Sweet Madness ARC Review - Insanity At It's Finest


Sweet Madness
Author(s): Lindsay Currie & Trisha Leaver
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Genre(s): Young Adult, Historical Fiction
Pages: 224
Edition: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Rating:



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.

I received a review copy courtesy of the author/publisher. This does not affect my opinion or views regarding the book whatsoever.

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Review

Never Has A Book Title Been So Fitting
and now I'm scared to make friends with anyone by the name Lizzie. Just kidding . . . Okay no I'm not.

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Lizzie Borden took an axe
And gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done,
She gave her father forty-one.
You guys have probably heard me mention this a thousand times on my blog, but here's a thousand and one, I am so obsessed with documentaries. I'm not exactly sure when it started, some odd years ago I'm sure, but I do remember as clear as day, the Lizzie Borden story being one of the first I've ever seen. I recall looking up article after article, documentary after documentary, and any movies that covered this twisted tale, hoping to find some new information or to even solve the case myself. When I was presented with the opportunity to review this re-telling, I knew only two things could happen, A. The authors would do the story it's justice, or B. It would end up being absolutely horrible. There could be no in between. So you could probably imagine how pleased I was to witness how the authors created a fresh take on what really went down in the Borden house.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was having a discussion with some blogger friends about creepy reads in Young Adult fiction. I mentioned how I love the horror genre, including thrillers and such, but have never come across a YA title that raised the hairs on my neck, or makes me look around the room because I feel something near me . . .  until I picked up Sweet Madness. While I wasn't cowering under my covers screaming for my mama, there were scenes in this book that sent shivers down my spine, scenes that raised goosebumps on my arms, as if I suddenly felt a chilly breeze. No one could be trusted, and just when I thought I was brilliantly gluing the pieces together, a plot twist would come, completely rattling my puzzle yet again. Nothing, and I mean nothing was as it seemed.

Before reading Sweet Madness, I was of course familiar with the role our main character Bridget Sullivan played within the house, but it was an entirely different experience being able to read from what her perspective could've been. She was literally the only sane person living under that roof, but a year living with the Bordens can make even the innocent succumb to evilness. As the story progressed, Lizzie proved to be as unreliable and looney as her community made her out to be, but it was her father who I feared as well. Neither one had their wits about them, and the situations, not to mention the tension-filled relationship between the two, would've sent me running for the hills! Both were equally mad, which caused a ping-pong effect when it came to figuring out who killed who and why.

If you're going to survive in this house, you've got to know who you're truly living with.

Other than the novel being a re-telling of the most infamous story ever, what will win readers over is the creep factor Currie and Leaver were able to deliver. You could almost feel the eerie atmosphere of the house while reading, which allowed the story to hover you over the edge and keep you there to the very end. The writing flowed seamlessly, capturing the setting of the 1800's including the lingo, attire, and surroundings, perfectly. The characters are twisted, menacing, even bizarre, but they felt real, and in my head they soon became the real Borden family, not just the fictional depiction.

Even though Halloween is long gone, if you're still in a festive mood, looking for something dark, enthralling, and incredibly suspenseful, I'd highly recommend Sweet Madness . . . if you don't mind questioning your own sanity that is.

Lizzie better keep her behind far away from me, I know that. 

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