See What I Have Done By Sarah Schmidt: Book Review & Summary

See What I Have Done By Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt

See What I Have Done: An Intriguing Tale of Murder and Mystery

Welcome to the world of Sarah Schmidt’s “See What I Have Done”. This intriguing work of fiction takes readers on a journey filled with mystery, suspense, and plot twists that keep you guessing until the very end. The book follows the notorious case of Lizzie Borden, a young woman accused of murdering her father and stepmother with an axe in the late 1800s. This work takes great care to provide a keen insight into Lizzie’s life, along with the characters around her, and immerses you in the world of this spine-chilling true story.

Sarah Schmidt is an Australian author who has done a remarkable job in recreating a historically accurate account of the infamous Lizzie Borden case. The author’s in-depth research and attention to detail provide vivid descriptions of the characters and their predicaments as they were in reality.

Themes and Ideas Presented in “See What I Have Done”

The book revolves around the gruesome murder of the Borden family. However, it is not just a simple account of the murders. Instead, it presents a fascinating exploration of family dynamics, mental instability, and the mystery surrounding the case. One of the most notable themes explored in the book is the concept of family loyalty and betrayal. Through her characters, the author provides a chilling insight into the complexities of the Borden family’s relationships and the extent to which they would go for one another.

The author also explores the theme of societal expectations and restrictions, particularly for young women in the 1800s. Lizzie’s character is a perfect depiction of the constraints placed on women during that era, and we see how her unorthodox actions and thoughts clash with the traditional expectations of society.

Alongside these themes, “See What I Have Done” presents a captivating array of characters from the Borden family and their acquaintances. Through this, the author offers a lens into the complexities of human nature and the twisted motivations for each person’s actions.

Evaluation of the Writing Style

Sarah Schmidt’s writing style is bold, vivid, and descriptive, contributing to the book’s overall captivating tone. The language and imagery used are evocative, bringing alive the characters and the world around them with vividness and immediacy. The overall tone of the book is dark and unsettling, perfectly capturing the sinister atmosphere of the story.

What stands out in the writing is the way the author has chosen to switch perspectives from character to character. This provides a more comprehensive understanding of the events and individuals surrounding the case, enabling a greater depth of insight into the story’s many mysteries. However, this can also be a downside, as at certain points, the shifts in perspective can be complicated and disjointing, making it hard to follow at times.

Strengths and Weaknesses

One of the novel’s most significant strengths is its ability to evoke a sense of horror and mystery while preserving historical accuracy. The author’s effective use of language and descriptions leaves a haunting impression on the reader, augmenting the book’s overall atmosphere. The characters’ depth of personality contributes to the complex nature of the book, which never feels forced or contrived.

However, for some readers, the book could feel too slow-paced, with its intricate descriptions and creeping pace, leading to periods where there seems to be little occurring. The gore in the book could also be considered excessive by some readers, despite staying true to the gruesome nature of the events that occurred.


Sarah Schmidt’s “See What I Have Done” is a well-crafted work of fiction that delves deep into the Borden murders, providing a compelling and insightful retelling of the mystery. The book’s historical accuracy combined with the author’s masterful writing results in an eerie and visceral reading experience that will stay with you long after you finish it. Overall, this book is a must-read for mystery and true crime enthusiasts and anyone who enjoys a good murder mystery that turns the spotlight on human nature’s darker aspects.


Is “See What I Have Done” based on a true story?

As the story follows the infamous case of Lizzie Borden and the murder of her father and step-mother in 1892, this book takes all its central events from that historical context. Though certain events and conversations of the book are creative retelling from the author’s imagination, much of it is based on actual interviews and reports.

Who is “See What I Have Done” recommended for?

This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in true crime, historical fiction, or mystery novels. The stand-out writing style and complex characters will hook a wide variety of book lovers, but it must be noted that the book does contain gore that might not be suitable for some readers.

Are there any other true crime books that you would recommend to readers who enjoyed “See What I Have Done”?

If you enjoyed “See What I Have Done,” some other non-fiction crime books worth checking out include “In Cold Blood” by Truman Capote, “The Stranger Beside Me” by Ann Rule, and “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt.

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