Book Review, Books Read in 2017, Historical Fiction

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt: A Book Review

See What I Have Done

Title: See What I Have Done
Author: Sarah Schmidt
Published: August 1, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
Obtained: Public Library

Synopsis: ‘Lizzie Borden took an axe…’ Many people can finish this poem about the death of Andrew and Abby Borden. In See What I Have Done, you are given a front row seat into the viewpoints of four suspects in the murder and their whereabouts on that fateful morning, August 4th, 1892.

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Whew. This was a difficult book for me to get through. Before I go any further, I do believe that Sarah Schmidt has talent. She took a historical event and turned it into fiction, and that can be really difficult for some. I definitely respect her for that. On the other hand, See What I Have Done just really didn’t hit home for me.

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The Characters

This book is written with four points of view. The first one, obviously, is Lizzie Borden herself. This was a difficult POV to read, as she isn’t making much sense in her own thoughts. She’s constantly repeating things to herself and seems a bit incoherent, which makes her an unreliable witness.

The next POV is Emma Borden, Lizzie’s older sister. I really feel for her character, and it’s Emma that made me go on with this book. She has had to live with so much from her spoiled, self-righteous sister that I just want her to get away from that toxic environment!

The last two POVs are the maid, Bridget, and a stranger named Benjamin, whom I believe is a fictional character in the story. What I really enjoyed best about the book was how all of these POVs cross over each other in the story, shedding light on some of the strange things found during the crime. Schmidt does a great job connecting these characters’ viewpoints together to weave a story from multiple perspectives.

Conclusion

Obviously, we’ll never know what really happened to Andrew and Abby Borden, and I think I had different expectations of this book. Obviously I’ve heard about this case quite a bit and have basic knowledge of everything, and that’s the main reason why I wasn’t a huge fan of this book. I guess I was hoping for some new information that I know I’ll never get. I DO recommend it for anyone who is unfamiliar with this historical incident as it does explain a lot about the initial crime. Otherwise, read at your own risk.

I also wish See What I Have Done focused a little more on the aftermath of the murders, such as Lizzie’s trial and subsequent acquittal. The novel only really focuses on the day Andrew and Abby die and any relevant past event. This was the trial of the century, and to not even get to experience that was a little disheartening for me. Otherwise, it was an okay read.

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Ratings

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (Not for me.)
Storyline: 4 stars (I enjoy anything that has historical significance.)
Characters: 3 stars (I didn’t really connect with any of them except Emma.)
Setting: 4 stars (Again, it has historical significance.)
Reading Pace: 2 stars (I seriously struggled with this book.)

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