See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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The blurring of voices and perceptions, particularly between Lizzie and Benjamin, and obsessive repetition of words and symbols only add to the irresistible momentum and fevered intensity of the book: part fairytale, part psychodrama.
-Guardian

Synopsis

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.
 

About Sarah Schmidt

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After completing a Bachelor of Arts (Professional Writing and Editing), a Master of Arts (Creative Writing), and a Graduate Diploma of Information Management, Sarah Schmidt currently works as a Reading & Literacy Coordinator (read: a fancy librarian) at a regional public library. She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her partner and daughter. See What I Have Done is her first novel.
 
Published August 1, 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press.
Genres: History, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction
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Critic reviews for See What I Have Done
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Hannah Beckerman on Apr 30 2017

See What I Have Done is a meticulously researched and boldly imagined book that crackles with tension throughout. Schmidt’s portrayal of Lizzie is haunting and complex, a deeply psychological portrait that forces the reader to question their preconceptions about what women are capable of – for better and worse.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Justine Jordan on Apr 27 2017

The blurring of voices and perceptions, particularly between Lizzie and Benjamin, and obsessive repetition of words and symbols only add to the irresistible momentum and fevered intensity of the book: part fairytale, part psychodrama.

Read Full Review of See What I Have Done | See more reviews from Guardian

Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Convery on Apr 26 2017

But these are predominantly issues of taste, not talent. Schmidt’s writing is rich and confident, painting a vivid portrait of a household with something rotten at its core. It’s a strong debut that promises much from an original and compelling new voice in Australian literature.

Read Full Review of See What I Have Done | See more reviews from Guardian

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