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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book Review: The Murderer’s Maid by Erika Mailman

the murderers maid

The Murder’s Maid by Erika Mailman
ARC, e-Book, 366 pages
Bonhomie Press
October 10, 2017
goodreads button

Genre: Historical Fiction

Source: Received for review for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour

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.

I don’t know about you, but true crime stories draw me in. I might not be able to sleep afterward or want to be home by myself at night, but there is something about getting behind the mind of someone who could do such a terrible thing that holds my attention. Mailman uses this concept to draw the reader into both her historical thread of Lizzie Borden, but also builds that into the contemporary thread of Brooke who also finds herself drawn to true crime.

I don’t tend to be a huge fan of dual timelines, particularly when one of those is a contemporary set storyline. I don’t read contemporary novels in general because I don’t care to read about people living a life that is somewhat similar to mine, and that did impact my ability to get into this story early on. On the other hand, I immediately connected with the Lizzie Borden storyline. Mailman builds the drama and distinct personalities of those within the Borden house. While Lizzie was very clearly unhinged, she wasn’t the only one who had her issues in that household and you could see how someone who might already have her own issues might be driven to more extreme means by her circumstances. This made me want to find out a little more about the trial and especially the Borden maid because I found her interesting within this story.

The shocking part of this novel comes in the contemporary story, as anyone who knows about the Borden case will not be surprised in her story. Mailman brings in a major twist at the end of Brooke’s story that I didn’t see coming at all. I liked how her storyline wrapped up and thought that it would have been good on its own, but I really don’t know that it was necessary with the historical Borden story. I get the connections drawn between the two throughout, and it helped to bolster Brooke’s mission in life and her character, but I often felt that it just wasn’t necessary to have a dual storyline here and would have been stronger to stick with one or the other.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Erika Mailman:

the witches trinity
The Witches Trinity

woman of ill fame
Woman of Ill Fame

house of bellaver
House of Bellaver

Find Erika Mailman: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Follow the Tour!


I know I’m a little late to the party on this one – there were some technical difficulties, but you can check out the other lovely contributions from this tour at the HFVBT Website or on Twitter at #TheMurderersMaidBlogTour.

Monday, October 16
Review at Unabridged Chick
Feature at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, October 17
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Wednesday, October 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Thursday, October 19
Review & Excerpt at Books of All Kinds
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time

Friday, October 20
Spotlight at Bookfever
Review at Once Upon A Book

Monday, October 23
Review at Poppy Coburn
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, October 24
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair
Feature at A Literary Vacation

Wednesday, October 25
Review at Back Porchervations
Feature at Must Read Faster

Thursday, October 26
Review at Linda’s Book Obsession

Friday, October 27
Review at What Cathy Read Next
Feature at The Reading Queen

Monday, October 30
Review at A Holland Reads

Tuesday, October 31
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, November 1
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Review at Books of a Shy Girl

Thursday, November 2
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, November 3
Review at T’s Stuff
Review at Just One More Chapter

Monday, November 6
Review at A Book Geek
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 7
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Wednesday, November 8
Review at The True Book Addict

Copyright © 2017 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I know the Borden story and found that one fascinating. Making a note of this book. Thanks for the review.

  2. I can't escape this book! I keep seeing it everywhere...maybe it is a sign...

  3. Thank you, Heather, for a thoughtful review. And Carole...yes, it's a sign! LOL


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