Sunday, January 14, 2018

Review: See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

32508637 Summary from Goodreads:

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. 

My Review:

What I Liked:

Characters. Schmidt was able to capture the various characters who were based on real people in great and intriguing ways. The book is told from Lizzie's point of view but it is also told from her sister, Emma's point of view, the maid Bridget, and Benjamin. I enjoyed seeing the point of view of Emma and the outside view of the maid, it made the story more rounded and interesting. 

Writing. The main aspect of the novel that I loved was Schmidt's writing style. She goes back in forth in time but it a way that works with the story. She also had a beautiful lyrical style of writing that had me reading the novel for hours.  

Retelling. I went in blind to the novel, only knowing that it had to do with Lizzie Bordon and was pleasantly surprised how good it was. I loved the way Schmidt retold the story, focusing more on the family than the trial. It was interesting that she had the timeline of the true story and the wills of the Borden sisters.

What I Disliked:

POV. I really enjoyed the multiple points of view but there was one character who was hard to read, Benjamin. Some of his chapters were pretty graphic and hard to get through. I was not a fan of the character. 

Graphic. I did not care for some of the violent/graphic parts, with the murders and other things. I understand that is part of the story but some of it felt unneeded.

I recommend checking out this great literary fiction look into the Lizzie Borden mystery, I had a hard time putting it down. 

My Rating:

4.5 Stars Out of 5 Stars

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