A Review of THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN by Cara Robertson

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THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN by Cara Robertson – a nonfiction, true crime account of the infamous Lizzie Borden trial – will be published March 12th 2019 by Simon & Schuster.

Like many people, I’ve been fascinated by Lizzie Borden for as long as I can remember. Did she or didn’t she brutally murder her father and stepmother on an August morning in 1892? There is no question that Abby and Andrew Borden were murdered, but, over a hundred-and-twenty-five years later, the identity of the killer remains a mystery. Between books, research papers, movies, and documentaries, countless people have put forth their theories and opinions on who murdered the Bordens and why. Some are plausible. Others are laughable. All are interesting. But none of them can answer the question of whether it was Lizzie Borden – the thirty-plus year-old spinster who still resided in her father’s unhappy home along with him, her stepmother, and her sister – or someone else who picked up an axe and hacked her father and stepmother to death. In 1892, Lizzie made the best suspect considering she was home during the murders, had no alibi, and had motive. The case and trial weren’t just a local curiosity in Massachusetts; the world was fascinated with Lizzie’s trial. The jury acquitted Lizzie, but no one else was ever arrested for the murders.

THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN is a thoroughly researched recounting of the murders, the police investigation, and the trial. Cara Robertson put in over twenty years of research – and it shows. She quotes from the trial transcripts, newspaper reports, and Lizzie’s personal letters. Robertson states the facts as they are known, laying out a detailed retelling of the entire drama from the murders through acquittal. She also presents the facts within historical context – giving the reader a better of idea of how life was during the Gilded Age and what it was like to be a woman back in the late 1800s. Because Robertson relies so much on the facts, the book can get a bit dry and tedious at times, but it is still an interesting, readable book. THE TRIAL OF LIZZIE BORDEN is a must read for anyone interested in Lizzie Borden. Robertson won’t convince you either way on Lizzie’s guilt or innocence, but she lays out the facts and lets the readers decide.

As for me, I can’t say Lizzie Borden did it. But I can’t say she didn’t do it either.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.