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The Murderer's Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel

by Erika Mailman

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214959,960 (4.19)None
The Bram Stoker Award-winning author brings a legendary murder mystery to life in this "fascinating, mesmerizing [and] darkly atmospheric" thriller (Diana Gabaldon). In The Murderer's Maid, acclaimed author Erika Mailman offering a fresh perspective on the Lizzie Borden murders through the stories of two women more than a century apart. In the 1890s, Irish immigrant Bridget Sullivan works as a maid in the Borden household. Trapped by her servitude, she fears for her own safety as she watches the family's volatile tensions build toward an explosion of violence. In 2016, a Mexican-American woman works a menial job under an assumed name, all to stay one step ahead of the men who want to kill her. The danger Felicita faces is rooted in her family's deadly past. But she has no idea how far back it truly goes...to a notorious 19th century crime. Winner of the IPPY Gold Medal Award and National Indie Excellence Award… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
I read the entire 400 pages in less than 24 hours because once I started this intriguing tale I could not stop! Told primarily from two points of view: in 1892, Bridget, the Irish maid who has the bad luck to work for the Bordens of Fall River, and in 2016, Brooke, the pseudonym of a young woman on the run from menacing intruders who may have killed her mother and want the same fate for her. How the two women's lives intersect across time is part of what makes the tale so interesting. I also enjoyed the intimate look at the lives of women in 19th century Massachusetts: the constraints placed upon them by customs, corsets, and family. Erika Mailman conveys this life with rich language and telling detail, describing the Bordens' home as "pinched and cramped and dire". She creates great suspense with text like this: "He felt very cold suddenly, as if someone had poured well water all over his hot skin. the room seemed very small, hardly enough to contain her silvered rage. He was afraid to look away first. He saw that she was capable of madness." Whether you think you know the Lizzie Borden story or not, if you gravitate to historical fiction or novels that create atmosphere and suspense, you will enjoy The Murderer's Maid. ( )
  AnaraGuard | Nov 1, 2020 |
Anyone who knows me knows I'm obsessed with Lizzie Borden. Ever since I was a girl and watched The Legend of Lizzie Borden (1975), I've been fascinated. I've read a few novels and watched other shows/movies with differing points of view. However, in The Murderer's Maid, it's the first time I've encountered the story told in such a unique way...with a tie to the future.

The author moves seamlessly from 19th century Massachusetts to the present day. She also adds quite a thrilling element to the story, above and beyond an already thrilling (true to life) tale. I found myself lost in the story. Lizzie's story was handled so deftly that the feelings toward Lizzie ran the gamut from complete distrust and fear to utter sympathy and compassion. Feelings which were richly showcased from the maid, Bridget's point of view.

The present day story, Brooke's story, was a twisting and gradually unfolding mystery. Her story is tied to the legend of Lizzie and I found it a satisfying addition to the story. I applaud the author for adding it. The best part...it kept me guessing until the end. I love that!

I can't recommend this book highly enough. Whether the reader is intrigued by Lizzie's legend or not, they will find the story intriguing. Those who do not know much about Lizzie Borden will learn a lot from this book. The author changes some facts, which she explains in her author's note at the end, but the majority of the story is historically accurate. She also recommends a further reading list which I will be exploring in the future. ( )
  TheTrueBookAddict | Mar 22, 2020 |
I have always been fascinated with Lizzie Borden. I share a birthday with her so there is that.. The Murderer's Maid is the story of Lizzie Borden but indirectly as it is written from the perspective of Bridget, the Borden's maid of a few years. I am not sure how I feel about the crime, did she or didn't she, kind of leaning to the fact that she probably did. The Borden household appeared to have been a tense cold place to live in, run by a man who had money but they lived miserly. That would be enough to affect a person mentally in my mind

The parallel story kind of surprised me as I had never really thought about the possibility that there could be descendants of Lizzie. Brooke is a woman who is the daughter of an immigrant maid who has to move around to keep her identity and whereabouts. When she was a girl, her mother had an affair with her boss, the man's wife ends up dead in suspicious circumstances and her mother is to blame, not guilty but to blame, according to the family. Brooke moves around her entire adult life because she thinks that the sons of the woman who died is after her.

