Monday, April 9, 2018

Lizzie by Dawn Ius

I am kicking off True Crime week on the blog with a review of a book that comes out TOMORROW!

Lizzie by Dawn Ius                           
Release Date - April 10,  2018
Publisher Website - Simon and Schuster
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages - 320 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received for an honest review from publisher**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
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…The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan heLove, loss, friendship, and the betrayals of the past all collide in this first women’s fiction novel from New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Christina Lauren (Autoboyography, Dating You / Hating You).
r wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother...only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.
Anything relating to true crime is hot right now. The resurgence has led to some amazing podcasts, movies, television series, and books being released. Being a true crime addict myself, I was thrilled with Dawn Ius announced her next novel was to be inspired by the infamous Lizzie Borden case. This fictional account modernizes the story, and while it weaves in plenty of details from the real case, this story is something all its own.

Lizzie is a  sharply written story of a young girl falling in love for the first time. It's also the story of a young girl spiraling into madness. It also boasts one of my favourite kind of narrators. Lizzie is unreliable. Everything she tells us as readers should be held as suspect. She cannot trust herself which immediately sets a sort of tension over everything she does. This book is a character study more than anything else, and I think it succeeds.

The writing invokes the feeling of slowly spiraling into insanity and it perfectly mirrors Lizzie herself in this regard. As Lizzie becomes more and more frenzied so does the writing pattern. It ensures the reader feels just as disoriented and unsettled as Lizzie does in the best possible way. It's a stylized narrative style that really only works for this type of story and character and it's used to great effect here.

Those who are looking for a true crime inspired read will certainly find that within these pages. They'll also, however, perhaps surprisingly find a love story. The connection between Lizzie and Bridget is one of the lighter moments in the darkness that is this novel. It's a safe haven for Lizzie and the reader, as much as it is a catalyst for much of what happens. Those moments of happiness is what makes Lizzie a narrator we can invest in. It's the anchor to the story and a way in for the reader. I found it incredibly well done, and that Lizzie's inexperience was woven into this part of the story perfectly. This is, in essence, her for crush and those strong emotions that come from feeling everything for the first time are expertly captured.

Bridget is a breath of fresh air from the moment she enters Lizzie's life. She's kind, supportive, patient, and caring. She's pretty much the perfect girlfriend. She, through Lizzie's eyes, seems almost too good to true. This, to me, felt like a very deliberate choice. Bridget has no faults because Lizzie doesn't see them. She is in that initial stage of being attracted to someone where everything about them is perfect.

The real Borden murders were never officially solved and as a result of this I was especially eager to see how this fact would be worked into this novel. Lizzie was ultimately found not guilty of the murders, so in many ways this story is missing a nice 'tidy' ending. Dawn Ius manages to provided not only a satisfying ending, but one that makes you want to immediately re-read the book to experience it with a new perspective.

True crime obsessives will be drawn to this novel due to its inspiration, but I predict even those who are not familiar with the Lizzie Borden case will find plenty to love within these pages. It's a haunting, unsettling story that, for me, was a perfect blend of atmosphere, characters, and plot wrapped in some strong writing.

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