Author : Cara Robertson
Title : The Trial of Lizzie Borden
Pages : 375
Publisher : Simon & Schuster
Publication date : March 12, 2019
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
When Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally hacked to death in Fall River, Massachusetts, in August of 1892, the arrest of the couple’s daughter Lizzie turned the case into international news and her trial into a spectacle unparalleled in American history. Reporters flocked to the scene. Well-known columnists took up conspicuous seats in the courtroom. The defendant was relentlessly scrutinized for signs of guilt or innocence. Everyone—rich and poor, suffragists and social conservatives, legal scholars and laypeople—had an opinion about Lizzie Borden’s guilt or innocence.
The popular fascination with the Borden murders and its central, enigmatic character has endured for more than a hundred years, but the legend often outstrips the story. Based on transcripts of the Borden legal proceedings, contemporary newspaper articles, previously withheld lawyer’s journals, unpublished local reports, and recently unearthed letters from Lizzie herself, The Trial of Lizzie Borden is a definitive account of the Borden murder case and offers a window into America in the Gilded Age, showcasing its most deeply held convictions and its most troubling social anxieties.
| MY THOUGHTS |
Lizzie Borden. A name that went down in history but for all the wrong reasons. I didn’t know anything about her, apart from why her name is so well known and I feel that served me really well when reading this account of her trial as I had no idea of the outcome.
August, 1892. Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, are found brutally murdered at their home. With only two people at the house around the time of the murders, suspicion quickly falls onto Andrew’s youngest daughter, Lizzie. With a well to-do family and two gruesome murders in a small town, it’s easy to see why this case was such a big deal in its day and also why it still appeals to people around the world today.
It’s obvious from the start that author Cara Robertson has done her research. Using transcripts and reporter’s notes throughout, I almost felt like I was right there, especially during the trial itself. It was like being a member of the jury, getting all the information and being allowed the opportunity to decide for myself which side of the fence I would land on. There are photos of the victims for instance, plans of the layout of the house and the street it was located in and I scrutinised them all like an amateur detective, ruling theories out left, right and centre and coming to my own conclusion.
Admittedly, it wasn’t all exciting. There is a part in the middle, dealing with the trial mostly from the prosecutor’s side, that dragged a little too much for me. However, I assumed the actual jury members probably felt the same way so that seemed rather apt to me. On top of that, there was a huge amount of rolling the eyes and facepalming, particularly about the way women and their actions were described. That “hysterical” label for instance, but also how all women apparently turn into some kind of demon when on their “monthlies”.
I’ve not had the best results with non-fiction in the past but The Trial of Lizzie Borden really held my attention, apart from that dip in the middle. Based on the information at hand, the jury members reached the right conclusion but the question remains. Was Lizzie guilty or not? I’ve made up my mind.
The Trial of Lizzie Borden is available to buy!
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Book 18 from my 20 Books of Summer list.
I read See What I Have Done which also covered the Lizzie Borden story and I didn’t like the writing style at all in that one… I think I’d have had better luck reading this novel. Wonderful review Eva!
So what do you think guilty or not?
Fab review! A shame about the middle part, but I do love the sound of this non fiction read. xx
This sounds right up my street! I shall attempt not to read it while on my monthlies though, in case I go mad and stuff the book up some misogynist’s nostril…