We meant it when we said this was the year of horror – of stories to make your skin crawl and to keep you up late into the night. If you like that sort of thing (and really, when it’s done well, who doesn’t?), then you need to sink your teeth into Sweet Madness by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie.
Sweet Madness is a retelling of the Borden Murders from the view of Lizzie’s Irish maid Bridget Sullivan. Bridget takes employment with the gossip-laden family out of desperation, but the the Bordens are worse than the gossip makes them sound. And whens Bridget discovers a secret more horrifying than the whispers in the walls, she must make a decision about Lizzie Borden that could mean her life or death.
Sweet Madness releases from Merit Press tomorrow, September 15.
The street behind me was nearly empty—a few beggar children and some maids hurrying to and from work—but no plainly dressed woman of stature. No Lizzie.
A flare of apprehension quickened my steps. I sought out an alleyway to duck into and concealed myself in the darkness until whoever was following me passed. I knew it was ridiculous.
I’d told myself half a dozen times I was being overly suspicious, that my guilt about lying to Lizzie in the first place was getting the better of me. But no logical explanation, no amount of self-condemnation could stop the way I felt. It was that sensation of eyes on you when there shouldn’t be that made me believe I wasn’t alone.
I stepped behind an abandoned fruit cart, crouched down, and watched as a shadow appeared at the mouth of the alley. Lizzie. She paused, her eyes skittering across the darkened corridor as if debating whether I was foolish enough to risk my welfare with the vagrants who called these rat-infested passageways home. With a brisk nod of her head, she walked away, probably assuming I had more sense.
I counted to fifty, then eased my way out from behind the cart, slowly making my way back out to the cobblestone street.
Half-hidden in the shadows, I scanned first to my left and then to my right, but she wasn’t there. It was as if she had vanished, as if her appearance at the end of the alleyway was nothing more than my conscience-stricken imagination chastising me for lying. But unlike Lizzie, I wasn’t prone to fits of fugue. I didn’t subscribe to the belief that the voices that plagued her were whispered from beyond, were . . . the voices of those drawn into the Borden curse.
What I saw and the uneasiness I felt were real. I was being followed, silently stalked by my own friend. And she was still there, carefully hidden out of sight. Lizzie wouldn’t sulk back home and occupy her time by reading her father’s mail or pawing through her stepmother’s belongings. No, she’d circle these streets until she found me.
Copyright © 2015 by Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie and published by Merit Press, an imprint of F+W Media, Inc. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.