Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Murderer's Maid by Erika Mailman - #review #giveaway

Bram Stoker Award finalist Erika Mailman brings the true story of the brutal murder of Lizzie Borden’s father and stepmother into new focus by adding a riveting contemporary narrative.

The Murderer’s Maid interweaves the stories of two women: one, the servant of infamous Lizzie Borden, and the other a modern-day barista fleeing from an attempt on her life.

Trapped by servitude and afraid for her own safety, Irish maid Bridget finds herself an unwilling witness to the tensions in the volatile Borden household. As Lizzie seethes with resentment, Bridget tries to perform her duties and keep her mouth shut.

Unknowingly connected to the legendary crime of a century ago, Brooke, the illegitimate daughter of an immigrant maid, struggles to conceal her identity and stay a jump ahead of the men who want to kill her. When she unexpectedly falls in love with Anthony, a local attorney, she has to decide whether to stop running and begin her life anew.

With historical detail and taut, modern storytelling, Erika Mailman writes a captivating novel about identity, choices, freedom, and murder. She offers readers a fresh perspective on the notorious crime and explores the trials of immigrants seeking a better life while facing down fear and oppression, today and throughout history. Intelligent and detailed, The Murderer’s Maid is a gripping read from beginning to bloody conclusion.

“Fascinating, mesmerizing, and so darkly atmospheric that you keep looking over your shoulder as you read.” ―Diana Gabaldon, internationally-bestselling author of the Outlander series

“The Murderer’s Maid is a fascinating and deeply chilling tale. Erika Mailman weaves a story that is by turns poignant, compelling, and murderously suspenseful.” ―Kathleen Kent, author of The Heretic’s Daughter




It's been a couple of days since I finished reading The Murderer's Maid by Erika Mailman, and I still get a little shiver when I see the cover!  There's just nothing behind those eyes - no light.  And I remember "Lizzie Borden took an axe..." from my own shildhood.

Obviously, being in the family with Lizzie was *ahem* hazardous to one's make that two's health.  Being friends with her was nearly impossible, because once you crossed her, that bridge was well and truly burned.  But being on her 'good' side, for lack of a better term, was not exactly safe.  Lizzie was highly manipulative

But aside from the ever present Lizzie, this book is title The Murderer's Maid, and two other young ladies feature in much of the tale.  There's Bridget, the Borden's Irish maid.  I wish I could say that prejudice against the Irish was not rampant back in Lizzie's day, but I cannot.  They couldn't even call on the doctor across the street for help because he was *gulp* Irish, and *gasp* Catholic.

That always brings to mind a time when I was in early grade school and my mother, my brother and I were invited to go to a swimming pool and going up the ramp to the clubhouse, there was a sign "No Catholics Allowed".  I wondered should be be going in there at all.  But I was quite young and children did not speak up/back that way at that time.

And then there's Brooke - a modern-day young woman with trouble in her past and present, and even more trouble in her past than she is aware of.  One of the sons of a family for which Brooke and her mother (now deceased) worked is now stalking Brooke wherever she moves.  Sometimes it takes a while, but he always seems to find her.  The other brother is in jail for a serious felony.  Both hold Brooke responsible for their mother's death (she drowned herself in the family swimming pool after learning of her husband's infidelity with Brooke's mother).

As if that is not enough trouble, Brooke finds out that she might be the descendant of Lizzie Borden's illegitimate child, given up at birth!


So, if you get nightmares on Elm Street, if The Blair Witch Project wigged you out, (and you liked it) you will LOVE The Murderer's Maid.  There's even an extra layer of creepiness because at least some of the characters actually existed at one time.

And even if horror is not your usual cup of tea, The Murderer's Maid provides a darkly fascinating look into (possible) history, the mind of at least one sociopath, and the victims they leave behind.  Makes me want to vow to stop complaining so life is pretty dang good! ;)



Erika Mailman is the author of The Witch’s Trinity, a San Francisco Chronicle Notable Book and Bram Stoker Award finalist, and Woman of Ill Fame, a Pushcart Press Editor’s Book Award nominee. She’s a Yaddo fellow and lives in Northern California with her family.

For more information, please visit Erika Mailman’s website. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Goodreads.



The Murderer's Maid


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(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

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