About 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 have been coveting this book ever since seeing it all over social media in the summer and the paperback release on 2nd November gave me the perfect opportunity to own one of the most intriguing books of the year! The cover of the Kindle copy was deliciously dark and so I’m pleased to see that they have kept the iconic pear as part of the design for the paperback release. If you have read this already then you will understand why!
This book is literally a feast for the senses. Never before have my senses felt so finely attuned to an authors style of descriptive prose. I could actually smell the food in the kitchen, becoming quite nauseous whenever the mutton stew was mentioned. And I could practically feel the warm and sticky pear juices running between my fingers! Sarah Schmidt brought an awareness of time and place to her narrative that involved her readers in an almost voyeuristic way from the very first page. I became part of her story almost immediately alongside Lizzie, Emma and Bridget. Although I think Bridget was the only character that I felt a true connection with as the others remained quite closed down even when the story was coming from their point of view. I do think that is what the author intended though!
I’m probably in the minority, from what I’ve seen in social media, in that the playground rhyme about Lizzie Borden is one I’ve been very aware of since I was a young child. As a teenager, with a geeky fixation on true life crime, I was fascinated by the case that this fictional account is based on and did some investigating myself into background information on the murders of Andrew and Abby Borden. So I really love how Sarah Schmidt has put her own personal spin on the tale and created a beautifully written, lyrical version of what she thinks happened to the Borden family. Her personal passion for her subject matter came through in her expressive retelling and I often had goosebumps whilst reading due to my senses becoming hypersensitive to her prose.
I became completely gripped by this delicately detailed historical masterpiece. It’s such a stunning novel that it’s difficult to believe that it’s actually the authors debut! I absolutely loved it and can’t wait to see what direction she takes for her next book. Highly recommended by me!
See What I Have Done: The Most Critically Acclaimed Debut of the Year is available to purchase now from Amazon UK (affiliates link) My review copy came from the publisher Tinder Press.
Meet 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 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.