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.
"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"--
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