Top 9 Most Captivating Lizzie Borden Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down

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Written By Razvan Radu

Adventurer. Storyteller. Paranormal investigator. Cryptozoology enthusiast.

Lizzie Borden. The name itself conjures images of a bloody axe and an unsolved mystery. Her infamous trial in 1893 for the brutal murders of her father and stepmother continues to capture imaginations over a century later. 

If you want to read and learn more about this captivating case, look no further than this list of the top 10 Lizzie Borden books you won’t be able to put down. 

We’ve curated a selection that explores the historical details, analyses different psychological perspectives, and even ventures into fictionalized accounts. 

The Borden Murders Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century book cover

The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century

Author: Sarah Miller

Published Date: 2019

Publisher: Yearling

About this book: In The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century, Sarah Miller does a pretty in-depth analysis of the infamous (and still unsolved according to many) case of the Borden murders. 

What makes this book a must-read? Miller’s keen eye for details and commitment to presenting the facts as they were known then. 

Through her adept use of newspaper articles and trial transcripts, Miller reconstructs the narrative of the brutal murders. But even more importantly, she takes another look at the events during the sensational Lizzie Borden trial and the lingering aftermath.

Miller’s approach to the subject matter is refreshingly unpretentious. It’s a fascinating analysis that gives you the chance to draw your own conclusions about the events that transpired.

Particularly noteworthy is the book’s appeal to a younger audience. 

The author incorporates educational asides that elucidate historical terms and concepts, such as the function of a ‘slop bucket’ or the potential biases in newspaper reporting. 

Because let’s face it: the true fascination with the Borden murders lies in its sensational nature—a wealthy daughter accused of murdering her parents in broad daylight with no definitive evidence to prove her guilt or innocence.

Overall, the narrative in The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century is more than compelling. It highlights the circumstantial nature of the evidence against Borden and the peculiarities of her behavior that seemed to implicate her despite the absence of concrete forensic proof. 

However, while Miller typically strives for neutrality, her portrayal sometimes hints at a personal conviction of Borden’s innocence. 

Nevertheless, The Borden Murders: Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century is a well-crafted and honest examination of one of America’s most notorious unsolved crimes.

The Trial of Lizzie Borden book cover

The Trial of Lizzie Borden

Author: Cara Robertson

Published Date: 2020

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

About this book: Cara Robertson’s The Trial of Lizzie Borden isn’t just another retelling of the infamous axe murders. It’s a meticulously researched and profoundly engaging exploration that breathes fresh life into this Gilded Age mystery

Robertson meticulously peels back the layers of this sensational case, transporting readers to a time when Lizzie Borden became a household name worldwide.

But this is where the book truly excels: it gives you the proper context. You’ll read a lot about the stifling social constraints of the era, particularly for unmarried women like Lizzie and Emma. 

Robertson also paints a vivid picture of their insular world within the Borden household, hinting at potential tensions that may have simmered beneath the surface.

Plus, unlike Sarah Miller, Robertson masterfully avoids taking sides. 

She meticulously details the facts of the murders and the subsequent trial, allowing readers to form their own conclusions about Lizzie’s guilt or innocence. 

This refreshing, objective approach allows the evidence, not sensationalism, to take center stage.

However, The Trial of Lizzie Borden goes beyond the courtroom. Robertson analyses the media frenzy surrounding the case, stressing how societal perceptions and Victorian-era biases shaped the narrative around Lizzie Borden.

Ultimately, The Trial of Lizzie Borden is a compelling read for anyone fascinated by true crime. 

With its wealth of detail, insightful analysis, and nuanced social context, Robertson’s book offers a fresh perspective on this ongoing enigma. 

The History and Haunting of Lizzie Borden book cover

The History and Haunting of Lizzie Borden

Author: Rebecca F. Pittman

Published Date: 2016

Publisher: Wonderland Productions

About this bookThe History and Haunting of Lizzie Borden by Rebecca F. Pittman is a quite lengthy read, spanning 826 pages. But trust us, it’s worth it. 

Published in December 2016, Pittman’s work is heralded for bringing new insights into the infamous case of Lizzie Borden.

So, what’s so interesting about this book? Well, Pittman is thorough with her research. She leaves no stone unturned. 

In fact, Pittman reportedly introduces new evidence and the identities of two men who were seen at the Borden residence on the day of the murders (but were never found by the police or attorneys). 

This amazing and shocking discovery adds a fascinating layer to the historical narrative, suggesting that there might have been two murder plots aimed at the wealthy Borden couple. 

Moreover, Pittman provides photographic evidence related to the case, including how the murderer might have broken the famous hatchet.

Pittman—known for her comprehensive explorations of haunted and mysterious locations in America—extends her investigative prowess to the Borden case. 

She combines factual historical research with a keen interest in the paranormal activities reported at the Borden house (now a museum and bed and breakfast).

