I’m delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for the fantastic See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt. See What I Have Done is now available in hardback, paperback, ebook and audiobook here.
Huge thank you to Headline Publishers and Anne Cater for my copy of this book.
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.
I really enjoyed this fascinating and compelling retelling of the Borden murders. I’m a huge fan of historical fiction, particularly that based on real events, so eagerly jumped at the chance to review See What I have Done.
The story is told from four different points of view, Lizzie Borden, her sister Emma, their maid Bridget and a fictional character made up by the author. The first part of the story is taken up with learning more about the Borden family and what they did the morning of the murders. I must admit I did find this bit a little hard to get into as it was a lot of information to receive at one time but i’m so glad i stuck with it as i soon found myself very intrigued by the story and kept wanting to read more and more in order to find out what happened next. The author very cleverly increases the readers interest with carefully laid bits of information or events that makes the reader think along a certain line. The tension is also slowly increased after the murders are discovered as everyone tries to discover what happened and work out who did it which makes for very interesting reading as more and more facts are discovered. I especially liked that so much background information into the household relationships was included as I felt it provided a really insight into the characters and the family dynamics that could have helped cause the murders in some way. I think it is fair to say that the Borden household was not a happy one and had some very interesting characters in it none of which seemed to get on particularly well with one another. I found it fascinating to discover the ins and outs of the different relationships and to find out what helped make each character act the way they did.
I don’t think I particularly warmed to any of the characters though i did find myself having a lot of sympathy for Emma and her dysfunctional and co dependent relationship with Lizzie. I’m an older sister myself and I often felt that my sister was treated differently then I was or allowed to do things slightly differently then I was just because I was older. I felt sorry for her that Lizzie expected so much from her and made her give up on so much for her own selfish needs. I really didn’t like Lizzie and found her to be quite an odd character. She seemed incredibly selfish and expected people to do things the way she wanted them to happen regardless of their feelings or happiness. I just couldn’t warm to her and found myself hoping that she would get taken down a peg or two in the book.
Some of the descriptions in the book are very vivid and really helps the reader feel that they are there alongside the characters witnessing the same things that they do. The description of the mutton stew and the aftermath was so vivid that it actually turned my stomach and made me feel quite sick reading about it. I’ve never had that before in the book so was very impressed that the author was able to do this.
I would recommend this book to anyone who likes well written and intriguing historical fiction as See What I Have Done is definitely both of these things. This is Sarah Schmidt’s debut novel and I look forward to reading more from her.
Huge thanks to Headline Publishers and Anne Cater for my copy of this book and for inviting me on the blog tour.
About The Author:
Sarah Schmidt is a librarian from Melbourne. She became obsessed with the Borden story after coming across Lizzie’s case by chance in a second-hand bookstore and her passionate research has even taken her to stay for several nights in the Borden house. Find out more on her website https://sarahschmidt.org/ and on Twitter @ikillnovel.