The story of Lizzie Borden, creatively reimagined and set in the 21st century.
Present-tense narrator Lizbeth Borden lives with her father and stepmother in the Borden Bed and Breakfast in Fall River, Massachusetts. The white 17-year-old’s life isn’t easy: her emotionally and physically abusive parents have convinced the devoutly Catholic Lizzie that she’s too fragile to survive without them. Lizzie’s intense sense of Catholic guilt prevents her from pushing back, and her older sister’s escape from their toxic home makes Lizzie’s plight all the more painful. Lizzie is mentally and physically ill; she suffers from depression and anxiety and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome, a chronic condition aggravated by her period. The illness makes her do strange, inexplicable—and sometimes horrific—things she can’t remember doing. Enter Bridget Sullivan, the B&B’s new maid, a lovely white girl with an Irish accent. Lizzie is attracted to her from the moment she shows up on the Bordens’ doorstep. Bridget is everything Lizzie isn’t: well-traveled, sexually liberated, and free from shame and self-doubt. As the girls’ romantic relationship deepens, Bridget’s belief that Lizzie can be more than just her “father’s silly little girl” gives Lizzie the strength to disobey her parents and the power to take control of her own life. In this page-turner, Ius adroitly combines fact and hypothesis to explore one of the most notorious and unsolved murder cases in U.S. history.
Startling, visceral, and heartbreaking. (author’s note) (Fiction. 15-adult)