The Murderer’s Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel

Written by Erika Mailman
Review by Wendy Zollo

Erika Mailman brings to life the story of the Borden murders, inflating new life into the oft-told tale by using the perspective of the Bordens’ maid, Bridget, and divulging a present-day account of a young, unknowing descendant of Lizzie’s.

Bridget finds herself sympathetic to the plight of Abby Borden, stepmother to Lizzie and Emma in this highly dysfunctional and strained family. This wealthy household lives more than frugally and with very little open affection. However, based on Bridget’s telling, Abby did have some care for her stepdaughters, but a pivotal, selfish moment solely instigated by the sisters forever cut her off emotionally from them.

Brooke has been on the move all her adult life, the consequence of aging out of the foster system following her mother’s murder; she also has a sense of impending danger. Brooke has a backstory that evolves over the course of the novel, and which also brings into question some of her careless motives and actions.

While the two stories don’t necessarily intersect they compellingly energize each other. The Murderer’s Maid is an absorbing tale, and if it sometimes becomes disjointed between its two universes, the slips are forgivable in light of the originality of the author’s perspective on an overworked story.