Book Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
This book is delicious.
It's also so bonkers. But delightfully so.
This debut novel explores the infamous Borden murders, opening with when the first body is found. The novel then shifts to two days before, and eventually, the days after the murder, and the story unfolds through Lizzie, her sister Emma, their maid Bridget, and Benjamin, an itinerant stranger.
Everyone in this book -- save for Bridget -- are awful. If one couldn't think of a reason for the murders, Schmidt offers a handful. The novel is creepy but not gory (just right for me), and there's a wonderfully claustrophobic feel to the narrative. It's a story, too, about frustrated ambitions and passions, petty jealousies and dysfunctional love. (I was reminded a bit of Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle, which made me wonder if Jackson was inspired at all by the Borden murders and if Schmidt had been inspired by Jackson...)
My only complaint about this book is that Schmidt doesn't include any sort of historical/author's note detailing what is historical record and what is her own invention, so I don't know if the way she depicted the Bordens is "true" or if the things that happened before the murder occurred. (I'm too much of a whimp to Google, lest I come across gruesome details I'd rather not know/see.)
I read this book in one day; as I said on Instagram, I felt like I couldn't breathe until I finished. If you're vaguely intrigued, just get it and tell everyone to leave you alone for the day!
Title: See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Genre: Fiction (Historical / 19th Century / Massachusetts / Lizzie Borden / Historical Figure Fictionalized / Murder / Mystery / Sisters)
Publisher/Publication Date: Atlantic Monthly Press (8/1/2017)
Reading Challenges: Historical Fiction