Creative Industries. She is currently writing her first manuscript, and hopes to live up to the authors that have inspired her over the years. Her inspiration comes from the people who matter in her life and from her three favourite book series: The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer, Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine and Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard.

A gifted writer, Nicole Kelly author of Lament won a short story competition with Stringybark Stories. And her original manuscript for Lament shortlisted in the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Development Prize 2020.

Lament is available for purchase online at Hawkeye Books, and at all good book stores and libraries.

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