Book Title:
Sweet Madness
Book Author:
Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie
Publishing Date:
September 15th, 2015
Merit Press
Date Read:
October 3rd, 2015


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 needs the money to buy her little sister, Cara, passage to the states. It doesn’t hurt that the job location is also close to her beau, Liam. As she enters the disturbing inner workings of the Borden household, Bridget clings to these advantages.

However, what seemed like a straightforward situation soon turns into one that is untenable. Of course Bridget has heard the gossip around town about the Bordens, but what she encounters is far more unsettling. The erratic, paranoid behavior of Mr. Borden, the fearful silence of his wife, and worse still…the nightly whisperings Bridget hears that seem to come from the walls themselves.

The unexpected bright spot of the position is that Lizzie Borden is so friendly. At first, Bridget is surprised at how Lizzie seems to look out for her, how she takes a strong interest in Bridget’s life. Over time, a friendship grows between them. But when Mr. Borden’s behavior goes from paranoid to cruel, and the eerie occurrences in the house seem to be building momentum, Bridget makes the tough decision that she must leave the house—even if it means leaving behind Lizzie, her closest friend, alone with the madness. Something she swore she would not do.

But when Bridget makes a horrifying discovery in the home, all that she thought she knew about the Bordens is called into question…including if Lizzie is dangerous. And the choice she must make about Lizzie’s character could mean Bridget’s life or death.

Sweet Madnessis a retelling of the infamous Borden murders from the point of view of Lizzie’s Irish maid, Bridget Sullivan.

My Review

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 interesting part – no one really knows what went on.  If you do some research, you can read a few of these theories, of course, but if you want an obviously well-researched fictional account of what went on leading up to those murders, this is a great book to pick up.

I’ve seen quite a few good reviews for this book, and let me say that this book deserves the praise.  I guarantee it’ll be like nothing else you’ve read.  I know this is definitely a thriller (I’ve been fortunate enough to have across some really good ones lately), but I’m not sure if it should be classified as horror, exactly.  However, it thoroughly creeped me out (yay!), so I’m going to go right ahead and categorize it in with horror.

Our story involves Bridget, who is seventeen years old and has come to America from Ireland.  She spends some time looking for work, and eventually lands a position as a maid in the Borden household.  While there, Lizzie, the daughter of Andrew Borden, takes quite a liking to Bridget.  Lizzie only has one friend, and has been dubbed a thief and “mad” around town, so the prospect of her getting some more friends anytime soon doesn’t seem very likely.  While Bridget is a little concerned with how strange things in the Borden household are (the disturbing noises she hears in the night, how Andrew Borden and Lizzie get along, and the overall unsettling feeling that Bridget has when she is in the house), she is open to being friends with Lizzie, even if Lizzie seems somewhat obsessed with her.

Since Bridget is trying to save up money to get a house with her boyfriend and bring her sister over from Ireland, she decides to stay on as a maid at the Borden house as long as she can, since Mr. Borden pays a lot better than any of the other jobs she has seen.  However, things start getting a little too strange, and some mysteries come to light that makes Bridget reconsider how long she can really stay there and feel safe.

This book is an incredible mystery that is pretty fast-paced and full of odd twists that make it worth a read.  I didn’t want to put this one down – I read it during dinner, I read it while standing in line at the DMV, and I stayed up late to finish it.  It was unique, interesting, downright creepy, and since it’s October, it’s a book you should add to your to be read list if you’re interested in creepy books for Halloween!  This definitely gave me the chills, and I loved it from the first page to the last.

Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

5 stars
This entry was posted in Historical, Horror, Reviews, Thrillers, Young Adult and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie

  1. I agree with you completely! I read this one from (almost) start to finish in one sitting! I read it on a bus home from NYC, and the bus got to the parking lot when I was at 91%! How evil, right? So I raced home to finish it, of course! I loved this so, so much. There was definitely a ton of research, and it shows. I looked up some stuff about the case after, to link for my review, and MAN, they did their homework! But the spin was AMAZING. Like, Bridget is fabulous, and everything about her personality (AND the personalities of all the characters) made so much sense, especially in the way it all played out historically. I suppose we’ll never know what REALLY happened, but this take on it was incredible- also a 5 star one for me! Great review 🙂

    • Kelly says:

      Yes! I love that someone else was as in love with this book as I was! I absolutely loved Bridget as a character, and I can’t think of a better way that they could have written her! Andrew Borden was absolutely creepy! The ending of this book was amazing…it really is a shame that no one knows what really happened…but at the same time, look at how this amazing book was written because of that. I’ll never think of Lizzie Borden the same after reading this book!

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