First Line Friday #32

I have seen the movie countless times, I love Morgan Freeman and Ashley Judd is great as the one who got away. This is another I hope to read at some point (I have such a huge TBR!).  Though it is book two in the Alex Cross series, I think I will be fine reading this one by itself, I wonder how different the movie is from the novel.  And it has a creepy first line:

For three weeks, the young killer actually lived inside the walls of an extraordinary fifteen-room beach house.

In Los Angeles, a reporter investigating a series of murders is killed. In Chapel Hill, North Carolina, a beautiful medical intern suddenly disappears. In Washington D.C. Alex Cross is back to solve the most baffling and terrifying murder case ever. Two clever pattern killers are collaborating, cooperating, competing – and they are working coast to coast.

See What I Have Done

Author: Sarah Schmidt
August 1, 2017
328 pages in Kindle

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: August 2-13, 2017

Jessica’s Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description from Goodreads:

In this riveting debut novel, See What I Have Done, Sarah Schmidt recasts one of the most fascinating murder cases of all time into an intimate story of a volatile household and a family devoid of love.

On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: Someone’s killed Father. The brutal ax-murder of Andrew and Abby Borden in their home in Fall River, Massachusetts, leaves little evidence and many unanswered questions. While neighbors struggle to understand why anyone would want to harm the respected Bordens, those close to the family have a different tale to tell—of a father with an explosive temper; a spiteful stepmother; and two spinster sisters, with a bond even stronger than blood, desperate for their independence.

As the police search for clues, Emma comforts an increasingly distraught Lizzie whose memories of that morning flash in scattered fragments. Had she been in the barn or the pear arbor to escape the stifling heat of the house? When did she last speak to her stepmother? Were they really gone and would everything be better now? Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie, her older sister Emma, the housemaid Bridget, and the enigmatic stranger Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed through a high-wire feat of storytelling.

Jessica’s Review:

Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

Nearly everyone has heard this rhyme and this case.  Andrew and Abby Borden were both brutally murdered in their home with an axe; Andrew’s daughter Lizzie was arrested and brought to trial for their murders. She was found not guilty and the murders are still unsolved today. Sarah Schmidt took a 10 year writing process/obsession and has brought us the fictional account of what led to the murders and afterwards with See What I Have Done.

There are four narrators in See: Lizzie, her sister Emma, Bridget the maid, and the enigmatic Benjamin who is a fictional character. Each narrator brings something different to this very disturbing story and family. It is a slow moving novel that at times can be hard to follow with the narratives. See goes back and forth within the chapters which can be confusing.    I had to reread some paragraphs several times because of the confusion.

There is a timeline included at the end of the novel. I felt that would have been better used at the beginning as an introduction to see where things will go for those who don’t know many details about the case. I felt a “cast of characters” would have been helpful as Schmidt seems to assume that the reader will know who each character is.

Even knowing this novel is fictional, it all seemed very real.  This comes with the in-depth research that Schmidt did. It does make you think about the case and wonder what really happened.  If you are looking for a good fictional introduction to Lizzie Borden, this is the place to start. If you are looking for anything ‘new’ with the case or any conclusions as to who did commit the murders, you will not get that.

Despite the issues I had, Schimidt did a very good job with See, which is her debut novel and it is an accomplishment. Living and breathing Lizzie for 10 years must have affected her as she ‘lived’ with these real people for so long. You can see in the Author Acknowledgements where she thanks Lizzie, but asks her to move on.

I received a copy via NetGalley, thank you so much for my copy!



Release Day for The Scarlet Cord

Today is release for for Debbie McQueen’s novel The Scarlett Cord! It is a fictional retelling of the story of Rahab and the city of Jericho. The story is old, but you’ve never heard the story of Rahab quite like this. The Scarlet Cord is a story of survival, breaking free, finding your place, discovering faith, and finding love.

Print Length: 267 Pages
Publisher: Pronoun
Publication Date: August 15, 2017

The Scarlet Cord is a story of survival, breaking free, finding your place, discovering faith, and finding someone who sees you for who you really are.

Rahab grows up under the harsh rule of her father who forces her to use her body for his gain.  After a great loss, she flees her father’s house, but eventually she falls back into living the life of a harlot in order to survive.  Despite how she lives and what she has endured, she feels a pull towards the stories of the Hebrew people and their God and somehow knows that her future lies with them.  She ends up in the right place and time to be used mightily by the God of the Israelites.  She even finds a love she never thought she would have.

Salmon is a commander among the Hebrew people.  He was born in the desert, and has been wandering all his life.  He has never wed, and feels deeply that God has someone set aside for him.  He just hasn’t met her yet.  Salmon is sent into the city of Jericho as a spy and ends up finding his love in a brave, strong, independent, confident woman, despite that she happens to be a harlot in a godless city.

Buy The Scarlet Cord Now!:
Barnes and Noble
Google Play

About the Author:

Debbie McQueen is a wife to a supportive and kind man and a mother to two amazing girls. She currently earns her paycheck working as a lunch lady, where she loves being able to interact with her students and help provide food for them while they are in school. Debbie values her faith and her family above all else. She has served in ministry at church since she was a teenager in many different ways. She has served in children’s ministry where she loves playing, singing, and helping teach kids. She has also been involved in many study groups, where she first read about Rahab among other Women of the Bible, and fell in love with her story. She has always enjoyed writing, but she really had a desire to write this story and share it with others, and hopes that her daughters will follow her example, and reach for their dreams.

Contact Debbie: