Firstly I wish to thank Anne Cater and Tinder Press for inviting me on this Blog Tour for SEE WHAT I HAVE DONE by Sarah Schmidt
In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.
On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.
As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is a deep dark and very compelling read that stirred up extremely vivid images from the pages that I was reading. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, was a true event that occurred on 4th August 1892 and discovered by Andrew Borden’s youngest daughter Lizzie. In my younger days I skipped along with friends while we sang the song about this case. The whole thing was brutally violent and bizarre to say the least.
The events surrounding the case are told by four people, Lizzie and Emma, are spinster sisters and daughters of Andrew Borden, the housemaid Bridget and a stranger called Benjamin, a friend of the girls uncle John. This is not a household to be envied. It is cruel with a feel that it will never let its occupants leave. There is 9 years age difference between Emma and Lizzie, with Lizzie being in her early thirties but seem much younger. Bridget is bound by threats and a sense of needing justice for a wrong done to her. I never knew if I could trust Benjamin and his account of the facts he puts forward.
I loved the writing style of this author as in such a depressing house she brings it to life. The fear, the frustration, tastes and smells, the smallest details of textures along with the touch of madness that has been used to torment the sisters and maid in terrible ways. An aging father that still rules with intimidation and violence. The whole thing feels like it is a visual account that is just happening and not something in the past. I had a loathing for Andrew and Abby Borden and an uneasiness about the strange relationship that the two sisters had, something I felt that they would never give up and share or even talk about together but more of an understanding between them. To be honest they were darn weird, even shudder worthy weird.
A super debut novel that made a piece of history come to life and give the brain matter something to ponder about. Loved the time line in the back of the book that covered from September 1822 until 1948. If you want a bit of fact mixed with characters that have soul this really is a perfect read for you.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Editing), a Master of Arts (Creative Writing), and a Graduate Diploma of Information Management, Sarah Schmidt currently works as a Reading & Literacy Coordinator (read: a fancy librarian) at a regional public library. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and daughter. See What I Have Done is her first novel.