Friday, January 15, 2016

ARC Review: The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller

Title: The Borden Murder: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century
Written by: Sarah Miller
Published: January 12, 2016 by Schwartz & Wade (Random House)
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: Here’s middle-grade nonfiction that reads like a thriller. With murder, court battles, and sensational newspaper headlines, the story of Lizzie Borden is compulsively readable and perfect for the Common Core. 

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

In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892, murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. Most of what is known about Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial (and acquittal) comes from sensationalized newspaper reports; as Miller sorts fact from fiction, and as a legal battle gets under way, a gripping portrait of a woman and a town emerges. 

With inserts featuring period photos and newspaper clippings—and, yes, images from the murder scene—readers will devour this nonfiction book that reads like fiction.

**** I received and advance copy of this book from the published via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This fact has not changed my opinion.***

I don't read a lot of non-fiction. It's not that I don't like it, it's just not my preference. But every once in awhile I see a book that sounds so interesting I can't pass it up. So when I saw this on Netgalley I grabbed a copy.

The Borden Murders is definitely an interesting read. It's marketed as Middle Grade non-fiction and it does in fact read like non-fiction. It had a read True Crime kind of feel to it as the writer took you through the process of The Murder of Andrew Borden and his wife, then the accusation and trial of Lizzie Borden for the murder. As someone who isn't really a fan of non-fiction, I did find it a little dry at times. There were moments in fact where it even read a bit like a text book. Throughout the narratives there were asides where certain historical things would be mentioned like the fashion of the time or how the house would be set up. While it did add to the context for what they may had been referring too, as a faction fan it took me out of the larger narrative of the story. These were the moments that made me realize why this would be categorized as middle grade. However, as a history fan it was interesting to get that context. I definitely learned something about the period and I always appreciate that.

What kept me reading despite the fact that it is non-fiction was that the subject matter. True Crime kind of mysteries are so interesting that it never felt dull. This really was the trial of the century. Over 120 years later, the murder of the Bordens and acquittal of Lizzie is something still so intriguing. What I liked most about this was that it really did present an unbiased view of the case. It presented all the information and allowed you to come to your own conclusions. Did Lizzie do it? I don't know. I still don't know and that's what was so interesting. You might know that I'm a big fan of mysteries and I love being able to solve them. In the case of this book, it was kind of fun not to have an answer. It kept me questioning and wondering which was really fun. Plus like a lot of True Crime stories, it was more about the criminal justice system. It was so interesting to see that even back then, trials go a very particular way and that it's not even really about innocence but more about could someone else have done it. It definitely makes you think about the criminal justice system.

On the whole, The Borden Murders was a fast and engaging read. I'm not a big fan of non-fiction but this kept me reading from start to finish and with it's honest presentation of the trial and information surrounding the murders it kept me curious and questioning.

I give The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller 7.5 out of 10

Buy/Borrow/Bypass: Borrow. If you are at all interested in Lizzie Borden, True Crime stories, or just want a different kind on non-fiction book then check this one out. It was a good read and I'm glad I gave it a try.

Have you read The Borden Murders? What did you think? What are some non-fiction reads that you have enjoyed? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and HAPPY READING!


  1. I've always been very curious about that particular case, and although I don't read all that much non-fiction as of late, this sounds like one I might like!

    1. I've always been curious about this case too. That's why I gave this one a go and I found it really interesting.

  2. I've read very few true crime books, but this one definitely sounds interesting! I know absolutely nothing about this case, so I think this would probably make it even more interesting to find out if she actually did it! I'm glad you enjoyed this book even if you didn't love it. Great review :D

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. It was good. Definitely interesting. I'm considering checking out my True Crime stuff. It's definitely interesting.

  3. This one looks really Interesting to me, but I don't know how much I would like it if it's a middle grade book. I'm worried it will be too childish for me. Great review though!

    1. It doesn't really read young. It's pretty intense at times. I think it's just that it has a textbook kind of feel. But I liked it.