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Sweet Madness

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  297 ratings  ·  93 reviews
Seventeen-year-old Bridget Sullivan is alone in Fall River, a city that sees Irish immigrants as nothing more than a drunken drain on society. To make matters worse, she's taken employment with the city’s most peculiar and gossip-laden family—the Bordens. But Bridget can’t afford to be picky—the pay surpasses any other job Bridget could ever secure and she desperately need ...more
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published September 15th 2015 by Merit Press (first published August 7th 2015)
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Lindsay Currie Hi Elizabeth!

This book took a LONG time to research. I mean, months and months. Reading testimony, studying floor plans, looking at family trees and …more
Hi Elizabeth!

This book took a LONG time to research. I mean, months and months. Reading testimony, studying floor plans, looking at family trees and attempting to reimagine this story from Bridget Sullivan's point of was a long and complicated process, but a fascinating one! The most interesting tidbit in my opinion, is that Andrew and Abigail's murder were not the first murders in the Borden family! Yes, there's a history of darkness in that family, one we found both disturbing and fascinating. As for whether or not I think Lizzie actually did it - I can honestly say I change my mind on that almost daily. Many signs point to her as the perpetrator, despite the lack of physical evidence, however Andrew Borden wasn't without enemies, so there's enough doubt to muddy the waters...that's for sure! Hope you read and enjoy this coming September! (less)

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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  297 ratings  ·  93 reviews

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Kelly (and the Book Boar)
EDIT: I don't generally bump my own reviews, but this one was released this week and since I'm friends with the author I am privy to seeing the cupcakes she will be providing at her launch party . . .

Chicago commercial photographers

which proves once again she is awesome and worthy of a bump. She and her writing partner also write YA that kids and parents can buddy read without one or the other wanting to tear all of their hair out. If you find the story of Lizzie Borden fascinating after all these years, this might be you
Shannon (It Starts At Midnight)
This review was originally posted on It Starts at Midnight
Sweet Madness was basically a compilation of a lot of fabulous things rolled into one.
Fast paced?


Historical awesomeness?

Fabulous, multifaceted characters?

Twists I did not see coming?

Lizzie freaking Borden?

(Granted, that last one is pretty unique to this book, but that doesn't make it less fabulous.)

If you know about the Lizzie Borden case, you'll know how creepily fascinating the whole thing is. If you don't know about i
Lindsey Lynn (thepagemistress)
Jun 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
4/5 Stars

This is the story of Lizzie Borden told through the eyes of the family maid Bridget. This story is historical fiction with actual facts distributed throughout.

I felt like I was reading a text book or part of a history books at some parts. So it took me longer than I thought to get through this.

I have always liked the Lizzie Borden story so that in itself was very intriguing. Lizzie was a great character and I appreciated her quirks.

If you like historical
Nov 05, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: true-story-ish
Not good. Not good at all. 1.5 stars.

At times this book shows signs of promise, but it's plagued with historical inaccuracies and an utterly absurd "answer" to what happened to Andrew and Abby Borden.

(view spoiler)
Jolene Haley
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing!

I was one of the luckiest people in the world who was able to read an early version of this novel.

Let me tell you, it was fantastic!

I loved this book because it has so many facets of fantastic story-telling. All in one novel, I was engaged, thrilled, creeped out, chilled, swoony, in love, disgusted, enthralled, and wrapped up in a bow of mystery. I didn't know someone could take a chilling nursery rhyme and delve deep into the heart of a tragic history and truly bring it t
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
This might be my favorite speculation on the Lizzie Borden yet.
Jan 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review was originally posted on Novel Ink

Lizzie Borden took an axe,

and gave her mother forty whacks.

When she saw what she had done,

she gave her father forty one...

Or did she?


Although I had heard the above poem before, I really didn't know much more about Lizzie Borden and the Borden murders.  But, I'm kind of glad that I didn't know the whole story before reading Sweet Madness because I went into this book almost clueless.  Well, except for the poem. 

K.R. Conway
Oct 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
To get to Fall River from my Cape Cod hometown, you have to pass through a few towns that are throwbacks to yesteryear – forgotten, sagging, paint chipped relics of once thriving small port cities.

First there is New Bedford, with it’s Moby Dick marina (I’m sorry, but could they PICK a worse name? I mean seriously – the whale sunk the boat), and a few miles further west is Fall River – a still active sea-faring community that mixes brave new businesses with condemned row houses. From the elevate
Kim Friant
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book and read it in almost one sitting. It kept me engaged and anticipating what the next page would say. Bridget was a realistic and likeable voice and I think she was the perfect narrator for the story. The authors captured the offness of the Borden house and of the Bordens themselves. I thought I knew the story of Lizzie Borden before I started reading, but the authors took the mystery surrounding the murders and molded it into a twisting and believable theory. The only cr ...more
Mar 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Best book I've read so far this year!!! I kind of wish it had gone through the trial as well, but it was exactly the right length in the end. I f you don't know the story of Lizzie Borden, look it up -- some crazy shit right there! She was acquitted and no one was ever convicted for the brutal axe murders of her father and stepmother. But she lived with the stigma of everyone believing she did it for the rest of her life. I really liked the authors' theory of who did it and I could totally belie ...more
Jun 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a really interesting piece of historical fiction. Told from the point of view of the Bordens' 17 year old family maid, this book looks at the life of Lizzie Borden in a new and exciting way.

