The story of Lizzie Borden is one that pretty much everyone knows. And, as a fan of true crime, a fictionalized telling seemed to be right up my reading alley. Sarah Schmidt’s story is told by four narrators–Lizzie, her sister, the family’s maid, and a drifter whose connection isn’t immediately clear. After reading the first hundred pages or so–and having sampled the narration of each character–I closed the book and marked it as one I did not finish. (And don’t plan to finish.)
I’m struggling with how I rate this book, especially because the writing is so good. Sarah Schmidt evokes a whole host of emotions in her storytelling. She paints a vivid picture and brings to life well-rounded three-dimensional characters. It’s that skill that actually caused me to stop reading. The dark and gruesome nature of Lizzie Borden’s story seemed to me to be particularly salient and permeated my mind. In short, the writing was so good and brought to life so well that I was physically, mentally, and emotionally uncomfortable.
So, fantastic writing by a strong author . . . just a subject matter this reader found a little too dark to digest.