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Carly Nugent Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Soft Belly Days (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dream Girl (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Peacock Detectives (2018) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Carly Nugent
Carly Nugent is an Australian mystery writer best known her debut novel, The Peacock Detective. She has also written short stories that are featured in various publications, including Award Winning Australian Writing and the Bellevue Literary Review. The prize-winning author lives in Bright, Australia.

The Peacock Detectives
The Peacock Detectives features Cassie Anderson, an eleven-year-old who is naturally curious. When the peacocks that live across the street go missing, Cassie writes a story about them. Virginia and William Shakespeare are ornamental peacocks, and this is not the first time they have gone missing. As she is piecing the details, the young girl also writes about her family. It is through her notes that she notes a few things about her family. Just what is going on in this family?

Cassie’s best friend Jonas is helping her find the peacocks. When things at home start to distract Cassie, he helps bring focus to the search. Cassie cannot ignore the fact that her mum is now busier than ever. She cooks strange dishes every night. She has also noted that her elder sister Diana is only taking vegetarian meals, and she has even started meditating. Cassie’s Grandpa has also been complaining of tiredness a lot to the extent that he no longer goes to church. To make things even worse, Cassie’s father has been acting all strange, and he is now coming home with little boxes he puts in the cupboards.
Cassie believes that she and Jonas are a great team. According to her, she comes with the stories while Jonas fills in the scientific details. Cassie thinks of herself as a writer with a story to tell. Her Dad, who also happens to be an English teacher, urges her to take notes of dialogues and events when coming up with a theme. Cassie is surprised when the details she notes down about her family leave her with more questions than answers.
This book comes with an intriguing cast. On the one hand are ordinary characters who are faced with the challenges most of us encounter daily. There is also the quirky characters. Cassie is a lovely character, and you get to see her mature in the course of the story. You will find her childish and naïve at times, while at other times, she will be incredibly perceptive.

This story is told in Cassie’s voice, which feels authentic. It is interesting how this young girl tries to make sense of the puzzles concerning her family. What started as a search for the lost peacocks turn into an adventure that comes with puzzling revelations. The author’s writing is age-appropriate, and it helps that the story also comes with illustrations.

The Peacock Detectives is a perfect read for middle graders. Aside from being entertaining, the book offers some tips to aspiring writers. The story is both warm and engaging and will capture the young minds from the start. Some of the themes highlighted here are adoption, mental illness, terminal illness, and marriage. The author also highlights some elements of bullying and friendship all done in a way the young ones can understand.

Soft Belly Days
Soft Belly Days is an adaptation of a screenplay by the same name. The book tells the story of Rachel Tangye, a forty-eight-year-old woman who is going through a rough patch. Rachel is trying to come to terms with the death of her father. As she walks across the Carbis Bay beach, memories of her childhood haunt her. The beach reminds her of the three wishes she made many years ago. One was to see God, the other want for a baby sister, and lastly, Rachel wished they would move houses. The fantastic thing is that in that same year, all her wishes come true.

To the then eight-year-old girl, God revealed Himself in the form of white light. After seeing the white shaft, the young girl was convinced that miracles do happen. The birth of her sister later that year and her parents moving the family to a new house more that sealed this belief. As these memories flash through her mind, Rachel can’t help but think about Abigail Daylight.

Abigail was a bag lady that Rachel also considered a witch. Rachel’s brother often taunted her using Abigail’s name. When Abigail turns up just in time to save Rachel from drowning, the young girl is convinced that the witch has already taken her heart. For a moment, Rachel wishes Abigail dead, and less than two years later, she dies of asphyxiation. For a while, Racheal feels guilty about Abigail’s death, and she is convinced there will be consequences to pay in the future. She has to pay for wishing Abigail dead.

When Rachel witnesses her father’s death, she remembers something that happened when she was just sixteen. A fight with her sister Rebecca turns tragic when Rachel pushes her over a barbed wire only for it to snap. Rebecca plummets to her death, and this traumatic experience triggers amnesia in Rachel. The day her father dies, memories of Rebecca’s death come back strongly, and Rachel is afraid that she turned out to be just like Abigail.
The book reveals that both of Rachel’s parents knew intuitively that she was responsible for Rebecca’s death. Even though they never admitted this to each other, they kept on hoping that Rachel would realize and accept the truth. Rachel’s father agonizes with these thoughts until the day he dies.
Soft Belly Days is a tale of toxic love, regret, and everything in between. Nugent recounts this story in the most vivid way of capturing you right from the first page. Are you curious to find out what happens to Rachel now that the memories of the past have come back flooding? Get this book to find out this and much more. The narration here is flawless, and the story is intriguing. Be ready to be so captivated that you will have a hard time putting this book down until you have read it to the end. The author is a great storyteller, and his skills are evident in this fascinating piece.

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