See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt | 1 Minute Reviews

Well, holy shit guys.

I’ve known about the Lizzie Borden case for some time, though I’m not entirely sure why. I suspect either a cultural reference in a Nickelodeon show – Hey Arnold perhaps – or the library. Either way, finding someone famous with the same name as me who wasn’t also a Queen was inherently fascinating to me as a child.

So when lovely Georgina of Headline and Tinder was talking about a new book all about Lizzie, I knew I had to read it.


Sarah Schmidt’s debut novel explores the famous murder of Lizzie’s father Andrew and stepmother Abby, and while it is common knowledge in the US, I think most people in the UK don’t know the details, so I won’t say more for fear of spoiling.

Atmospheric and rife with tension, Schmidt has created a masterpiece of literary thrillers in See What I Have Done; a historical whodunnit for one of America’s most infamous crimes.

The narrative is split between four points of view: Lizzie’s sister Emma Borden, Bridget the housekeeper, Benjamin a ne’er do well linked to Lizzie and Emma’s uncle John, and Lizzie herself. The Lizzie chapters are heady, jumpy, twisty-turn; you’re never really sure how sincere she is, but Schmidt manages to portray her as desperately insecure, manipulative and naive all at once.

The timeline jumps around the days before and immediately after the murders take place, via these four narratives, slipping you tidbits of fact and mystery. It is a well crafted, eerie novel which throws you suspects from all angles.

I was definitely hooked in completely by this rich novel, which grips you by the senses and refuses to let go! One particular scene with Lizzie’s pigeons brought tears to my eyes and I never want to eat lamb stew again, which is a tragedy and a sacrilege against my Welsh culture.

Pears too.

Interested? Get it here.

What to read next:

Thank you kindly to Headline and Tinder Press for sending this copy to me!

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