I’m really pleased to be able to share my review today for See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt as part of the blog tour. My thanks go to Anne Cater for the opportunity and the publishers for the copy in exchange for an honest review.
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.
Just after 11am on 4th August 1892, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are discovered. He’s found on the sitting room sofa, she upstairs on the bedroom floor, both murdered with an axe.
It is younger daughter Lizzie who is first on the scene, so it is Lizzie who the police first question, but there are others in the household with stories to tell: older sister Emma, Irish maid Bridget, the girls’ Uncle John, and a boy who knows more than anyone realises.
In a dazzlingly original and chilling reimagining of this most notorious of unsolved mysteries, Sarah Schmidt opens the door to the Borden home and leads us into its murkiest corners, where jealousies, slow-brewed rivalries and the darkest of thoughts reside.
See What I Have Done is a re-imagining of the Lizzie Borden murder case. I have to admit I didn’t know much about the case beforehand so was really eager to get stuck in. I do remember however being a young lass in the playground singing the little rhyme…
Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
On 4th August 1892 in Falls River, Massachusetts, the bodies of Andrew and Abby Borden are found murdered in their home, horrifically attacked with an axe. Youngest daughter Lizzie, was tried for the crimes and then acquitted due to lack of evidence, but did she really do it?
In this re-imagining of the story we find out what happened on that awful morning and with four different narrators, Lizzie, Emma, Bridget and Benjamin we find out about the lead-up to the murders and a household that wasn’t a very pleasant place to live.
I have to say Lizzie was a weird one, although she is in her thirties her voice comes across rather child like which really gave me goose bumps. Her relationship with her Father was a strange one too, they seem to love each other but Lizzie plays some wicked games to try to get his attention and she’s not particularly keen on her Step Mother Abby.
Out of the four narrators, Bridget was the only one I liked and I felt quite sorry for her. Having come over from Ireland and found work as a housemaid at the Borden’s, she has had enough of their games and has been desperately saving so she can return home to her family. Bridget has had to put up with a lot from the Borden family and it’s not surprising she want’s to get away.
See What I Have Done isn’t a particularly easy read, I had to stop reading now and again so I could get my head round things but it is absolutely fascinating. Sarah Schmidt has done a wonderful job of creating a story that totally draws the reader in and it was difficult to remember this was fiction, it’s so convincingly written. This really is a dark and atmospheric story that really gave me the chills and at some points made me feel a bit claustrophobic. It’s brilliantly written and quite easy to get lost in and lose track of time. Definitely a story I will be recommending.
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