Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Book Review: The Secrets of Lizzie Borden

The Secrets of Lizzie BordenAuthor: Brandy Purdy
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Publisher: Kensington

In her enthralling, richly imagined new novel, Brandy Purdy, author of The Ripper’s Wife, creates a compelling portrait of the real, complex woman behind an unthinkable crime. Lizzie Borden should be one of the most fortunate young women in Fall River, Massachusetts. Her wealthy father could easily afford to provide his daughters with fashionable clothes, travel, and a rich, cultured life. Instead, haunted by the ghost of childhood poverty, he forces Lizzie and her sister, Emma, to live frugally, denying them the simplest modern conveniences. Suitors and socializing are discouraged, as her father views all gentleman callers as fortune hunters. Lonely and deeply unhappy, Lizzie stifles her frustration, dreaming of the freedom that will come with her eventual inheritance. But soon, even that chance of future independence seems about to be ripped away. And on a stifling August day in 1892, Lizzie’s long-simmering anger finally explodes… Vividly written and thought-provoking, The Secrets of Lizzie Borden explores the fascinating events behind a crime that continues to grip the public imagination—a story of how thwarted desires and desperate rage could turn a dutiful daughter into a notorious killer.

The blood and the memories so intricately bound they could never be divided.

No wonder I was so eager to leave, to spread my wings and fly far, far away!

Returning to Fall River and reentering my father’s house felt just like being found guilty of a terrible crime and being sentenced to live out the rest of my life in a dreary prison with no amenities to make life pleasant or even bearable.

I have always been fascinated with the story of Lizzie Borden and I just learned two days ago about the new TV show starring Christina Ricci. This book hit phenomenal levels with me, mainly because I got to read it from Lizzie’s point of view. This tale is weaved with fact and fiction. I know enough about Lizzie to be able to tell the difference, but I must say I was shocked with how full of misery the house of Andrew Borden was. I truly despised her father; he was strict and their mother did not do much to make life easier for the girls. Her father’s issues strictly dictated how she lived her life. They were forced to be outcasts. Although they were a very wealthy family, they did not live as such. Lizzie grew up differently from other girls her own age, and even though she is a murderer, I was still able to connect with her and a lot of the emotions she experienced.

What I loved most about this book was finding out what the author felt led Lizzie to commit such a heinous crime. Purdy has a way of writing of Borden that does not make her out to be a cruel murderer. Lizzie’s living conditions were honestly what put me on her side more than anything. Andrew Borden had the money to afford so much more, but when you find out how they lived you will be utterly disgusted. The book gets pretty graphic in at least two places that I can think of. They were gory enough for me to squint my eyes…and then reread them! I have always wondered why Lizzie committed this crime, and after reading this book I felt entertained and educated! This was such a great read and one that I am sure I will go back to.

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Kensington in exchange for my honest review***

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