See what I have done

by Schmidt, Sarah, 1979 September 10-

Format: Print Book 2017.
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Summary
Lizzie Borden took an ax
And gave her mother forty whacks
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Or did she?

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.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "*Starred Review* The elegant and evocative writing style, combined with a mesmerizing, subtly menacing thrum of psychological suspense, heralds the arrival of a major new talent. In Australian author Schmidt's debut novel, four people alternate first-person narration, sharing their perspectives on events surrounding the brutal ax murders of Andrew and Abby Borden in Fall River, Massachusetts, in the summer of 1892. The voices of Lizzie; her sister, Emma; and their maid, Bridget, along with that of mysterious stranger Benjamin, reveal a family that's gone at least two steps beyond dysfunctional and into menacing, silent dislike made worse by abusively controlling parents. Schmidt teases out not only the deep hatred harbored by the characters, but also their individual reasons for (potentially) assaulting the Borden couple. An inventive and perceptive presentation of clues shows how such violence could be perpetrated and never resolved. Although it was assumed that Lizzie Borden killed her parents with a hatchet and destroyed the evidence, it's clear from this fictional version of the case that she may not have been the only viable suspect. Nail-biting horror mixes with a quiet, unforgettable power to create a novel readers will stay up all night finishing. Those looking for a similar nail-biter might enjoy Christobel Kent's The Crooked House (2016) and John Harwood's The Asylum (2013), both disturbing and psychologically dark.--Baker, Jen Copyright 2017 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Schmidt's unforgettable debut brings a legendary American crime to eerie new life. Four narrators recount events surrounding the 1892 murders of Andrew and Abby Borden: Lizzie Borden; her older sister, Emma; and the family's maid, Bridget Sullivan, are within the Massachusetts home in which the deaths occurred. The fourth, a young man known only as Benjamin, is a stranger to everyone in the family but the sisters' maternal uncle, who is visiting at the time of the tragedy. Though their interpretations of events differ, all describe roiling tensions. The manipulative, nearly feral Lizzie is forever scarred by her mother's early death, while Emma longs for an artistic life uncomplicated by her sister's outsized presence. Their relationship with their father and stepmother is fractured: Andrew Borden is a miserly, abusive man who thinks nothing of beheading the pet pigeons Lizzie loves, and his second wife, Abby, has never gained her stepdaughters' trust. On August 4, family conflicts erupt in a chain of events that is as intricate as it is violent. Equally compelling as a whodunit, "whydunit," and historical novel, the book honors known facts yet fearlessly claims its own striking vision. Even before the murders, the Bordens' cruel, claustrophobic lives are not easy to visit, but from them Schmidt has crafted a profoundly vivid and convincing fictional world. Agent: Dan Lazar, Writers House. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Borden, Lizzie, -- 1860-1927 -- Fiction.
Borden, Abby Durfee Gray, -- 1828-1892 -- Fiction.
Borden, Andrew Jackson, -- 1822-1892 -- Fiction.
Serial murders -- Massachusetts -- Fall River -- Fiction.
Dysfunctional families -- Fiction.
Psychological fiction.
Detective and mystery fiction.
Historical fiction.
Publisher New York :2017.
Edition First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition.
Language English
Description 328 pages ; 24 cm
ISBN 9780802126597
0802126596
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