Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Review: See What I Have Done

See What I Have DoneSee What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Finished reading this at midnight. Will I sleep? Probably not.

I'd like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book! This is a review of an ARC!

So it's safe to say most people know who Lizzie Borden is. Or at the very least is familiar with the creepy as hell jump rope song you may have heard as children: "Lizzie Borden took an axe, gave her mother forty whacks; when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one." If you weren't aware, this rhyme is based on real events - a murder that occurred in the town of Fall River in 1892. Early August, Lizzie Borden's stepmother Abbey, and father Andrew were discovered brutally killed with an axe in their home. Now here's the catch: Only Lizzie, the family maid Bridget and Mr and Mrs Borden are confirmed to be home at the time. No sign of intrusion, nothing taken, no obvious motive, no witnesses, a visiting uncle (brother of their late mother), an absent Emma Borden (Lizzie's older sister)... what the hell happened in the Borden house? Unfortunately the answers have most likely been lost to time. While I (and, let's be honest, history itself) believe Lizzie Borden to have committed these crimes, it's up to us to fill in the gaps as to the actual timeline and events leading up to that day.

In See What I Have Done we are led through the rough confirmed timeline through the eyes of various characters. I love love love how this book purposely fits in with what we know to be fact, while adding in "new" (of course at this point no theory can really be considered new) speculation. Schmidt obviously thoroughly researched this case and boy, does it pay off! One thing I will say about the writing in this book is that it's gross. At one point Emma Borden is left to clean the house of the... mess... and I almost gagged. Physically gagged. This book is almost disgusting in its descriptions. However - that's kind of the point, isn't it? Through this novel we are placed in the Borden house on the most gruesome day in it's history. (On a side note, the house is now a museum/B&B where you can actually stay the night. No way in hell would you even catch me on the same block as this house.)

All in all, this isn't your classic old fashioned murder mystery, and while this is technically historical fiction, it relies heavily on a very disturbing true story, and the mental imagery isn't pretty. At all. If you can handle that, definitely give this gem a read.

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