Review 1367: See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done is an interpretation of the famous Borden murders in 1892. It is absolutely seething with undercurrents and is occasionally very creepy. I think most people don’t know that Lizzy Borden was not found guilty of the murders of her stepmother and father. Somehow, this novel maintains suspense by creating uncertainty about that.

The novel concentrates most of its energy on the day before and the day of the murder, but it goes backward and forward in time and changes point of view from one character to another.

Schmidt depicts Lizzy as a childish 30-year-old who has been alternately indulged and oppressed by her father. Fatefully, on the day before the murders, Mr. Borden slaughters Lizzy’s pet pigeons with an ax. Then, instead of telling her what he has done, he leaves her to discover it.

There are other people in the house who have motives for the murders. Lizzy’s uncle, John, has hired a ruffian named Benjamin to make Mr. Borden pay attention to his demand that his nieces be treated better. Benjamin is lurking around and inside the house the day of the murders, which made me wonder whether the warning was to go awry. Also, the day before the murders, Abby Borden, who was killed first, confiscated from the maid, Bridget, all of the money she saved to get her back to Ireland.

The narrative style, from Lizzy’s point of view, is feverish. In all, I found this novel to be really interesting, imaginative in its approach and unsettling in effect.

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4 thoughts on “Review 1367: See What I Have Done

  1. Helen June 27, 2019 / 2:48 pm

    I’m glad you found this interesting. I’ve seen some reviews where people didn’t like the narrative style and others who loved it. I think I’ll probably try it.

    • whatmeread June 27, 2019 / 3:02 pm

      I thought it worked well. It was a good book!

  2. Davida Chazan July 26, 2019 / 6:01 am

    It was one of my favorite books of 2017. I thought it was amazing… “The clock on the mantle ticked, ticked.” Powerful!

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