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.
Purdy (The Ripper's Wife) breathes life and depth into Elizabeth Borden, one of the most infamous figures in American history, with mixed results. In Fall River, Mass., in 1878, 17-year-old Lizzie lives with her father, Andrew Jackson Borden, a successful and unscrupulous businessman, and her stepmother, the kindhearted Abby Durfee Gray. Lizzie still mourns the death of her own mother, and lives in fear of her domineering, often cruel, father. The narrative reads like a diary, mainly covering the events between 1878 and 1926, including her trial after the murders of Andrew and Abby. Lizzie shares lurid details about her family life, her fantasies, and her attraction to both men and women. She often acts like a cloying, poor little rich girl, but there are glimpses of a young woman who just wants to live her life on her own terms. Readers who like their historicals spicy will enjoy this tabloid-esque treatment of the notorious Lizzie's life and crimes.