Book Reviews

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

*Shoves Truman Capote out of the way*

*Stands on a box*

*Roars into a microphone*


Okay, the Truman Capote line was overkill but let’s face it, In Cold Blood does have some fictional parts.

Anyway, I received See What I Have Done as an ARC, and my, what a brilliant ride it has been!

Goodreads synopsis:

32508637In 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.


I wasn’t that familiar with the Lizzie Borden case until I read this book. This made the reading all the more enjoyable to me. While reading the book, I did a lot of research about the fateful day Lizzie Borden took an axe 😉 , and separating fact from fiction was fun! What has made this case fascinating over the years is that while Lizzie had the motive and the means, the murder weapon was never recovered. She was acquitted later because of this and went down in history as the heroine of an unsolved murder case. Schmidt also includes a fictional character, Benjamin, into this compelling story, to shed some clarity on what really happened on August 4th.

The writing is grade A. The characters are wonderfully weird. I love me a story about a dysfunctional family and the one in this book is as dysfunctional as they come. Behind closed doors, within the stifling heat of 92 Second Street, is a volatile family.  A father who is controlling and a miser, a stepmother who just wanted a normal family, an elder daughter who wants to live life her way, and a younger daughter for who’s craziness no adjective will do justice. The sisters have a codependent, weird relationship. Oh, the things they say to each other!

I’ve had a pretty hectic week, traveling between 3 states for work, and I was only able to read while on the flight. I’m sure I would have enjoyed the book even more if I had been at home–it’s a page-turner and you will not be able to put it down! See What I Have Done is a riveting tale that weaves fiction into a true story. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good crime novel.

Rating: 4 out of 5

I’m sure I’ll revisit Fall River via this book’s pages at a less hectic time and my rating will surely increase then.

See What I Have Done is expected to be published on August 1, 2017. Why not August 4? 😉

How fascinated are you with Lizzie Borden? What did you think of this review? Let me know in the comments!

~ Shruti

8 thoughts on “See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

  1. This book sounds so interesting! A real incident turned into a book? I’M SOLD. Murder? Mystery? WHO DAT? I’M FREAKING SOLD. *Anj is weird, I know.*

    Liked by 1 person

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