The Book: The Secrets of Lizzie Borden, by Brandy Purdy
The Blurb: 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 Babble: Before reading this book I knew very little of the tale of Lizzie Borden other than the familiar rhyme we used to scare each other with on the playground. I’m not sure how accurate Brandy Purdy’s The Secrets of Lizzie Borden is in regards to Miss Borden’s personal motivations, but I sure do know a lot more about the murders and the events that followed. Purdy weaves together fact, supposition and imagination to create an interesting, enlightening account that begins with Lizzie’s only memory of her mother –who died in a pool of blood when Lizzie was aged three- and ends with Lizzie’s death, a full 30 years after the murders of her father and step-mother. Recommended for light reading for those who can get by without obsessively fact-checking.
The Behest: I received this book free from NetGALLEY. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”