Did she or didn't she?

The Secrets of Lizzie Borden - Brandy Purdy

I would think most everyone has heard of Lizzie Borden, acquitted of murdering her stepmother and father in Fall Rivers, Massachusetts in 1892. Acquitted because at that time there just was not enough evidence to convict her of the crime. Did she or didn't she? I tend to think that she did and was very clever covering it up or as is indicated in the book, she had help cleaning up from the servant Bridget. I also believe that she had a lot of provocation and felt justified in what she did. I have always been interested in the story of Lizzie Borden, plus the fact that we share a birthday, so this book was kind of special and I was eager to read it.

Brandy Purdy brings to life the lives of Lizzie, her sister Emma and the Borden family and their circumstances. Andrew Borden was extremely rich but a spendthrift and miserly in how he managed his money. At such a time and with the money he had, the Borden family could have had a life of luxury or, at least, comfortable. That was not the case, though, they did not even have electricity, it was available, and their bathing and toileting facilities were primitive at best. 

Stepmother Abby Durfee Gray Borden came into Lizzie and her sister Emma's lives after their mother died. Lizzie was quite young and took to Abby as she needed a mother figure. Emma on the other hand never did like her because she had promised her mother that she and only she would take care of Lizzie. She felt that Abby did not belong in their lives and did everything she could to make Lizzie hate Abby. Why was she killed? Maybe it was just because the hatred was such that she had to be killed or she knew something that would cause Lizzie a lot of trouble with her father.

After Lizzie is acquitted, we learn in the book of her life after that incident. Of how she spent a lot of money for her pleasure, a new home, furnishings, dresses, jewelry etc. She traveled a lot especially in Europe looking for someone to love her but never really finding it. Lizzie did find short-lived affairs with both men and women but never did find her true love. Such a sad life. Even if she did commit the murders and was looking for freedom, which she got, she was never happy and died a lonely woman amongst her luxuries.

Murder is a crime and if she had done it presently, it is highly unlikely that she would have been acquitted. There was no forensics to speak of back then. I really believe that this was a crime of passion and that is how this book is written. With the author's gift for telling a story, very descriptive and researched The Secrets of Lizzie Borden is something a bit different for the historical fiction reader. I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.