The Secrets of Lizzie Borden by Brandy Purdy


Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, American History

Pages: 384

Published by Kensington Books

Release date: January 26th, 2016




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.


I was overjoyed about this read. I am from Massachusetts and not only that but I live 20 minutes away from the Borden House in Fall River. New Bedford, Fairhaven and Swansea are places well known to me. Lizzie Borden is also a huge deal in the area and something I grew up with, just like Pilgrims and Salem witches.

I was so happy to see this book and even the beginning of the book was quite promising, an insight into Lizzie’s life or thought process albeit a fictional one? Yes, please!

However, this book wasn’t at all what I was expecting and now that I’m sitting here typing this out I’m not sure what I was expecting. I know that I wasn’t expecting erotic scenes with Lizzie, I know that I wasn’t expecting this kind of spin on the tale I know so well.

Although everything is told around the epic events that brought Lizzie Borden infamy I believe it is the lesser scene in the book. I felt at times there was so much detail focusing on dresses and planting us in the era that a lot of depth to the story was lost.

It was a strange read for me… but I did want to know more about this particular Lizzie, I wanted to know how her life in this book ended.

It was an “Okay” read for me.


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