Interestingly, while Pittman’s research appears to lean towards the guilt of Lizzie Borden—describing her as a sociopath—the book is appreciated for its depth of research and the heart with which it is written. 

We strongly recommend Pittman’s book (with her new evidence and fresh perspective on the case) as a noteworthy addition to the literature on one of America’s most infamous unsolved mysteries​​​​.

A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight: (A True Crime Fact Account of the Lizzie Borden Ax Murders) book cover

A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight: (A True Crime Fact Account of the Lizzie Borden Ax Murders)

Author: Victoria Lincoln

Published Date: 2012

Publisher: Seraphim Press

About this bookA Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight by Victoria Lincoln is one of our team’s most favorite Lizzie Borden books. 

How so? Lincoln, a native of Fall River, Massachusetts—Lizzie Borden’s hometown—can actually offer an insider’s view of the tale, enriched by her firsthand knowledge of the societal context in which the murders and subsequent Lizzie Borden’s trial took place. 

It’s her background that helps Lincoln deliver a nuanced understanding of the class distinctions and mores of the time, offering readers a detailed and engaging account of the case​​.

Lincoln’s book was highly praised for its readability and thorough research. It presents a compelling argument for Lizzie Borden’s guilt but portrays her in a somehow sympathetic light. 

Despite relying on the now-discredited hypothesis that Lizzie suffered from a form of temporal epilepsy, Lincoln’s meticulous documentation and storytelling make for an enthralling read. 

It’s also worth mentioning that A Private Disgrace: Lizzie Borden by Daylight also looks into the complex dynamics of the Borden household (including the tense atmosphere, Lizzie’s troubled relationship with her stepmother, and her mental instability). 

It explores the intriguing discovery of defense attorney Andrew Jennings’ handwritten journals (which shed new light on the case and offer a fascinating glimpse into the trial’s behind-the-scenes details​​​​).

However, opinions on Lincoln’s work are mixed. 

Some find her approach overbearing and critical—particularly in her treatment of Abby Borden’s significance and her speculation on the motives and actions of the Borden family and their maid. 

Despite these criticisms, we still see A Private Disgrace as one of the most engaging and informative books on the Lizzie Borden case.

Lizzie Borden: The Legend, the Truth, the Final Chapter book cover

Lizzie Borden: The Legend, the Truth, the Final Chapter

Author: Arnold R. Brown

Published Date: 1991

Publisher: Rutledge Hill Press

About this book: Arnold R. Brown’s Lizzie Borden: The Legend, the Truth, the Final Chapter provides a unique and controversial perspective on the infamous Borden murders. 

Unlike the myriad of theories surrounding the case, Brown’s book posits that the true culprit was Andrew Borden’s illegitimate son, William “Bill” Borden, a theory that diverges significantly from the traditional accusation against Lizzie Borden herself. 

Brown, leveraging his roots as a Fall River native, suggests that Lizzie was aware of William’s guilt and participated in a conspiracy with local authorities and the town’s elite to keep the truth hidden. 

She even went so far as to undergo a rigged trial and use her inheritance to silence the town’s “Silent Government.”

The narrative is built on a mix of well-known facts and original material, including a pivotal statement Lizzie made to her friend Alice Russell before the murders, which Brown interprets as fear of the true killer. 

This theory is elaborated with tales of William Borden’s life, mental state, and peculiar behavior, including his alleged conversation with a hatchet, suggesting a deeply disturbed individual who was nonetheless capable of committing the brutal murders of Abby and Andrew Borden.

Brown’s work is extensive and detailed, and he presents a theory concerning the Borden case as convincing as any in the realm of true crime speculation. 

However, it’s important to note that Lizzie Borden: The Legend, the Truth, the Final Chapter might not sway all readers, especially true crime buffs who have encountered numerous retellings of the grand jury and trial proceedings over the years.

The Jennings Journals 1892: The unpublished notes and documents from the files of Lizzie Borden’s Defense Attorney, Andrew Jackson Jennings book cover

The Jennings Journals 1892: The unpublished notes and documents from the files of Lizzie Borden’s Defense Attorney, Andrew Jackson Jennings.

Author: Andrew Jackson Jennings

Published Date: 2021

Publisher: Fall River Historical Society Press

About this bookThe Jennings Journals 1892: The Unpublished Notes and Documents from the Files of Lizzie Borden’s Defense Attorney, Andrew Jackson Jennings by Michael Martins, Dennis A. Binette, and Stefani Koorey, is a groundbreaking publication by the Fall River Historical Society Press. 

The volume was released in 2021 and meticulously integrates two important journals of Andrew Jackson Jennings (Lizzie Borden’s defense attorney).

The first journal consists of handwritten entries organized in a near-alphabetical manner, featuring notes, newspaper clipping annotations, and interviews with relevant individuals. 

The second journal is mostly a collection of newspaper clippings from August 4 to August 11, 1892—it’s a chronological account of the immediate aftermath of the Borden murders. 