The characters were very well developed and I learned quite a bit about life in the late 1800s. It shows that there may have been a lot more to this famous murder than it seems.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in historical fiction, YA or mysteries.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
"Lizzie Borden took an ax..."
I grew up fascinated by the Lizzie Borden story (growing up in a New England mill town myself, about an hour from Fall River). This is a wonderful telling of the story from the housekeeper's perspective. Even knowing the ultimate outcome, I was on tenterhooks the whole time, anxious to see how Ms. Leaver was going to reach the finale. I was not disappointed.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
I am from Fall River and have read a few books about the murders. This is an interesting twist that I had not heard before. I was disappointed not to see notes or references on the research the authors did on the story.
Sandi Van
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm weirdly fascinated by the Lizzie Borden story, and Sweet Madness approached it a bit differently - from the perspective of the Bordens' maid, Bridget. IRL the mystery of her parents' death was never solved, but the book takes a look at what might have happened and why. A good read.
Kelly Gunderman
Oct 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Check out this and other reviews on my blog, Here's to Happy Endings!

Lizzie Borden took an axe,
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.

We all know this rhyme, right? We've all heard of Lizzie Borden, but no one really knows the story behind what actually happened. Lizzie was tried for the murder of her father and her stepmother, but she was acquitted. There have been other theories floating around over the years, but that's the interestin
Beth Beth
Apr 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Dark, creepy and overall fantastically moody; SWEET MADNESS remains firmly entrenched in the Hitchcock side of horror. Where the thrills come because a new mysterious facet of someone shows up and throws off the narrator. Or because the timeline should be linear, but the narrator remembers things out of whack and adds details here and there she never mentioned before. Bridget, loyal to fault and a good friend to Lizzie Borden, just has no idea how to tell things in the order that they are happen ...more
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: a-thrill
Originally Posted at Novel Reveries

"Everybody in Fall River had a bit of gossip to prattle on about whenever it came to the Bordens." (pg. 31)

A thrilling young adult historical fiction, Sweet Madness takes on the tale of Lizzie Borden. Told through the perspective of the Bordens’ house maid Bridget Sullivan, this reimagining puts a wondrous spin on an age old mystery.

"The house I was working in was filled with crazy people, and everyone in Fall River knew it...including me." (pg. 93)

Sweet Madnes
Mary Newton
Jul 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
If you love pigeons, don't read this book.

Otherwise, grab it, go to your favorite reading spot, and settle in because you'll want to read this in a sitting. Sweet Madness is a re-imagining of the Lizzie Borden murder case as told by the Borden's naive young maid, Bridget Sullivan. Bridget takes the job at the Borden’s for the few extra pennies they pay so that she can bring her sister over from Ireland. But the Borden house is an unsettling and claustrophobic home and Lizzie and her parents are
Trisha Leigh
Mar 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
I loved this take on telling the Lizzie Borden story (or a version of it, anyway) though the eyes of a third party. It's a mystery that we'll probably never solve, and that makes it the perfect tale to tell agin and again, a hundred possible details up for debate.

The heroine is relatable and the thick mysteries of the Borden house unravel at a good pace. You might think you've sold this old murder yourself before you turn the final pages, but if history has taught us anything it's that the small
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
What a great read! I loved the slow unraveling of Lizzie Borden and watching it from an outsider's POV. I loved the main character, Bridget, and thought she was a really vibrant character. This is a great story for those interested in the Lizzie Borden case. You can tell that the authors, Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie, took a lot of time to research this and bring the story alive with great, authentic details.
May 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
A super-fast read that does a great job of slowly building suspense all the way to the gory finale we all know is coming. I don't read much historical fiction but this definitely made me want to learn more about the Lizzie Borden story. Lindsay Currie is beloved among the teens at my library and I can't wait to get this book into their hands.
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sweet Madness was fantastic. I went through so many emotions reading this. Of course I spent the entire time waiting for the infamous murders to occur but there was the perfect amount of suspense to keep me satisfied until it happened.
Speaking of..I loved the twist toward the end. Definitely didn't expect that turn of events.

Amy Giuffrida
Mar 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Amazing! Trisha and Lindsay had me at a Lizzie Borden retelling, but this was oh so much more! In Sweet Madness, we are given a glimpse into the house of the famous Bordens; into the mental illness that plagued them all.
Feb 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical
I really liked the idea of this novel but I actually had a hard time getting into it. There just didn't seem to be much going on until the end and the writing just didn't work for me so I got hella bored. I actually skimmed the last 50 pages just to be done with it. So yeah.
Such a compelling story, and a super interesting take on Lizzie Borden told from the maid's perspective. I couldn't put it down! Super creepy!
Cynthia (Bingeing On Books)
I loved this historical fiction novel that was based on the story of Lizzie Borden. That story has always fascinated me and what fascinates me even more is that we will never know what actually happened to her parents. This novel was fast paced and it was told from the POV of a maid, Bridget. It tells the story of a creepy home where it's almost impossible to tell who is good and who isn't. Bridget is Lizzie's only friend and she feels sorry for her and at the same time, Lizzie's antics frustrat ...more
This was an interesting read. For the first half, I wasn't entirely sure if I was actually enjoying it or not, but once the action and story picked up, I was hooked. A different take on this story that I haven't heard before. Whether or not it's accurate, we'll never know. But that's what makes a great mystery.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
I picked up this book in the teen section while my daughter was choosing a book for herself. I will admit I had to Google the main character when I was finished. Interesting young adult historical fiction book.
Nov 07, 2017 rated it liked it
An interesting historical fiction based on the true story of Lizzie Borden. Mostly leading up to the murder of her parents, and told from the POV of the maid that works for her family, the author gives her own take on what actually happened back then.
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Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/ Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. To find out more a ...more

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