See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done

eBook - 2017
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"Lizzie Borden took an axe 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 spellbinding murder cases of all time into a sensitive and humane portrait of two sisters caught inside a volatile household -- and what it means to be free and truly loved. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid Bridget: Someone's killed father. The discovery of the brutal axe-murders of Andrew and Abby Borden under their own roof in Fall River, Massachusetts paralyzes the small community. No one can understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens. But secret witnesses to the crime have a different tale to tell -- of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful step-mother; 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 flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? Before or after she last spoke to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Through the overlapping perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, we return to what happened on that fateful day"-- Provided by publisher.
"See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt's "eerie and compelling" (Paula Hawkins) debut novel, is a wholly unique reimagining of the infamous true story of Lizzie Borden, who gained celebrity status after being tried and acquitted for the murders of her father and stepmother. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to the maid: Someone's killed father. The brutal axe-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their house in Fall River, Massachusetts ignites a series of domestic nightmares. From the outside, no one can understand why anyone would want to murder the respected Bordens. From the inside, sisters Lizzie and Emma have a different tale to tell. Both unmarried and intimately bound together in a stifling environment, they each struggle against their oppressive home-life while longing for independence. As the police fail to find clues, Lizzie tries to make sense of the moments leading up to the discovery of the bodies. But there are other witnesses to the crime. Through the overlapping perspectives of Emma, the housemaid Bridget, the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, and the fascinating Lizzie herself, the ghosts of their pasts resurface and return to that fateful day. Shocking and riveting, Schmidt's nuanced, high-wire narration recasts a sensational true story into a sensitive and human portrayal of a volatile, tortured family, and what it means to be free and truly loved"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017
Edition: First American hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802189134
Characteristics: data file
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Nicr Oct 11, 2017

Intensely imagined psychodrama featuring Lizzie Borden and her infamous ax. Lizzie, sister Emma, maid Bridget and feral drifter Benjamin (the least persuasive character) alternate points of view. Readers looking for courtroom drama and/or forensics will be disappointed, as these things are not Schmidt's interests.

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anyothergirl
Oct 07, 2017

The atmosphere is well done, as are the characters, but I felt the addition of fictional Benjamin was unnecessary and too many strands were left unresolved, meant only to add to that atmosphere when they had potential to be useful to the plot. The author clearly didn't want to stray too far from what was known of the events, Benjamin aside, but in doing so missed out on some clever opportunity. The writing itself was superb.

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EyeGlasses
Aug 21, 2017

Fabulous voices of the four characters narrating the different chapters. Lizzie : high maintenance is the kindest thing to say. Emma: brow-beaten and neglected. Bridget: treated like a dog and plenty angry about it. Benjamin: A fictional character, but oooooh -- just wait 'til you meet him. He's a brilliant addition. This author has skills!
However: Really, really ghoulish details. Characters frequently lick things (spattered blood, furniture, their teeth). Odd smells. Dead animals. Yet everyone is constantly eating pears from the Borden backyard orchard and week-old mutton soup. Lots and lots of vomiting.
Do not read while you are enjoying a meal or if you have a low tolerance for gore. Or, just read until you can't stand any more because it tends to get worse as the book goes on.

ChiPubLib_Adults Aug 04, 2017

What better way to observe the 125th anniversary of the Lizzie Borden murders than this new novel about the events?

Infolass May 01, 2017

Cold. Claustrophobic. Creepy. This fictionalized account of the real- life Borden Murders that took place in Fall River, Massachusetts, 1892 takes the reader into the heads of this dysfunctional family and associates, cleverly weaving back stories of the key living characters in this heartless, joyless house. We know from page one, a murder has been committed.

The setting and time period has been well researched but it is Sarah’s skill as a writer in voicing the key characters in all its detail:

“I looked at him, saw the beginnings of a grin, saw a little gap between his front teeth. He struck out his hand and I grabbed it, gave a handshake. His skin was elderly-soft, someone who never had to use their hands for work. There was blood on my thumb, on my wrist, and when we finished shaking hands, there was blood on his too. ”

..that makes you pay attention to this book and read till the end.

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Infolass May 01, 2017

Infolass thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over

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Infolass May 01, 2017

"I was thinking of the winter, wondering when Mrs Borden would come home from visiting her relative, wondering how soon I could leave the house, go back to my family, go back to best feelings, when I heard a chock, chock sound come from the bottom of the house. I thought of Mr Borden and the pigeons. Chock. There was no bird sound. Chock. My heart got to beating fast and I gripped onto my bed, turned to look at my family. Chock, chock. A sound of grunting, like an animal eating. Chock.
Where was that coming from? Chock, chock.
A horse cart rolled down the street. Chock, the air was still, chock, the city bells struck, and was much too loud. I gripped onto my bed, couldn't move, couldn't breath, couldn't think. My bladder felt like bursting. The house went quiet. For a moment I wondered if I was in a dream. I didn't want to open my door, didn't want to go downstairs, didn't want to know what was down there.
Then I heard Lizzie call out, 'Bridget!' "

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