Start Reading See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

Start Reading See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

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Why we loved it: Any Australian who hasn’t yet heard about one of America’s most well-known historical ‘murderers’ will soon become familiar with Lizzie Borden after reading this much praised debut by Australian author Sarah Schmidt. Murderer is in quote marks because Lizzie Borden was acquitted of the 1892 murder of her father and stepmother, but she was arrested and tried, and endures in folklore as the murderer of her father and stepmother, even spawning the famous 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.

See What I have Done is the breathtaking fictional account of this murder, a mysterious unsolved case in the popular imagination. If you love crime and historical fiction then this is most definitely a must-read, and yet it’s also a beautiful work of literary fiction.

Schmidt takes on the story with incisive prose that evokes the day of the murders, and the preceding days, with immediacy and intimacy. You can almost feel you are there, such are her vivid and bright descriptions of the smells and heat of these summer days when two gruesome murders were committed.

This evocative language conjures a place in a Massachusetts town some one hundred years ago, setting the scene in chilling detail. It was 4 August 1892 when locally respected businessman Andrew Borden and his second wife, the stepmother of his children, were murdered at their home in Fall River. Through the eyes of the unreliable narrator Lizzie, her sister Emma, who was staying with a relative at the time of the murders, the Irish housemaid Bridget, and a stranger making his way to Fall River, the reader navigates the crime scene and the lead-up to the murders.

It’s an unusual and haunting telling of a real-life murder that gets right under your skin. It’s eerie but also fascinating, with thorough research and new perspective on an old crime. Bridget, the poor Irish housemaid, reveals much about what really went on in the Borden household, the strangeness of the sisters and their odd relationship with their father and stepfather, offering a brand new take on an enduring mystery.rsz_1rsz_sarah_schmidt

See What I have Done is proving to one of the most anticipated novels of this year, with might praise already in from some high quarters including:

‘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

‘Haunting, evocative and psychologically taut, See What I Have Done breathes fresh life into the infamous 19th-century murder case surrounding Lizzie Borden. This is a powerful, beautifully researched debut novel that brings us into contact with the recurring American dramas of violence and retribution while summoning the beguiling voices of the past.’ – Dominic Smith, author of the New York TImes bestseller The Last Painting of Sara de Vos.

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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                    Publisher details

                    See What I Have Done
                    Author
                    Sarah Schmidt
                    Publisher
                    Hachette
                    Released
                    28 March, 2017

                    Synopsis

                    '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?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.
                    Sarah Schmidt
                    About the author

                    Sarah Schmidt

                    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.

                    Books by Sarah Schmidt

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