Brooke has always been interested in true crime and she starts reading about Lizzie Borden and with her reading, she comes to the realization that she may very well be related to Lizzie. Brooke is a bit messed up, what with her having to be on the run all the time. I found this part of the story quite fascinating. How was Brooke related?

The Murder's Maid was a pleasure to read and gave me more of an insight into the crime. Erika Mailman did extensive work in writing this novel and it showed. I love it when an author puts in Author's Notes in the book, gives the reader a peek into the ways the book has been written. That is why I love historical fiction, it is fiction based on facts and that is fascinating to me. Erika is the author of other historical fiction, of which I need to find and read. I enjoyed her writing in The Murder's Maid and highly recommend this book!! ( )
  celticlady53 | Nov 6, 2017 |
Bridget Sullivan was the Borden’s maid during the time of the murders, she was even home when it happened; however, when was outside washing the windows, a fact that might have saved her life. As the maid, Bridget was privy to much of the Borden’s private quarrels and any inside information of how the strange family lived and gotten along. Bridget’s testimony during Lizzie’s trial had the potential to sway guilt or innocence upon Lizzie. Bridget’s side of the story during the Borden murders is one that is still left to be told. In the present, Brooke , the daughter of a Mexican-American maid shares a distant connection with Lizzie and Bridget. While celebrating the 4th of July with her mothers employer and family, the Carr’s, Mrs. Carr drowns. Years later, Brookes mother is murdered and Brooke receives evidence that she is next, Brooke goes off the grid and moves frequently believing it is the only way to stay alive. It isn’t until Brooke digs into her absent fathers past that she unravels the mystery of the deaths and feels confident to once again live her life.

I have always been in I have always been intrigued by the Lizzie Borden murders and Lizzie Borden herself. I truly do believe that she was a woman out of her time wondered how her life would have been different if she were born a century later. While I cannot say whether not Lizzie was guilty or innocent, I do enjoy reading stories that dare to guess about the true circumstances that happened that day. Replete with historical detail and intense emotion, Bridget's side of the story gave a point of view that I have never heard before. Bridget's place within the family gave her a front row seat to the drama of the Borden's life. Along with her place on that fateful day, Bridget maybe one of the only other people who truly did know what happened to Mr. and Mrs. Borden. Paired with Brooke's story in the modern-day The Murderer's Maid lends an interesting twist. Brooke seems to have much in common with Bridget as the daughter of a maid to a family with many issues themselves. As Brooke finds her life unraveling, she comes across Lizzie’s story and an unlikely connection which helps her bring everything together. I was entranced by the voices of these two women, one of whom history might have swept under the rug due to her position within life and another which modern society might dismiss due to her lot in life. I will continue to be haunted by the Borden murders, and The Murderers Maid has shown me even more nuances to this complicated case.

This book has been received for free in return for an honest review. ( )
  Mishker | Oct 18, 2017 |
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The Bram Stoker Award-winning author brings a legendary murder mystery to life in this "fascinating, mesmerizing [and] darkly atmospheric" thriller (Diana Gabaldon). In The Murderer's Maid, acclaimed author Erika Mailman offering a fresh perspective on the Lizzie Borden murders through the stories of two women more than a century apart. In the 1890s, Irish immigrant Bridget Sullivan works as a maid in the Borden household. Trapped by her servitude, she fears for her own safety as she watches the family's volatile tensions build toward an explosion of violence. In 2016, a Mexican-American woman works a menial job under an assumed name, all to stay one step ahead of the men who want to kill her. The danger Felicita faces is rooted in her family's deadly past. But she has no idea how far back it truly goes...to a notorious 19th century crime. Winner of the IPPY Gold Medal Award and National Indie Excellence Award

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