See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt – book review


When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden – thirty two years old and still living at home – immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime.

Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie’s unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie’s uncle to take care of a problem.

This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America.

Haunting, gripping and gorgeously written, SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE by Sarah Schmidt is a re-imagining of the unsolved American true crime case of the Lizzie Borden murders, for fans of BURIAL RITES and MAKING A MURDERER.
‘Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away’ Paula Hawkins

Out May 2nd 2017

More about Lizzie Borden via Wikipedia – buy online and support your local bookstore – £10.65 hardback pre-order

Amazon UK  £6.49  Kindle Edition

Lizzie Borden took an axe

And gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

She gave her father forty-one.

I do love the books I read to be a little out of the ordinary – in subject matter or writing style – and this book certainly fits into that ‘out there’ category !!  You might remember the story as more of a skipping rope song than just a grissly murder, and I have to say that I knew very little of the Bordens’ or the events of that night, but since finishing this wonderfully dark book then I’ve been obsessed with reading all I can about that event and those involved!

It is an astonishing debut as I found that the author tells the story in a really compelling way.  Taking it in turns with each chapter to share the viewpoint of the main protagonists, and that really built up the backstory and the present so well.  There is very little empathy to be had with many of the characters but there are little glimpses into their lives that shows you how they had seemingly suffered that you find yourself warming, only a little!, to their situation.  It shows life in a very unhappy family and just how resentment, hatred and tension builds up and festers within people, until they reach a tipping point and then……

The story centres around events leading up to and that night in question in 1892 when Lizzies’ father and stepmother were brutally murdered, and we follow the plot via the viewpoints of four different characters, the main ones being Lizzy and her sister Emma.  I found the story from Bridget, the housekeeper, a fascinating one too!  And their stories are enthralling and captivating with a very dark edge that just keeps you turning the pages wanting more details – or maybe that’s just my twisted side showing itself again!

I’d highly recommend this to those of you looking for something different from a read and one that allows you to peek behind the net curtains as to the events that led up to such an awful crime.

Thank you to Georgina Moore, Publicity Books and Tinder Press for the advanced copy in return for a fair and honest review!


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