Happy Halloween, guys!
We're lighting up pumpkins and putting out candy, and what better way to celebrate today than spotlighting a creepy, life-is-weirder than fiction book?
Which is why, we're happy to be hosting one of the stops for the upcoming book, The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century. This is an intriguing MG/YA non-fiction book, which recounts the infamous Lizzie Borden murder trial for younger readers.
Read on for our thoughts + a giveaway!
Expected publication: 2016 by Schwartz & Wade
In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892, murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. Most of what is known about Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial (and acquittal) comes from sensationalized newspaper reports; as Miller sorts fact from fiction, and as a legal battle gets under way, a gripping portrait of a woman and a town emerges.
With inserts featuring period photos and newspaper clippings—and, yes, images from the murder scene—readers will devour this nonfiction book that reads like fiction.
However, I didn't know too much about the actual history behind the murders and subsequent trial, so I was definitely intrigued by Sarah Miller's book. She begins by going straight to the day of the murder, recounting Lizzie's initial discovery of her father's body, and the fallout that happened immediately afterward.
Justice is swift and gossip-ridden in Lizzie's small town, and Miller paints a thorough and interesting picture of innuendo combined with grim police work, as the police and special investigators try to piece together just what led to the death of Lizzie's father and stepmother.
Miller is especially adept at showing how the blame eventually lands on Lizzie, thoughtfully analyzing both the strangeness of her behavior in the days and weeks after the deaths, while also providing plausible explanations for them - e.g. while there has been much focus historically on Lizzie's confused testimony, Miller points out that Lizzie was likely subdued medically, in an effort to keep her calm.
With photographs of the key players and sidebars of help information - e.g. a description of an inquest - included in the text, Miller gives readers helpful context, and adds to her overall recounting of the trial and beyond. All in all, this is an intriguing read that nicely introduces a grisly topic, and will appeal to many readers, especially reluctant ones.
Bottom line: This book is a intriguing, if somewhat grisly read, and will appeal to readers both young and old.
For futher reading/watching:
Here are a couple of venues where you can check out more on Lizzie, in both non-fiction and fiction formats:
Lizzie Borden Took an Ax (Lifetime)
(Tom: "It's all actually kind of terrible, so save yourselves and read the book instead!")
Supernatural: The Thin Lizzie Episode (CW)
Biography: A documentary on Lizzie Borden, a Woman Accused
And finally.... A little movie news.
However, what's the fun in all of this if you don't have the book to read? So...
Let us know why you want to read this book, and why Lizzie Borden is intersting to you! US/INT. Ends 11/12.
About the author:
Sarah Miller is the author of two historical fiction novels, Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller, which was called “an accomplished debut” in a starred review fromBooklist and was named an ALA-ALSC Notable Children’s Book, and The Lost Crown, about the Romanovs, hailed as “fascinating” in a starred review from Kirkus Reviews and named an ALA-YALSA Best Book for Young Adults.