Why do we love The Jennings Journals 1892? Because it’s a unique compilation of factual information and not a simple narrative retelling of the case. It’s a faithful transcription of the original documents

Let’s be honest. You can’t really get any closer to this intriguing case and get a better glimpse into the defense team’s strategy and thought process.

The notes and newspaper clippings are presented as they were found. They are supplemented by brief biographical narratives and two extensive glossaries that provide historical and biographical context. 

In fact, The Jennings Journals 1892 is often described as “the most important collection of primary source material on the Borden case since the release of the Knowlton Papers in 1994.”

All these—and much more we let you discover—make the book an invaluable resource for researchers, historians, and anyone interested in the minutiae of the Borden case.

The Murderer's Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel (Historical Murder Thriller) (The Lizzie Borden Novels) book cover

The Murderer’s Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel (Historical Murder Thriller)

Author: Erika Mailman

Published Date: 2017

Publisher: Yellow Pear Press

About this book: Erika Mailman’s The Murderer’s Maid: A Lizzie Borden Novel is another compelling dual narrative that intertwines the historical events surrounding the infamous Borden murders with a contemporary story. 

However, unlike other books on this topic, The Murderer’s Maid primarily focuses on Bridget Sullivan, the Irish maid of the Borden family. Why is that important? Because Sullivan was a central figure in the case and a close witness to the family’s dynamics and the events of the murder. 

Now, rest assured. The novel doesn’t just linger in the past. It also introduces Brooke—a modern-day woman connected to the Bordens through ancestry—grappling with her own mystery and trying to uncover her past.

Mailman’s approach of viewing the Borden family through Bridget’s eyes offers an insider perspective without giving definitive answers about the murder. Instead, she reflects on the case’s unresolved nature

The historical portion of the book is rich with detail (including spicy details about the Borden household’s frugal and eccentric ways and the community’s speculation about other potential suspects). 

Mailman also touches on lesser-known aspects of the story—such as Lizzie’s rumored secret lover and pregnancy—adding more layers to the historical narrative.

For us, The Murderer’s Maid is a great blend of historical fiction and mystery that can appeal not only to fans of true crime but also to those passionate about history and narratives that span different timelines.

Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend (The Science of) book cover

The Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend

Authors: Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence

Published Date: 2021

Publisher: Skyhorse

About this bookThe Science of Serial Killers: The Truth Behind Ted Bundy, Lizzie Borden, Jack the Ripper, and Other Notorious Murderers of Cinematic Legend by Meg Hafdahl and Kelly Florence is just another fantastic exploration of the real-life stories that inspired cinematic legends of serial killers. 

The authors, known for their previous works and co-hosting the Horror Rewind podcast, delve into the intersection of true crime and popular culture. 

Now, The Science of Serial Killers is not JUST about Borden’s case. Instead, the book looks into how notorious murderers have been portrayed in media and what these representations reveal about societal fears and fascinations.

Hafdahl and Florence take a novel approach by linking each killer to media inspired by their crimes and expanding the discussion to include related scientific and psychological concepts. 

For example, they discuss the Zodiac Killer’s use of ciphers and what it reveals about cryptology. 

The book also features interviews with experts to provide deeper insights, such as a conversation with an FBI agent on the psychology of serial killers.

However, it’s important to note that the book’s focus is not a comprehensive study of the killers themselves but rather an exploration of their crimes’ cultural impact and scientific aspects. 

Lizzie Borden book cover

Lizzie Borden

Author: Elizabeth Engstrom

Published Date: 2011

Publisher: IFD Publishing

About this book: Our final Lizzie Borden book recommendation is Elizabeth Engstrom’s Lizzie Borden. It’s an imaginative retelling of the infamous Borden murders, blending historical fact with fiction. 

Published by IFD Publishing in 2011, this novel is not your typical crime story. Instead, it introduces a fictional character study focusing on the family’s internal relationships rather than the crime or trial itself.

The narrative explores the psychological underpinnings within the Borden family, revealing a web of paranoia, concealed hatred, and domestic dysfunction. 

Engstrom’s portrayal suggests a household ripe for tragedy, with Lizzie Borden at its center, struggling against the constraints imposed by her family’s stifling environment. 

This approach provides a speculative look at what might have led to the brutal axe murders, offering insights into the possible motivations driving Lizzie and her family members.

While the book begins somewhat slowly, it gradually draws readers in, offering a “peek through the keyhole” into the Borden family’s dark and disturbing life. 

Engstrom’s work is distinguished by its attention to the psychological landscape of its characters, presenting a complex tableau of familial relationships marred by secrets and resentments.

Critics have noted Engstrom’s unique blend of the horrific with the deeply psychological, stating that the book’s strength lies in exploring the dark psychologies at play rather than in overt horror. 

The novel has been described as a “flawed but diverting entry” into the genre. 

We highly recommend this reading for its complex conceptualization, which probes the many layers of Lizzie Borden’s personality and the family’s dynamics.