Who was Lizzie Borden? A confused young woman, or a coldhearted killer? For generations, people all over the world have wondered how Andrew Borden and his second wife, Abby, met their gruesome deaths. Lizzie, Andrew's younger daughter, was charged, but a jury took only 90 minutes to find her not guilty. In this retelling, the family maid, Bridget Sullivan, shines a compassionate light on a young woman oppressed by her cheap father and her ambitious stepmother. Was Lizzie mad, or was she driven to madness?
SWEET MADNESS shows what might have lead up to the murders. Readers sees the Borden family life through the eyes of Lizzie's maid, Bridget Sullivan. She sees Lizzie as a sad person stifled with having any kind of life by her greedy, cruel father. But that doesn't stop Bridget from condoning Lizzie's bizarre behavior and the doubts that surface that she might in fact be insane.
What worked: This is a very intriguing glimpse into Lizzie Borden's persona. I really like seeing Lizzie through the eyes of her compassionate maid who hasn't been prejudiced by what the town and others have whispered about the Borden family. But even then? Bridget shows her own feelings on how unfair Lizzie is treated by a cruel father who feels that by controlling her and stopping her from having any romantic interests that he'll stop the 'curse'. I'm assuming the curse in this case is a form of mental illness. I do know that mental illness does run in families but the way Lizzie's father tried to stop it from continuing was downright cruel.
Bridget is a compassionate maid whose empathy to Lizzie's plight has her pushing aside her own worries on some bizarre behavior happening inside the house. I liked her courage and even spunk when standing up for Lizzie when others around her, including her boyfriend, say she's crazy.
If you're looking for answers to what happened, this isn't the book. Was she a murderess? Or a young woman driven to madness? If anything the ending left me wondering more about Lizzie and had me Googling about that fateful crime. When a book has you wondering and searching for more on the subject, that's a sign the authors achieved their goal.
Engaging historical novel that gives readers another glimpse into the infamous Lizzie Borden.