Nominated by:

National Library of Australia, Canberra

State Library of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia

Nottingham City Libraries, UK

Publisher of nominated edition:

Tinder Press, UK

Hachette, Australia.

See What I Have Done

Sarah Schmidt      

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.

About the author

Sarah Schmidt  is a librarian from Melbourne. She became obsessed with the Borden story after coming across Lizzie’s case by chance in a second-hand bookstore and her passionate research has even taken her to stay for several nights in the Borden house.

Librarians’ comments

Sarah Schmidt’s compelling novel has received wide acclaim and numerous accolades since it’s release including Winner of the Mud Literary Award, longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2018, shortlisted for the Australian Book Industry Awards Literary Fiction of the Year 2018 and shortlisted for the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction 2018 among others. Schmidt’s book takes an incredibly unique look in the mind of Lizzie Borden, famously accused of murdering her father and stepmother in 1892. Based on the true story of Andrew and Abby Borden who were murdered in their home in Massachusetts, See What I have Done is a haunting tale of the past. Through the eyes of Lizzie’s sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, the enigmatic stranger Benjamin and the beguiling Lizzie herself, Schmidt takes readers to the events that happened that day at Fall River.

See What I Have Done was selected by Victorian public librarian vote from a list of nominations complied by State Library Victoria.

This is an amazing debut novel which stays in the mind long after reading it. It is a disturbing and claustrophobic look at the lives of Lizzie Borden and her family. It is a very vivid novel, employing different characters points of view to create a portrait of a family who hide very dark secrets and obsessions. Her style of writing and descriptive passages make this a really unique narrative.

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