Lizzie by Dawn Ius
Seventeen-year-old Lizzie Borden has never been kissed. Polite but painfully shy, Lizzie prefers to stay in the kitchen, where she can dream of becoming a chef and escape her reality. With tyrannical parents who force her to work at the family’s B&B and her blackout episodes—a medical condition that has plagued her since her first menstrual cycle—Lizzie longs for a life of freedom, the time and space to just figure out who she is and what she wants.
Enter the effervescent, unpredictable Bridget Sullivan. Bridget has joined the B&B’s staff as the new maid, and Lizzie is instantly drawn to her artistic style and free spirit—even her Star Wars obsession is kind of cute. The two of them forge bonds that quickly turn into something that’s maybe more than friendship.
But when her parents try to restrain Lizzie from living the life she wants, it sparks something in her that she can’t quite figure out. Her blackout episodes start getting worse, her instincts less and less reliable. Lizzie is angry, certainly, but she also feels like she’s going mad…
I was sold as soon as I saw that this was about Lizzie Borden. I knew I would like it and wasn’t wrong.
This is a modern take on Lizzie Borden. The story takes place now, but still had a lot of the elements from the true events. Lizzie has a medical condition that makes her black out the second her period arrives every month. She doesn’t remember anything from during the blackouts. This happens right as the new maid, Bridget, arrives. Bridget is a beautiful free spirit and Lizzie is drawn to her immediately. They start spending all their spare time together. Bridget makes Lizzie believe that she’s beautiful and that she can leave her house and be free, too.
But Lizzie has been told by her father and step mom that she’s crazy and that she can never make it on her own. They force her to take meds for her depression, but she starts flushing them. When she’s with Bridget, she feels alive and happy. But there are some very dark internal moments for her. She pictures horrible things in her head, mostly involving her step mom. Lizzie is also very religious, but she finds herself ignoring church. She falls in love with Bridget, but knows how the church feels about it.
The story really felt like I was watching a person’s mental health slowly unravel. I started wondering, like Lizzie, what was real and what wasn’t. I felt that the writing was well done and I was able to visualize things, even when I maybe didn’t want to. I read this quickly and found it hard to put down at times.
Warnings for abuse, cutting, and mental health issues.
I gave this one 4 stars. I really enjoyed it and hope that you do, too. Thank you to Edelweiss and Simon for my copy for review.
Do you like retellings like this? Does the Lizzie Borden story intrigue?