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See What I Have Done Hardcover – 2 May 2017
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Schmidt's portrayal of Lizzie is haunting and complex, a deeply psychological portrait that forces the reader to question their preconceptions about what women are capable of - for better and worse. Both disturbing and gripping, it is an outstanding debut novel about love, death and the lifelong repercussions of unresolved grief. (Observer)
[A] seminal voice of the future.... a dark, dense visceral ride that proves that this former librarian could be on course to become one of the breakout writers of the decade... Donna Tartt, make room (Stylist)
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)
What a book - powerful, visceral and disturbing. I felt like one of the many flies on the walls of that unhappy, blood-drenched house (Cathy Rentzenbrink, author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE)
An outstanding debut. Enviably brilliant and memorable (Hannah Beckerman)
Vivid, sultry and engrossing (Carys Bray)
A twisty, visceral, highly original novel that grips you from start to finish. An exceptional and stunning debut (Kate Hamer author of THE GIRL IN THE RED COAT)
See What I Have Done held me in its sweaty grasp to the very last pages... as deftly destabilising as the best of Margaret Atwood (Patrick Gale)
I loved See What I Have Done. So ominous and creepily compelling. Utterly macabre, in a good way. It is a novel that is close in style and sensibility to Shirley Jackson's We Have Always Lived in the Castle (Sam Baker The Pool)
See What I Have Done is wonderful. Exquisitely-drawn characters, beautiful prose, a brilliant retelling of story. Every single sentence is perfect (Emma Flint author of LITTLE DEATHS)
I am obsessed with this book. It chews you up and spits you out like one of the ripe pears in Lizzie's garden. Incredibly tense and claustrophobic, Home Sweet Home is turned on its head for the nightmarish Borden family in this amazingly accomplished tale of power, betrayal and revenge (Stacey Bartlett Fabulous Magazine)
[An] exquisitely crafted and chilling re-imagining of the gruesome 1982 crimes (Lady (Must-reads of 2017))
Lizzie Borden and her axe have fascinated since 1892, and this incredible reimagining is one you'll never ever forget (Heat)
A great historical novel that takes a real life crime as its starting point. See What I Have Done is a gripping family drama and a whodunnit about two unsolved murders... chilling and claustrophobic (Stylist (Best books of 2017))
Sarah Schmidt's reimagining of the fatal events in the Borden household is dignified and sensual, as though Henry James had decided to tell the tale (Sunday Express)
Schmidt is especially good at the sweltering claustrophobia in which the Bordens lived. She is also great at portraying the pent-up frustration of the spinster Borden sisters (Sunday Independent)
Schmidt's unusual combination of narrative suppression and splurge makes for a surprising, nastily effective debut (Guardian)
Intense, unsettling and macabre (Sunday Mirror)
She skilfully evokes the claustrophobic atmosphere of the household, conjuring up the rottenness of the family's relationships (Sunday Times)
A claustrophobic, absolutely visceral novel that, like the walls of that unhappy house, leaves a stain long after the final page (Red Magazine)
Breathlessly brilliant (Heat)
A disquieting read... I loved it (The Times)
This startlingly potent novel isn't so much a straightforward whodunit as a portrait of a dysfunctional household from which the emotionally arrested Lizzie emerges as the novel's most unsettling character (Metro) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A haunting retelling of the infamous Lizzie Borden murders from a dazzling debut novelist. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
This debut novel fictionalises the infamous murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in 1892. The story is told from the point of view of Emma and Lizzie – Andrew’s two adult daughters, who lived with their father and stepmother, the family’s Irish maid, Bridget, and of a man named Benjamin, who is asked to accompany Emma and Lizzie’s Uncle John to the small town of Fall River, Massachusetts, where the family live.
Of all the voices in this novel, that of Bridget was, for me, the most revealing (interestingly, she was often called ‘Maggie’ by the Borden family – following the Victorian tradition of naming servants by previous members of the household who had had that name, so all maids could be ‘Maud,’ in one house, for example, or names were changed if they were considered too ‘exotic’ or pretty). The author has given Bridget back her own name for this novel, and it is she who really shows what occurs behind the blind façade of a middle class Victorian home.
