Elizabeth Engstrom Lizzie Borden

ISBN 13: 9780312861544

Lizzie Borden

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9780312861544: Lizzie Borden
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"Lizzie Borden took an axe . . ". Or did she? One hundred years ago, Andrew and Abby Borden were brutally murdered. Their youngest daughter Lizzie was arrested and tried for the killings and--shockingly to many--was found innocent.

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Review:

Elizabeth Engstrom's Lizzie Borden is not a true crime book, but rather an exquisitely crafted novel about a bright young woman whose filial love is strained to the limits by poverty and the desire to break free of a stifling family. The central characters, the oppressive summer heat, and the floor plan are drawn from the 1892 Massachusetts case in which Lizzie Borden was tried for the presumed hatchet murders (the weapon was never found) of her father and stepmother, and acquitted of the crime. But the personalities and motivations of the characters are the author's own invention. As she puts it, "My purpose is not to offend; it is to justify." And justify she does--if violence is ever justifiable--as we learn of the peculiar architecture, both physical and psychological, of a family whose every movement seems designed to torment poor Lizzie. This is a grim, alluring, and vividly sexual story.

From Publishers Weekly:

In Engstrom's fictional treatment of the famous Lizzie Borden murder case of 1892--in which Lizzie allegedly kills both her parents but is acquitted--every door in the Borden house in Fall River, Mass., is metaphorically locked, and each room holds the terrible secrets of its occupant. Emma, Lizzie's older sister, wracked by uncontrollable rages, periodically flees to New Bedford to assuage her surreptitious appetites for sex, drink and violence. Paterfamilias Andrew Borden, tyrannical and penurious in equal measure, loves nothing but money (which he hoards obsessively), concealing his sinful thoughts and acts from his obese second wife, Abby. Lizzie appears to be a serene young woman, but only because, in the author's view, she has repressed another self--angry and long denied, it burns to emerge. At first Engstrom ( Black Ambrosia ) skillfully and subtly builds a psychological plot, moving the reader inexorably toward the anticipated savage denouement. But the very same restraint and innuendo used to good effect in the novel's early portions ill serve the final bloodbath, which approaches anticlimax. Engstrom's supernatural solution to a crime so inimitably real is a cop-out.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Engstrom, Elizabeth
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