Did she do it? A hundred years ago, it was the Trial of the Century. A young woman stood accused of brutally murdering her father and...

Feature Fiction || Lizzie Borden by Elizabeth Engstrom

Did she do it?

A hundred years ago, it was the Trial of the Century. A young woman stood accused of brutally murdering her father and stepmother in a crime so heinous that it became a benchmark in human tragedy.

A hundred years later, the Lizzie Borden case still resounds in the imagination. There are those who staunchly defend Lizzie’s innocence while others vehemently declare that she did it, and that the murder was justified.

In Elizabeth Engstrom’s brilliant novel, the dark psychology of the Borden household is laid bare. Lizzie, her sister Emma and their parents Andrew and Abby Borden, are sharply illuminated—as are the paranoia and concealed hatred that secretly ruled the family. Domestic violence and dysfunctional families are not inventions of modern times.

“Every door in the Borden house is metaphorically locked, and each room holds the terrible secrets of its occupant…Engstrom skillfully and subtly builds a psychological plot, moving the reader inexorably toward the anticipated savage denouement.” —Publishers Weekly

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Abby whirled around, but there was no one there. She could have sworn that she heard someone behind her.
She shook the pillow down into the case, plumped it up right—not the way that silly Bridget did it—and laid it nicely on the bed.
She smoothed it down, stood up and listened.

Bridget had answered the knock at the door, and Abby had waited for the call. She was expecting to be called a second time to the birthing, but had decided not to go. Mr. Borden would definitely not approve.
She went back to the task at hand, smoothing the pillow.
She whirled. There it was again, a presence. This time, though, she almost heard breathing. But there was nothing there. Nothing.
The hair prickled at the back of her neck and stood up along her arms. She rubbed it down, and walked around the foot of the bed.

About the Author

Elizabeth (Liz) Engstrom grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois (a Chicago suburb where she lived with her father) and Kaysville, Utah (north of Salt Lake City, where she lived with her mother). After graduating from high school in Illinois, she ventured west in a serious search for acceptable weather, eventually settling in Honolulu. She attended college and worked as an advertising copywriter.

After eight years on Oahu, she moved to Maui, found a business partner and opened an advertising agency. One husband, two children and five years later, she sold the agency to her partner and had enough seed money to try her hand at full time fiction writing, her lifelong dream. With the help of her mentor, science fiction great Theodore Sturgeon, When Darkness Loves Us was published.

Engstrom moved to Eugene, Oregon in 1986, where she lives with her husband Al Cratty, the legendary muskie fisherman, and their Duck Tolling Retriever, Jook. Liz holds a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and a Master of Arts in Applied Theology, both from Marylhurst University. A recluse at heart, she still emerges into public occasionally to speak at a writers conference, or to teach a class on various aspects of writing the novel, essay, article or short story. An avid knitter and gardener, she is on faculty at the University of Phoenix and is always working on the next book.

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