Thursday, September 14, 2017

Book Beginnings: See What I Have Done

See What I Have Done, by Sarah Schmidt (Atlantic Monthly Press, 2017). These are the first sentences of Chapter One:
He was still bleeding. I yelled, 'Someone's killed Father.' I breathed in kerosene air, licked the thickness from my teeth. The clock on the mantel ticked ticked.

About the Book:
When her father and step-mother are found brutally murdered on a summer morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden — thirty two years old and still living at home — immediately becomes a suspect. But after a notorious trial, she is found innocent, and no one is ever convicted of the crime. 
Meanwhile, others in the claustrophobic Borden household have their own motives and their own stories to tell: Lizzie's unmarried older sister, a put-upon Irish housemaid, and a boy hired by Lizzie's uncle to take care of a problem. 
This unforgettable debut makes you question the truth behind one of the great unsolved mysteries, as well as exploring power, violence and the harsh realities of being a woman in late nineteenth century America. (-- NetGalley)
Initial Thoughts:

I like that beginning, the way it starts right in the midst of the action. I also like that bit about the clock tick-ticking. That little refrain gets repeated further on. The Lizzie who's speaking to us here in the opening lines of Sarah Schmidt's debut novel has a way of throwing odd little thoughts out at you. She's not easy to figure out or get comfortable with.

I've read other fictional versions of the Lizzie Borden story, and seen it dramatized (and parodied) several times. Not sure why, but I've always found it an interesting subject. So far, this has been one of the best treatments I've found. Definitely disturbing and chilling — but then it would have to be, wouldn't it?

Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Friday.  As she says, the idea is to post the first sentence (or so) of the book you're currently reading, along with any first impressions or thoughts you have about the book, the author, etc.  It's a wonderful way of adding new books to your must-read list, and a chance to connect with other readers and bloggers.


  1. I've got a copy of this one in my reading pile. Hope you enjoy it.

  2. What an interesting opening. I am fascinated by Lizzie's story. Let me know what you think of it. My Friday Quotes are at the bottom of the review

  3. Oh, yes! This sounds great. I love the cover, too. I will look this one up.

    Here is mine

    I didn't play last week as my laptop died. Like Dr Who - it's now regenerated lol

    Luv Sassy

  4. Sounds interesting. I'm only vaguely familiar with the original crime. Mostly I know the children's rhyme about "forty whacks." I'm featuring Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris this week. Happy reading!

  5. I've been eyeing this book and wanting to know more. Thanks for sharing...and here's mine: “LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE”

  6. I love this cover and the sound of the snippet! I'll have to try it!

    Lauren @ Always Me


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