Sarah Schmidt’s brilliant reimagining of the Lizzie Borden story is intense and suspenseful, a creeping and clever tale of Gothic horror and murder. I thought I knew the story of America’s most notorious killing, but Schmidt delivers a surreal and surprising take that kept me up way past my bedtime! Recommended By McKenzie W., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
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.
“[A] gory and gripping debut.” Guardian
“Schmidt delves into the Lizzie Borden story, which may or may not have unfolded as we’ve always thought.” Entertainment Weekly, one of the 23 Most Anticipated Books of 2017
“Sarah Schmidt’s beautifully wrought See What I Have Done is a compelling, psychologically rich take on a well-loved tale, bringing new insight into the myth of just who Lizzie Borden was. This glorious gothic novel brings to mind the work of Sarah Waters and Patrick McGrath.” Sabina Murray, author of Valiant Gentlemen
“Eerie and compelling, Sarah Schmidt breathes such life into the terrible, twisted tale of Lizzie Borden and her family, she makes it impossible to look away.” Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train
About the Author
After completing a bachelor of arts (professional writing/editing), a master of arts (creative writing), and a graduate diploma of information management, Sarah Schmidt currently works as a reading and literacy coordinator at a regional public library. She lives in Melbourne, Australia, with her partner and daughter. See What I Have Done is her first novel.