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See What I Have Done - Sarah Schmidt

Paperback

Published: 28th March 2017
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Published: 28th March 2017
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A deeply atmospheric novel by a startling new Aussie talent; an incredibly unique look inside the mind of Lizzie Borden, famously accused of murdering her father and stepmother in 1892.

'He was still bleeding. I yelled, "Someone's killed Father." I breathed in kerosene air, licked the thickness from my teeth. The clock on the mantel ticked ticked. I looked at Father, the way hands clutched to thighs, the way the little gold ring on his pinky finger sat like a sun. I gave him that ring for his birthday when I no longer wanted it. "Daddy," I had said. "I'm giving this to you because I love you." He had smiled and kissed my forehead.

A long time ago now.'

On 4 August 1892 Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. During the inquest into the deaths, Lizzie Borden was arrested and charged with the murder of her father and her stepmother.

Through the eyes of Lizzie's sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, the enigmatic stranger Benjamin and the beguiling Lizzie herself, we return to what happened that day in Fall River.

Lizzie Borden took an axe. Or did she?

Review by Sarah McDuling

See What I Have Done by debut author Sarah Schmidt is a lyrical and richly imagined novel about the infamous (alleged) axe murderer Lizzie Borden.

For anyone unfamiliar with the case, in 1892 Lizzie Borden was tried and later acquitted of the double homicide of her father and stepmother, who were found brutally hacked to death in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts. Though the jury found Lizzie innocent of the crimes, she was widely believed guilty and the murders remain unsolved to this day. The case was so notorious that it inspired a macabre nursery rhyme... Lizzie Borden took an axe / And gave her mother forty whacks / When she saw what she had done / She gave her father forty-one.

Scared yet? (You should be.)

See What I Have Done is both utterly absorbing and incredibly unsettling - not to mention super-duper creepy! There is a suffocating, almost claustrophobic atmosphere in the way Schmidt writes about the Borden household. This is a horrific tale about a highly dysfunctional family in which close familial bonds have become warped and strangling.

The descriptions of sounds and smells are so evocative that the Borden house is truly brought to life. The story is largely centred around the day before, and the day of the murders - told through alternating perspectives. We have Lizzie's fractured and unreliable narration, as well as the perspective of her devoted older sister Emma, the beleaguered maid Bridget, and the hired brute, Benjamin.

Reading this book is like entering a wild, feverish nightmare. In fact, it made such a deep impression on me that as soon as I finished it I was compelled to hit Google with a vengeance, determined to find out everything I could about Lizzie Borden.

See What I Have Done is incredibly enthralling, overwhelmingly intense and eerie as hell. Readers beware, this book will haunt you!

About the Author

After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Professional writing and editing), a Master of Arts (Creative Writing), and a Graduate Diploma of Information Management, Sarah currently works as a Reading & Literacy Coordinator (read: a fancy librarian) at a regional public library. She lives in Melbourne with her partner and daughter. See What I Have Done is her first novel.

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See What I Have Done
 
3.5

(based on 4 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (1)

75%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Easy to read (4)

Cons

No Cons

Best Uses

No Best Uses

Reviewed by 4 customers

Displaying reviews 1-4

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4.0

Interesting narratives create a haunting picture

By 

from Newcastle Australia

About Me Casual Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Easy To Read
  • Well Written

Cons

    Best Uses

      Comments about See What I Have Done:

      The multiple narratives and perspectives of the characters were interesting to follow. Some characters were much more endearing than others so it was nice to see the world through the differing lenses.

       
      4.0

      Interesting read

      By 

      from Australia SA

      About Me Bookworm

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Deserves Multiple Readings
      • Easy To Read

      Cons

      • Difficult To Follow

      Best Uses

      • Older Readers

      Comments about See What I Have Done:

      Was very keen to get this book - Expected more than another theory but well worth the read

      (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

       
      1.0

      Not the whole story

      By 

      from Australia

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Easy To Read

      Cons

      • Disappointing
      • Not the full story unfortunately.
      • Not What I Expected

      Best Uses

        Comments about See What I Have Done:

        I feel the writer was more focused on writing in an unusual way rather than just giving us a well rounded informative story about these intriguing murders. It unfortunately left me with more unanswered questions than what I started with. I then went and researched the history to find out a more complete picture of this mystery.

         
        5.0

        Enthralling Read

        By 

        from Victoria, Australia

        About Me Bookworm

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Easy To Read
        • Engaging characters
        • Page-Turner
        • Well Written

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Gift
          • Older Readers

          Comments about See What I Have Done:

          Great book, Interesting Characters and story line
          Led me to research Lizze Borden which l found very interesting

          Displaying reviews 1-4

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          Believe the hype around this Australian authors debut novel. - Marie Claire

          ISBN: 9780733636882
          ISBN-10: 0733636888
          Audience: General
          Format: Paperback
          Language: English
          Number Of Pages: 336
          Published: 28th March 2017
          Publisher: Hachette Australia
          Country of Publication: AU
          Dimensions (cm): 23.3 x 15.5  x 2.5
          Weight (kg): 0.42
          Edition Number: 1