Although Andrew Borden was a wealthy, and successful, businessman, he was known for his frugality and things were far from happy in the Borden household. Relations between Abby Borden and her two step daughters were strained, it was known that Lizzie had a tendency to steal things and doors in the house were kept locked – both outer and inner doors – and there were arguments about who would inherit Andrew Borden’s property. Although the sisters were close, there were also tensions between them and Emma was away at the time of the murders.
The author really makes this time come alive and you need to have a strong stomach to read this book.Read more ›
I have to admit to not knowing the story of the brutal murders that took place in the Borden home so before I started to read the book I did a little research to prepare myself for the book. Once I started I became hooked on Sarah Scmidt’s telling of the story using both facts and then using fiction to re-tell the infamous story.
When the Police arrived at the family home in Fall River, Massachusetts it becomes clear there was only one suspect and that was Lizzie Borden. Could she really have taken an axe to her stepmother and to her father? Despite the fact that there was other people in the house the police believe that she was responsible for the murders. Lizzie Borden was then tried and acquitted. To this day the murders remain unsolved in what remains one of the most heinous crimes the axe that was used in the murders was never found.
There are a numbers of characters that Scmidt focuses on in the novel with Lizzie and her sister Emma who at the time of the murders was not present in the family home, then there is the girls Uncle John and then the maid, Bridget. With the facts of the case already known Schmidt then weaves a dark and claustrophobic story. Behind the front door of the family home clearly all was not well. To say this was a troubled family even dysfunctional, there was many things quietly bubbling away under the surface in that steaming hot summer.Read more ›
The story is told by the four main characters, Lizzie, her sister Emma, Bridget the Irish maid, and Benjamin, a very troubled young man. They each recount the events as they saw them. The Borden household was devoid of warmth and affection, even the bond between the sisters was bound by Lizzie's control over Emma. Benjamin was a very sad character. His whole being breathed hatred, propelled by hurt and a childhood baptism of cruelty. Then there was Uncle John, whose very presence gave me the creeps. The book envelops an odd clutch of characters, creepy and at times quite wicked. Only Bridget, the maid, bore any semblance to normality. Sadly, these characters actually existed!
What really sets this book apart is the author's ability to recreate the whole aura of that moment in time. The stench, ignorance of personal hygiene, the tick tick of the clock, all adding to the atmosphere. My stomach heaved at each mention of the rancid mutton broth and then there were the pigeons - a shocking moment!
This book is gruesome and it's horrific. The fact that it's actually based on true events makes it all the more shocking. I think it's a book people will keep talking about. It's horrible, but it's awesome too, and makes for a really superb read - if you dare, read "The Pear"!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Everything I've read about this book is totally true. Gripping, gory, spooky & disturbing! I bought my copy from Waterstones which includes exclusive content from Sarah Schmidt's... Read morePublished 1 day ago by Jules
The dark heart of See What I Have Done is a brutal double murder that still horrifies and strangely fascinates the world. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Elspeth G. Perkin
Superb book - couldn't put it down. Will be reading more by this author.Published 6 days ago by Terri
A historical novel about the murder of Mr and Mrs Borden. The prime suspect is Mr Borden's daughter Lizzie. Very atmospheric and well written. There are several possible suspects. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Gr0undH0g
Purposefully I hadn’t read anything about the Borden murder case prior to reading See What I have Done, and I’m not even sure that I will now. Read morePublished 12 days ago by xVickyLeighx
On 4 August 1892, Andrew and Abby Borden were murdered in their home in Fall River Massachusetts. Andrew’s daughter Lizzie, aged thirty-two and still living at home, was... Read morePublished 13 days ago by Jennifer Cameron-Smith
In 1892, Lizzie Borden's father and stepmother were murdered. That case is the subject of this book, the majority of which takes place on August 4 1892 (the day of the murders). Read morePublished 14 days ago by Julia Flyte
This is a fantastic historical thriller and I am staggered that it is Schmidt's debut novel as her use of language and clever reimagining of such a haunting crime is nothing less... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Katherine Sunderland