Maplecroft by Cherie Priest
Synopsis: Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one….
The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.
But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.
This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.
4 out of 5 stars
I have always been fascinated with the story of Lizzie Borden. The gruesome crime she is said to have committed – killing her parents with an axe. What would drive someone to that? Insanity? Desperation? Or something else entirely?
“Maplecroft” explores that and I had such fun reading it. I will warn you – this is heavily Lovecraftian. OMG. SO. MUCH. LOVECRAFT. If you are a fan, then I feel you will certainly enjoy this, but if not I think that much of the symbolism and imagery might not be as impactful.
The story takes place after Lizzie has been acquitted of killing her father and stepmother, and has moved to Maplecroft Manor with her ailing sister Emma. Lizzie has a laboratory in the basement where she studies and dispatches the horrors she deals with. Emma is a well renowned scientist in her own right, and posts scientific papers and discoveries under the name E.A. Jackson.
Lizzie also has a love interest in this story, a young actress named Nance. I liked how this was written and handled so delicately without taking away from the main story.
The book is written in chapters, each with a different first person narrative. I like this style of writing and feel that we are really able to see some of the characters evolve, such as the neighboring doctor, Owen Seabury. He starts out as a minor character but soon becomes somewhat of a hero.
I love the cover art! The axe that Lizzie is holding is almost a main character in it’s own right in this book. It totally ties in to the Gothic Horror feel of the entire book and I can’t wait to read the next in the series!