Sunday, February 18, 2018

Review: The Murderer's Maid

The Murderer’s Maid
by Erika Mailman

Why did you choose this book? I have always been intrigued by the Lizzie Borden story
When did you read this book? February 2018
Who should read this book? Fans of historical fiction and crime stories
Source: HFVBT contest
My Rating:  ★★★★ ½   4½ Stars

Here is a synopsis of The Murderer’s Maid from Goodreads

Bram Stoker Award finalist Erika Mailman brings the true story of the brutal murder of Lizzie Borden's father and stepmother into new focus by adding a riveting contemporary narrative.

The Murderer's Maid interweaves the stories of two women: one, the servant of infamous Lizzie Borden, and the other a modern-day barista fleeing from an attempt on her life.

Trapped by servitude and afraid for her own safety, Irish maid Bridget finds herself an unwilling witness to the tensions in the volatile Borden household. As Lizzie seethes with resentment, Bridget tries to perform her duties and keep her mouth shut.

Unknowingly connected to the legendary crime of a century ago, Brooke, the illegitimate daughter of an immigrant maid, struggles to conceal her identity and stay a jump ahead of the men who want to kill her. When she unexpectedly falls in love with Anthony, a local attorney, she has to decide whether to stop running and begin her life anew.

With historical detail and taut, modern storytelling, Erika Mailman writes a captivating novel about identity, choices, freedom, and murder. She offers readers a fresh perspective on the notorious crime and explores the trials of immigrants seeking a better life while facing down fear and oppression, today and throughout history. Intelligent and detailed, The Murderer's Maid is a gripping read from beginning to bloody conclusion.

My Review

Like many people, I’ve been intrigued by the Lizzie Borden story for a long time. Did she do it? 125 years later we still don’t know. Everyone has their theories and they are all interesting. Author Erika Mailman has looked at the evidence and and written told her story through the viewpoint of the Bordens’ Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.

This story would have been enough for me, but we get a bonus story that ties in, but takes place over 100 years later! This is the story of Brooke, a contemporary young woman who was orphaned as a young child and has been ‘hunted’ ever since. She lives under an assumed name, moving frequently to avoid her potential killer, and never staying long enough to make a friend or have a real relationship. It did take me a little while to get into that story, but once it developed, I couldn’t wait to read it!

As historical fiction, the story does exactly what I want—it gives me facts that are well integrated into a hard-to-put-down story and has me running to Google to learn more! I loved that the endpapers had an illustration of the floor plan of the Borden house to easily refer to as I read the story. It really helped me to visualize what was happening as I read Lizzie’s story! There are also photos and illustrations to add to the atmosphere of the story. At one point Brooke visited the Borden house, now open as a bed and breakfast, and we get even more atmosphere!

I also enjoyed the contemporary mystery-romance story. It was a little slow to develop, but I quickly grew to like Brooke and care about her. Learning her background and why she was on the run kept me reading. While the way her story ended was not completely surprising, it also was not predictable, and left me satisfied. And of course, while reading Brooke’s story, we learn how the two stories are connected.

If you want to learn more about the book, visit the author’s website and read her blog posts about Lizzie Borden.
If you’d like to learn more about Lizzie Borden and the Borden murders’ visit The Lizzie Borden Virtual Museum and Library.
If you would like to read a story told from Lizzie’s point of view, check out The Secrets of Lizzie Borden.

I received my copy of this book as the winner of a contest on the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours website.

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  1. This sounds like an interesting read. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Looks good...thanks for sharing.

  3. How interesting! That is a fascinating story and I like how it also has a modern twist. Thanks for sharing!

  4. This sounds like a fun read! I like my historical fiction to be a mix of factual information and a gripping story too :)

  5. I haven't heard of this book before. It sounds interesting!