Series: The Borden Dispatches #1
Author: Cherie Priest
Publication Date: 2nd September 2014
Genres: fiction, historical, horror, medical, mystery, paranormal, romance, science
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Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....
The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.
But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.
This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.
If you like Lovecraftian themes but with less racism then you may well enjoy this book. A twist on the Lizzie Borden tale that was really quite an interesting read.
I really enjoyed this. I love murder mysteries and the fact that the Borden murders have always been unsolved – Lizzie was cleared of any wrongdoing due to lack of evidence more than anything else – makes them that little bit more interesting. The reason they remain unsolved in this book is a great one.
Maplecroft is written in diary-like form from about 4 different perspectives – those of Lizzie and Emma Borden (the original Borden sisters), a doctor who is friendly to the girls and attends to Emma’s health, and an eminent scientist whom Emma writes to under an assumed male psudeonym.
One interesting plot difference is that Lizzie’s sister Emma is still with her in this book – in reality she had left Lizzie either during or shortly after the original murder trial. Emma is also dying from consumption (tuberculosis) and an avid scientist. Emma’s avid interest in science winds up accidently forming a major plot point, which goes from interesting to YIKES! THAT EVOLVED QUICKLY!
Lizzie is also in a lesbian relationship with a younger woman. Of course it’s all very hush hush but everyone knows even though Emma is supposed to not know what happens behind the walls of her sister’s bedroom. As she said, if Lizzie didn’t want her to know, she wouldn’t have been so loud.
The Lovecraftian themes were really well done – I personally can’t read proper Lovecraftian fiction as it gives me the creeps, but this was just nicely enough done that it added a few layers of creepy, with the aforementioned yikes, and it was intriguing enough to keep you wanting more as the dots were connected.
In all if you are after a bit of difference in your supernatural stories, and you like a twist on a real-life murder story, then you might like to check this one out.