See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt


I would like to thank Netgalley and Atlantic Monthly Press for my ARC of this book for my honest review.

MY REVIEW:  There are not spoilers as such, but I have included a couple of small story details that may take the edge of the story.  So please be aware before reading the whole review.


This is a retelling of the Lizzie Borden story. Most people are aware of her.  I knew that she had murdered people with an axe, but that was due to my remembering the poem.

This story starts with Lizzie stating “Someone’s killed father.” A good start to then be followed by a scene of characters in confusion as to what to do next, as well as the who was where at the time.  The story tells of Lizzie and Emma, her sister, childhood and their upbringing.  Loosing their mother and their father remarrying.  It soon becomes clear that Lizzie is not to be trusted, she is a liar, thief, attention seeker and drama queen.  Her sister Emma is desperate to leave the house and the family, she is not the only one.  The house is almost a prison, capturing it’s dwellers and not wanting to let them go.

Though I did enjoy this book, the choppiness of the timeline made it a little confusing on occasions.  The flicking between past and present, as well as between characters  caused me to backtrack on my reading.  I am used to this style of writing and it is a great tool for creating perspectives from different angles, this one was a bit too much.  If i had read it over several sittings , my brain may have been able to process it more.

I would recommend to general crime readers.


In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.


Hardcover, 324 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published March 28th 2017)
ISBN 0802126596 (ISBN13: 9780802126597)
Edition Language English